The right technology for your law firm can mean the difference between sinking and swimming in today’s climate. With an ever-increasing move toward digital everything, your firm simply cannot afford to rely on old, untrustworthy tech.
A Quick Analogy
If we told you to find a tool that could cut through a circular piece of metal, what would you use?
Based on that information, anything from a sharp rock to an adjustable miter saw could be considered an appropriate tool. But, if we specified that the metal circle is the lid of a can, it quickly becomes clear that a can opener is going to be the ideal solution.
The point is each of many solutions could work, but you can’t pick the right tool until you know specifically what the tool needs to do. To do this you have to define your needs very clearly and find the technology that solves your business problems.
Whether you’re choosing computers, VOIP providers, printers, CRMs – anything in tech really – you first have to decide what your objectives are for using it. Choosing the right tech for your law firm is just as simple as that. You need to define your need, define your budget, do your research and decide what features you need. Once you have those aspects figured out you can move forward.
Define your law firm’s technological needs
What are your firm’s needs and how can tech meet these needs? What are the absolute essential requirements that need to be met and what are the wants and wishes for your firm? Take a good inventory of what your firm needs to maintain and to grow. Once you have a clear vision of your needs you will be able to select the right tech to help you accomplish daily tasks, increase efficiency, make your life easier and propel your firm forward.
Do your research
In our can opener example, we illustrated the variety of tools you have at your disposal. The research phase is all about sifting and sorting through these tools and coming to a better understanding of the technology that’s out there that can serve your firm best. Look at blogs and lists from trusted sources, examine reviews and speak with technological experts who are not biased.
One of the best things lawyers can and should do is speak to other law firms. Ask your colleagues if they know anyone using an Apple/Mac environment. Then ask them about the tech solutions that have worked best for them.
Set your budget
Once you know your needs and you’ve done your research, you can begin to frame a realistic budget. This is where you have to decide what are the absolute musts for your firm and couple this with what you can afford. Try and find the middle ground between quality and value.
The point is also to make sure that the product is going to boost your firm’s productivity. If you can get a CRM that automates a process you are relying on a paralegal that you pay $75,000 a year to do – and they spend 2 weeks a quarter doing it – all of a sudden spending $11,000 on a CRM is going to save you money.
Decide on features
So many products and software have any number of added bells and whistles that you may or may not need. While the industrial color print quality might be a great bonus, does your firm really need it? It’s not about cutting corners but rather analyzing (with a healthy dose of realism) whether your firm needs the added features. One key reason to only choose the features you need is that oftentimes additional features can mean additional maintenance. More features also make people think that they should use them. A lot of times what these unnecessary features do most is make training too time consuming and confusing. The features get used by some, not all, and confusion is created.
It’s worth noting that in a long list of features, most of them came after and were “bolted on” to the product when they realized they were losing market share to a competitor. Realistically, these features aren’t usually very good and may be dropped later. Be wary of buying anything that isn’t part of the main core value proposition.
Support services offered
One final factor to consider is the level of support you may or may not receive in the technology you are investing in. If that CRM you went with has incredible features, but there’s no one on the line to help you learn and manage those features, you could run into trouble. You can often learn a lot about support services offered by reading reviews or you can ask the companies directly about their support services provided. Don’t be afraid to ask the businesses that you’ll be investing in some tough questions.
Helping you learn and manage those features is exactly what we do as a single point of contact for our clients. As long as you have some kind of support agreement, your law firm doesn’t have to sit through all of those technical trainings. We will, so that we can help you as you need it, without you having to schedule appointments or trainings.
We know it can be an overwhelming process to select the right tech, but we hope this helped. Once you do decide on your tech, know that we are here to offer support and take care of all your Apple tech needs while you take care of your clients.