Sure, key metrics to measure how well your IT provider is doing is not the most glamorous part of running a law firm, but it is essential if you want to grow your firm. Technology is an integral part of your business, and the better it hits its performance targets, the better your firm can hit yours.
As your law firm grows, integrating with a strong IT company that facilitates growth becomes imperative to achieving your goals. Keeping the company you hire accountable by tracking and routinely evaluating relevant metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is valuable for everyone.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the quantitative assessments you should be monitoring to identify how well your IT company is doing as well as explore ways your firm can be leveraging technology to improve revenue. It’s worth noting that it’s not always the flashiest of tech that brings the biggest returns.
We’ll look at things like:
- Specific IT metrics you should be measuring and monitoring
- Ways you can leverage tech to improve your firm’s bottom line
- Important considerations for creating an effective tech maintenance budget
As you read through the article, give us a holler if you have any questions about technology at your law firm. You can reach our team at Honeycrisp anytime to schedule a free consultation.
IT Metrics that Matter for Your Law Firm
Consider this all-too-common scenario many companies who outsource their IT face:
It’s late. Your attorneys are up against a major deadline when a tech issue suddenly blows up and forces them to call their service desk for help. Not only is the timing awful, but your IT servicer is then left stepping into a big mess that often takes longer to resolve and may end up costing you more money to fix.
Though possibly the fault of no one, these technology interruptions can be detrimental to your firm.
The good news is there is an alternative. You can prevent these major issues altogether by ensuring your IT company is effectively managing preventative maintenance. If you have fewer problems that require your lawyers to call IT, that’s an indication your IT company is doing a good job. Here are the specific KPIs to evaluate.
- Mean Time Between Failure (MFBF) – This measures the average time between technology failures, and it’s a metric you want to steadily improve over time. If you notice it starting to lag, it may mean it’s time for a broader technology upgrade or time to reevaluate your technology solutions provider.
- Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR) – In conjunction with MTBF, it’s also important to evaluate how long it takes them to resolve a ticket.
- Mean Time to Failure (MTTF) – This addresses the question of how long your system remains up and operational after an issue has been resolved.
On the whole, you want your IT company to be responsive to service calls and work to reduce the overall number of incidents by preventively dealing with potential maintenance issues.
Other Technology KPIs to Measure
You can measure a million different metrics, but a better path is to focus on KPIs that will yield meaningful insight. Here are two we recommend and why:
- Number of Products Managed – One reason you likely turned to an outsourced IT company is to free up internal staffing resources. Another benefit is being able to tap into the expertise and services that a larger, dedicated IT team can provide.
As your law firm scales, you need your IT services to keep pace. Operational metrics that measure IT infrastructure, including infrastructure downtime and frequency of production deployments, will impact how efficiently your business can operate. Over time, you want relevant KPIs like Number of Products Managed to go up and the kinds of tickets submitted to change as a reflection of improved IT successes.
- Number of Trainings Completed – Another valuable service your outsourced IT solutions provider should offer is technology training and resources. While yes, you are paying them to help solve your tech troubles, you also need to be self-reliant and able to effectively use the tools you have paid for. Having the best of the best Apple technology is completely overkill if your paralegals only know how to browse the internet.
To that end, a measure of IT success for your law firm is the number of training programs it offers and/or knowledge articles it publishes for your team’s internal use. An increasing number of training sessions and self-service guides means your law firm is prioritizing technology and enabling improved operational efficiency.
Boosting ROI for Your Business
Your tech (and tech company’s) performance is tightly connected to your firm’s overall performance. When your technology enables you to perform more efficiently and productively, you’ll also be able to streamline overhead expenses and boost your billable hours.
The right technology solution should offer a healthy return on investment and help you automate more processes so you can save time and money. Here are a few ways IT should help you reduce costs so you can increase your profit margin.
- Automate – There are countless processes you can easily automate in a law firm on Macs. As you decide which to start with, think through your firm’s daily operations and consider which processes are most frequently performed. Start with low-hanging fruit like automating your new client intake process and work through where else you can gain efficiencies by automating repetitive processes. The rule of thumb: if you have to do a task 3x a month, it should be automated.
- Outsource – You will make the most efficient use of your budget when you’re only paying for the services you really need. Paying full-time staff to do a part-time job is unnecessary overhead. Moreover, you can tap into a full team of experts when you hire out your IT services rather than relying on a leaner in-house staff.
- Track everything – Data is your friend. You should know how every billable hour is being spent. If you don’t like what you see, set new goals to change them.
Technology touches every industry. As a law firm that relies on Apple products, you need your tech to perform at its best all day, every day. This will enable your attorneys and support staff to be most efficient and productive, thereby boosting your margins.
How to Create a Tech Maintenance Budget
One of the best ways to keep your technology humming along at its best is to stay on top of maintenance. Just as you need to get your car’s oil changed every few thousand miles, so too must you do regular maintenance on your technology. Proactive maintenance will keep things running more smoothly for longer.
Planning a maintenance budget can feel overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. Here are some factors to consider so you can most accurately plan for future maintenance expenses.
- Evaluate historical data – When planning for the future, the best place to look is in the past. What have you historically spent on tech maintenance? How much of those costs were reactive expenses versus proactive maintenance? The better your data, the more accurately you can plan a future budget.
- Understand priorities – Budget planning requires close collaboration with all stakeholders. If there are tech resources that are important but not essential to the everyday, know how these fall within the hierarchy of budget planning too. Having a healthy budget in place for those essential tech items will help you avoid dipping into emergency funds to cover them.
- Plan for emergencies – Speaking of emergencies, you should also plan for those. Keep reserves set aside to cover expenses you couldn’t anticipate or prevent with maintenance.
- Consider hidden costs – Additional one-off costs can easily get overlooked when budgeting. Examples include licensing costs, processing fees or procurement costs. Evaluating past spend will highlight potentially hidden areas to look for as you plan your budget.
To create the most accurate tech maintenance budget, rely on data and collaboration to ensure your costs are accounted for and your priorities can continue to be met.
For help and guidance in making the most of all your tools and technology, contact our team at Honeycrisp. We help Apple loving lawyers ensure their tech is operating at full capacity.