Posted by Julian Bryan, managing director of Legal Futures Associate Quill Pinpoint
Outsourcing is a strategy increasingly adopted by law firms and alternative business structures eager to operate more efficiently and focus on their priorities of fee-earning and business management. But, before engaging an outsourcing provider, careful screening is recommended.
To help you, we’ve compiled these essential questions.
Who will manage my account?
As you’ll be working together closely, will a dedicated individual be handling your day-to-day tasks and is there an assigned deputy for absence cover? Also, who heads up the team? Over time, you’ll need to interact with your cashier, deputy and supervisor, so chat over the phone or meet face-to-face to decide if you’ll get on well.
Do you have a proven track record in my industry?
Specialist suppliers to the legal profession are well versed in how you work and the challenges you face. Check credentials, ask about service-level agreements and request reference sites. Speak with a handful of these existing customers for honest feedback about service quality and overall satisfaction to assist your purchase decision.
What are the costs to outsource?
Secure detailed pricing up-front to avoid any nasty surprises from hidden costs later on. Do any add-on fees apply for various outsourced service components? What happens if your business changes? Will the service scale up or down alongside you? Finally, weigh up the final pricing structure against the in-house alternative – employing staff and purchasing software – to get the total pricing picture.
What are your security measures?
Enquire about encryption, firewalls, password protection, physical data centre anti-intrusion systems, regularity of software updates, and back-up procedures. In the rare event of a security breach, what’s the provider’s response plan? How will they handle incidents and rectify any ensuing data or financial losses? Seek minimum ISO 27001 standards and a business continuity plan.
Why should I outsource anyway?
If you’ve got retiring, resigning or long-term absent employees, and if you’re just a tiny bit curious what positive impact outsourcing may have on your business, then begin your enquiries. Outsourcing isn’t always the answer but imagine the possibilities if it is.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. To read more questions including those relating to the financial health and ownership of the provider, speed to get up and running, minimum contract terms, termination agreement, out-of-hours support and other outsourced services available, go to www.quill.co.uk/essential-questions.
Julian Bryan is also chair of the Legal Software Suppliers Association