Posted by Pippa Shepherd, head of customer engagement at Legal Futures Associate Arken.legal
Implementing any technology can be daunting. However, as we have really seen during the pandemic, it is a great enabler and promotes efficiency, profitability and even job satisfaction to those staff appropriately trained and using it well.
Technology is designed to disrupt the workplace and so change management and leadership are needed to see its appropriate and most effective implementation. Even if you’re already implementing technology in your business, keep reading as it’s important to ask the below questions of your provider/s.
The most important element when acquiring new software is to have a clear objective – what is the problem you are trying to solve or how will the technology make your life easier? Put simply, why are you doing it?
Technology can assist in many ways – for example automating repetitive tasks like document generation, reducing data re-keying, ensuring consistency of production, speeding up processes to free up time for more added-value activities, communication across teams, a single view of client interactions, managing risk, process improvement and management, using the right resource for the right task, attracting a new client base, changing the way you interact with clients, and fighting off new entrants.
In summary, have a clear idea of why you need and want this technology – it will help in communicating to staff and managing the change.
Here are some key considerations for when looking at a solution. If you have done your due diligence correctly, you can make a decision confidently and more swiftly.
Security of your clients’ sensitive data is uppermost in the era we live in. With cybercrime so prevalent, it is extremely important that you look at how seriously providers take security.
Do they have regular penetration testing of their solution to ensure they are using the latest thinking in cyber protection?
Cloud-based solutions are the most secure way of protecting data – it is much harder for a hacker to infiltrate a huge supplier of cloud solutions then it is to access your data through less secure access to your office-based equipment and software.
And yet 93% of enterprises keep their mission-critical workloads in on-premises infrastructure. Ask your potential providers who they use for cloud services. There are many out there that cost just a few pounds a month but don’t offer the same level of security.
Don’t be shy at asking how much they spend on servers or who they use. Ask if data is encrypted during transfer and what protocols they have for back-ups of data. Where is your data stored? In the UK or further afield? Do they have any accreditations or external recognition?
In addition, is the provider registered with the Information Commissioner? Is it registered for data protection? Who is the processor, who is the owner of the data? Has it had any GDPR breaches?
There are always technology companies popping up and then closing very quickly. Ask how long they have been around. Can you check their credit history? Check on Companies House for how long they have been incorporated.
What do their accounts say? Are they financially secure and growing? How many staff do they have? Are they reliant on a small development team?
Investing in technology can be very expensive. Software as a Service (SaaS) is a modern way of providers effectively renting you the software instead of charging you hundreds and thousands of pounds to develop a bespoke solution.
You pay a small regular cost and the security, updating of the solution and hosting etc lies with the technology provider.
Look for solutions that you can implement quickly but ask about onboarding – how will your users familiarise themselves with the technology?
Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from investing in technology and think about the return on investment you would like to see from the solution – how will you measure the ROI once it is implemented? How will you invest the saved time? Have a clear plan of the value you want and how you can achieve it.
Ask what support is available. Do you have to pay for support? Is there ongoing support you can benefit from? Can you speak to someone or do you need to wait 24, 48 hours to get an email reply?
It is important that help is available not only to introduce the new solution effectively but also for continual professional development of the individual.
These are five of my 10 key areas to consider, which I cover in full in my whitepaper, alongside potential downfalls to bear in mind such as poor change management and lack of communication, my top five tips for a good implementation of new technology, as well as implementation success – from establishing an onboarding plan to appointing super users.