If you’re looking to do digital transformation right, take these cues from successful digital transformation initiatives in other industries and the law firms who have done it successfully.
2. Focus on modern, strategic platforms: The current IT landscape, which consists of myriad applications and complex integrations, was born in the early days of enterprise software, when IT had to deliver solutions by stitching together best of breed products, because that was all that existed. The downside was a disjointed experience for users and expensive, risky and time-consuming upgrades for IT. As a result, upgrades happened very infrequently, leaving users with systems that were sometimes years out of date, and not able to address today’s requirements for scale, security and ease of use. The emergence of modern platforms—platforms that span what traditionally would have been multiple applications—offers users a consistent experience, along with tightly integrated functionality and security that enables professionals to be more productive, while better protecting sensitive client information. It also enables IT to upgrade more easily and frequently, keeping pace with market innovations and eliminating the cost of managing disparate products and vendors.
3. Extreme focus on the user experience: Digital transformation requires users to embrace digital as the default not because they have to, but because they want to, simply because it is more efficient, easier to learn and more secure. User experience is about intuitiveness, ubiquity and fast performance, and modern computing platforms that are designed from the ground up with the user in the center deliver on this promise. No one had to take a class on how to use Amazon, yet it has secured widespread adoption. Enterprise applications need to leverage internet metaphors used by Amazon and other consumer internet leaders to drive adoption.
4. Shift resources from operations to innovation: In order to innovate, it is imperative to free up resources to focus on activities that deliver a greater understanding of client needs, and to address these needs by bringing together cross-functional expertise and technology in new ways. Technologies like AI can have a profound impact on white collar productivity, however the productivity gains will accrue only if applied in the pursuit of creating real customer value. Likewise, cloud technologies can enable firms to focus on innovation by shifting the burden of software operations to the cloud providers. The knowledge of where to apply these technologies and how to apply them are new competencies that law firms need to build. There are no shortcuts.
5. Security by design: Security is only as strong as the weakest link and requires a systematic examination of all the possible avenues for data loss. For law firms it begins by getting a good handle on their documents and understanding where and how they are stored. In addition to using strong encryption for storage, security today must include the ability to apply policy-based controls that restrict access to documents to only those individuals that need to access these documents, as many law firm clients are now demanding. Operationalizing tighter security controls without disrupting day-to-day workflow or knowledge sharing requires your core systems, like document management, be designed from the ground up for this new security paradigm. For example, using AI and analytics to automate detection of inappropriate access by a malicious insider or a phishing attack can significantly increase the likelihood of timely detection of a breach at a much lower cost. The best organizations use a variety of digital technologies to implement a layered approach to security, creating multiple defenses that make security comprehensive, ubiquitous and invisible.
As the fourth industrial revolution creates an increasingly digital world, law and other professional services firms that rely on information workers and hope to thrive in this new world need to digitally transform themselves today, not tomorrow. By following these five best practices in the development and implementation of their digital transformation strategies, law firms can use digital technologies and processes to deliver higher quality work to their clients, more efficiently, and develop entirely new services that unlock valuable new insights for their clients, all while better protecting their clients’ sensitive information.
Por Neil Araujo