The pandemic gave many people their first taste of remote working and with it, a better work-life balance; the chance to do the school run or go for a lunchtime jog. Understandably, many are keen to hang onto this new way of working: a survey by Acritas found that 77% of senior lawyers wanted to retain elements of remote working, whilst 22% said they may leave if their firm wouldn’t accommodate their wishes.
As law firms look at ways to evolve and secure their future success, they now have an opportunity to put their people front and centre – both employees and clients – of their operations, as outlined below. According to Gartner’s 2021 Report into leading technology trends, this can be realised through a model known as “Anywhere Operations”, which it cites as being critical for businesses in order to emerge successfully from COVID-19.
What is Anywhere Operations?
The concept of Anywhere Operations focuses on using technology, processes, and teams to enable a dispersed workforce to successfully serve customers, no matter their location. This ‘digital-first’ model provides more than just enabling remote working or connecting with clients virtually. Anywhere Operations is about building an adaptable and resilient foundation of technology solutions, internal procedures, digital tools, and the right skillsets to seamlessly run your business without a physical infrastructure and no matter the location of employees and customers.
Anywhere Operations challenges the traditional ideas of how to run a law firm, removing the need for an office location and face-to-face client interactions. It utilises technology to run a seamless and unrestricted operation that drives efficiency and enables a frictionless collaboration between clients and lawyers digitally.
A “people first” approach
This is arguably the cornerstone to the success of the Anywhere Operations model: recognising the importance of people. Without retaining and attracting the right people, it is difficult to understand how the model can succeed. After all, people are not only critical to your success, but are also central to the adoption and use of new technologies.
Although a people-first approach may be interpreted in different ways by law firms, all firms should recognise its importance in the post-COVID world.
The benefits of a digital-first strategy
There are several benefits to be realised from adopting an Anywhere Operations model, including: –
Wider talent pool — you can attract a wealth of candidates from a much wider geographical area, as location is no longer a barrier to recruiting the right people for the job. By offering greater flexibility within your firm, it’s likely that you’ll attract – and retain – people with the necessary skills and expertise for the role. This, in turn, will help your firm to realise increased productivity and exceed client expectations.
Operational freedom — being digital first means having the freedom to manage your firm and workers remotely. There’s the obvious advantage of potential cost savings too, as it’s unlikely that you will need to provide a dedicated space for each staff member.
Freedom and flexibility – It isn’t just about achieving financial targets. Anywhere Operations recognises that people want the power of choice to work where, when, and even how they deliver client work. Now more than ever, they value having choices such as where they live, and being able to shut down from work over the weekend. Anywhere Operations facilitates this.
Poised for growth — Where the Anywhere Operations model has been adopted, firms are in an advantageous position to seize opportunities and experience growth, as the world continues to open up to a digital mindset.
Enhanced client service – Client expectations are at an all-time high – they expect transparency and quick response times on their legal matters – and the delivery of a high-quality service to your clients can be achieved by digitally connecting and streamlining your operations, while also improving efficiencies and the profitability of your firm.
The digital foundation
A cloud-based, fully integrated practice and case management system (PCMS) is the cornerstone of any law firm looking to adopt an Anywhere Operations approach. Connected in real-time and available 24/7, a PCMS is the centralised, single platform that helps you to run your firm and manage your cases and clients effectively. With your documents, processes, and data unified and available from the cloud, your firm can operate anytime, anywhere, and successfully manage clients digitally.
A PCMS provides the digital tools to significantly speed up legal matters by reducing manual administration and taking advantage of efficiency-boosting features and automations. The solution also makes it incredibly easy to share and collaborate with all parties, including your internal team, so that your business can operate seamlessly through the cloud-hosted platform.
Importantly, a PCMS enables law firms to offer client-centric solutions. A client web portal, automated text messaging, real-time updates and e-signatures ensure that clients are kept informed, whilst providing a convenient and frictionless service from all team members to any client, regardless of location.
When looking to adopt an Anywhere Operations approach, it is important to recognise that it isn’t just about technology or working from home; nor is about going paperless. It is about looking at your entire business – including your people first and foremost – and removing any physical elements that could limit your operation.
Our latest eBook – A Guide to Anywhere Operations – contains advice and guidance on this approach and its many benefits for law firms. Take a look to see how law firms can create a digital foundation whilst putting people at the heart of their operations to help secure their future success.
Amy Bruce | Marketing Manager of Osprey Approach
Osprey Approach provides an all-in-one, cloud-based legal accounting, case and practice management solution to law firms of all sizes. With over 30 years’ experience in the legal software sector, Osprey’s software and services are designed to help make running a profitable, compliant and efficient law firm easier.
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