If you’re in the process of exploring practice and case management software (PCMS) options for your firm – and let’s face it, firms of all sizes need PCMS in today’s market – you would be forgiven for having concerns about the potential disruption to your business.
With little time to spare on non-fee earning tasks, there is immense pressure to choose the right solution first time to avoid wasting time and making costly errors.
Rest assured – by choosing the right legal software provider to guide you through the entire process, you’ll quickly realise a host of benefits, not least the increased efficiencies, reduced risks, and higher satisfaction levels.
With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, Osprey Approach has helped hundreds of law firms switch to a new software solution. To guide you through the process we’ve put together our top 10 tips for weighing up which solution is right for you, and what to consider when comparing options. We’ve also spoken to other experts in the field and linked to additional articles and help throughout.
Top 10 things to consider when purchasing new legal tech
1. Identify current challenges
Understand the key challenges all team members and departments currently face to outline the key requirements and necessities of the new solution. By identifying your current setbacks you’ll be able to highlight the short-term goals for the software.
2. Define current and future goals
It’s important to consider your current and long-term goals, which will ensure you invest in a platform that will support you further down the line, so you can maximise return on investment and build a reliable and scalable digital foundation that will future-proof your firm
3. Involve your entire team
To improve buy-in, increase usage, and maximise return on your investment, it’s key to involve all areas of the business and all roles within your firm. Depending on the size of your firm, you may include your whole team or nominate designated leaders per department.
Firm-wide involvement is crucial at all stages including identifying current challenges, outlining goals, attending demos, reviewing options, and implementing the solution.
Discover our Q&A with Alex Simons, New Business Manager at The Law Factory, who discusses the importance of involving your accounts team in the software purchasing process.
4. Compare more than just features
Once you’ve identified the suppliers that provide the fundamental features, it’s important to look behind the headline functionality. Review the additional modules and features that are available to your firm that may help you progress in the future. Most importantly, compare and review the services they provide as that can determine how successful the implementation of the software is.
For more information and advice, download our guide to a successful software implementation to discover what a typical implementation project looks like and some solutions to the common challenges law firm face.
5. Review integration options
A key service to review is the integrations they offer. Can the CMS integrate with your email client? Does it have an e-signature tool? Do they offer third party form and search provider integrations? If they don’t currently integrate with an application you already use, ask whether they intend to and if there are costs involved.
6. Understand support services
It’s important to consider how the system is supported, maintained, and updated to know the longevity of the product. Ask the vendor how regular software updates are, if they’re included in your licence, and how the development roadmap is decided. Also ask about the support your team will receive: do they offer an implementation and data migration service? How do you contact support and is there a limit?
7. Be clear on costs
You don’t want to be faced with hidden costs or unexpected restrictions. When reviewing costs, it’s important to compare like for like. Some vendors will include a basic licence cost that may not include the features you need. Some don’t include their support costs in licences or implementation fees can be additional. Speak to the suppliers to understand exactly what’s included in the licence cost.
8. Security is important
Cloud-based software solutions are more secure than traditional methods, such as a server sitting in the office. Ask the vendors the measures they have in place for protecting the data you store in the solution; is the data encrypted? Are they ISO accredited and audited? Where is the data stored and do they offer secure backups?
9. Always have a demonstration
It’s crucial to see the software in action so that you can weigh up its suitability. Use this opportunity to ask all the questions you have, and make sure you have your list of current challenges, goals, required functionality, and plans.
10. Speak to other users
As you begin to narrow down your search, speak to other firms for their honest feedback on the supplier’s product, services, and support.
Successful practice and case management software implementation
Whilst the review and selection process of new legal tech might be time-consuming and cumbersome, doing extensive due diligence on the suppliers, products, and services on offer will help to avoid costly mistakes and wasted time.
The benefits and returns you’ll experience from your investment will far outweigh the initial costs. With a future-proofed and scalable solution in place you’ll be able to connect and streamline your data and processes, which will enable you to build effective and successful business habits. The right technology will help you to become a digital-first firm that can reduce the cost of staying complaint, deliver excellent client service, retain, and attract top talent, and increase profitability.
Chris Pucci is CEO of Osprey Approach, which 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 products and services are designed to help make running a profitable, compliant, and efficient law firm easier.
Find out more about Osprey Approach here