I was delighted to take part in the first episode of Osprey Approach’s recent webinar series, Build Better Habits, designed to equip modern law firms with a competitive edge though the adoption of a digital operational strategy.
Our host, Osprey’s Marketing Manager, Amy Bruce, began by asking the panel what a digital-first mindset meant for modern law firms. All of us agreed that it’s not about specific technologies or digital tools, but about the people – employees and clients – who use them. Digitalisation is an organisational change that is related to your people and processes.
A digital-first mindset ensures that modern practices can take advantage of the opportunities that technology presents, which includes helping firms to run a more efficient, productive, and streamlined operation that helps you stay ahead of the competition.
Amy asked each of us for our thoughts on what specific challenges a digital first mindset can help SME law firms overcome. The panel highlighted operational efficiency, scalability, innovation, staff retention or recruitment, managing client expectations, and profit erosion.
Alex added that whilst there are many things it can help firms to overcome, the key for him is “the ability to free up time to avoid stress for employees.”
Digitalisation helps to refocus goals and priorities; the process of being digital-first means you must start by taking a deep look at your current processes to establish what can be automated and transformed. That enables you and your team to realign and refocus on priorities and goals collectively.
We agreed that modern law firms should focus on the following habits when implementing a digital operational strategy in order to gain the maximum benefit:
1. Communicate your vision
To implement any new business strategy or digital tool successfully, responsibility and ownership are key for success. David added “every firm needs to have a clear vision from the leadership team,” so that they understand how the technology can benefit them and the implications for the firm long-term so, making it easier to choose the right partner, solution, and measure success.
2. Be client-focused
Always have the client in mind when implementing new processes or digital tools. This requires an understanding of clients’ needs, knowing what drives them, and how firms can provide value.
3. Keep it simple
The panel agreed it is important not to overcomplicate the relationship between technology and commercials. Firms want to ensure the tools they are invested in will help them to fulfil their vision and business goals, and meet clients’ and employees’ needs, without adding additional layers of complexity.
4. Protect your data
Law firms are a high-risk industry for cybercrime, so when digitalising your operations ensure that it protects both the firm’s and clients’ data. I advise our SME law firm clients to have data security at the heart of everything they do, to avoid such a scenario.
5. Standardise your processes
Before investing in any new software, law firms should start by reviewing and documenting existing processes so it’s clear how the digital tools will help to standardise, automate, and enhance.
6. Stay on system
Law firms will only achieve a return on their software investment if its capabilities are fully utilised – Alex pointed out how important it is that law firms involve their team at the beginning of the process to ensure they’re confident using the system: “Take the time to learn the capabilities and take advantage of training which is free for Osprey users. That way you make sure you’re using what you’re paying for every month.”