Many organisations are putting in place their technology strategies for 2020 – a nicely rounded numerical target, perhaps representing the best yet since the dawn of the new Millennium. But despite wild predictions years ago about the inevitable arrival of everyday silver space suits and hoverboards, these plans have a deadly serious side too with businesses facing technological disruption on an unprecedented scale. So what can you do to ensure your firm is future-ready? Read on to find out more.
Many organisations are putting in place their technology strategies for 2020 - a nicely rounded numerical target, perhaps representing the best yet since the dawn of the new Millennium. But despite wild predictions years ago about the inevitable arrival of everyday silver space suits and hoverboards, these plans have a deadly serious side too with businesses facing technological disruption on an unprecedented scale. So what can you do to ensure your firm is future-ready? Read on to find out more.
New ways of working
Law firms aren't immune from general business trends and the demand by legal professionals to be able to continue work outside the building is already being felt. As a result, the need for office space is shrinking with some firms running entirely without dedicated bricks and mortar. It's not tough to envisage law firms in 2020 needing substantially less physical footprint as a result.
But disposing of property commitments is not the only impact. Enabling remote working on tablets and smartphones relies on remote access to central data and that brings inevitable challenges too.
Add to that the increased demand by clients for 24/7 access to case information via secure web portals, and the net result is a broadening of the IT risks faced by legal organisations who now have a need to exchange secure information via the web.
The growth in social media exacerbates this risk further with work devices used to access and share business information, and many practices are also creating new, non-associate positions like data analysts and social media experts, all hungry for remote web access to data.
Globalisation, specialisation and fixed-fee services
It's likely that technology trends will continue to create possibilities for the globalisation of a legal industry previously localised due to the nature of law. But conversely, in order to better serve that global market many practices will further specialise their offer, focusing on areas like global employment law or competition law for example. Fee structures may also change with the increased commoditisation and standardisation of some services, with an increase in fixed-fee offers. The winners in 2020 are likely to be the firms which move more of their client-facing and back-office functions to the cloud, maximising flexibility and efficiencies whilst maintaining a focus on profitable value-add services.
Security in 2020
The increase in data volume and use of cloud computing will also increase the need for ever greater security. Unfortunately, external hackers and negligent insiders will not be the only possible source of data leakage for legal firms in 2020. The vast increase in shared online features like case trackers and client login areas mean there will be even more data to be potentially compromised.
By 2020, most large legal firms will be working with IT partners who specialise to some degree in their business or at the very least who have a deep understanding of its needs. These IT partners need to optimise client-facing technology whilst maintaining a robust security infrastructure. For many that will mean moving from an internally hosted practice management suite to an externally managed solution or a web-based service. In many cases, firms will be able to reap the benefits of being cloud-based, enabling agility, various levels of access to clients and third party partners and greater efficiency, without compromising the security of their digital assets.
At CenturyLink we understand the needs of the legal industry today and what needs to be done to be ready for the future. We're very happy to listen, talk and advise so please feel free to get in touch.
Watch out for more legal industry article posts over the course of the coming weeks about why CenturyLink should be the natural partner of choice for businesses who want to exploit emerging trends and have the agility to react to the changing needs of the market. If you'd like to learn more about our offer, please contact me at Steven.Harrison@centurylink.com