As I discussed in a previous post, the time has come for many law firms to decide which software will serve their firm’s needs best in the future. Whether your firm is considering staying with your existing platform or making a change, now is the time to think of a system upgrade as an opportunity for improvement. How can your firm make the most of this transition? By using the migration of technology as a tool to improve operations.
Many of Wilson Allen’s business of law and technology consultants have spent their careers in the legal technology industry, helping law firms reach new levels of operational efficiency and profitability. As we’ve worked with firms over the years, the following four phases have emerged as areas of planning and execution to help streamline the transition of technology.
Mapping your system migration strategy
Adequate preparation for a system conversion saves time and money in the long run. Let’s take a closer look at each phase.
Strategy and Self-Diagnosis
In an attempt to minimize disruption, some firms are tempted to seek software that maintains the status quo and allows the firm to work as it always has. The role of this phase is to help change this mindset and lay important groundwork for the eventual migration.
Almost every firm asks “what are we doing now” questions, but few dig deep enough to truly evaluate the firm’s processes and identify opportunities for improvement. This phase prompts critical questions needed to accurately identify a software solution. Doing so helps reduce expenditures related to customization’s, one-offs, extended work, or back-end support.
Every facet of a firm’s operations – from a business perspective or a practice perspective – is impacted by changes to the firm’s software systems. That’s why it’s essential to choose solutions that help to ensure process efficiency and data integrity and accuracy. With the amount of churn in the legal technology industry, firms need to be especially vigilant when scoping and negotiating new software.
The system selection phase focuses on the evaluation of software vendors, especially related to capabilities, costs, and support – but also how the software will impact other solutions within your IT landscape. It helps you to create an accurate budget, set realistic road maps, and negotiate your contract to mitigate surprises and ensure alignment of the project with your long-term needs.
Following system selection, the next step is to develop a blueprint to map out the project objectives and scope. This is the time to scrutinize the vendor’s services budget to help ensure it matches your objectives as well as the time to inventory potential customizations such as reporting, integrations, and workflows.
Implementation team structure and time commitments are defined during the blueprint phase. Skills gaps are identified and change management plans are scoped out. A data conversion strategy should also be established in this phase to help ensure accuracy and streamline the migration.
The value of the three preceding phases is evident during project implementation. Working with an experienced implementation helps ease the transition to new technology and shorten your time to value.
Professional project managers help to keep activity moving along according to the scope and plan. Data specialists streamline extract, transform, and load processes. Technical experts address all of the technology and security implications of integrating new software in your environment – and manage any platform issues, inbound and outbound documentation, and security concerns. During this phase, you can also fine tune any reports your firm needs to help you realize immediate value from your implementation.
Stop panicking and start planning
System upgrades and conversions can be time-consuming and fraught with potential complications as well as capital output. By planning all aspects of your transition, law firms can reduce disruption, cost, and risk while improving performance and profitability. To learn more about how Wilson Allen can help with your software conversion or upgrade, please download the information sheet, call us at +1 484-422-0010, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.