For law firms, the decision to adopt cloud-based legal practice management software is complex. It involves change management, business disruption, and cost considerations. Plus, finding that elusive “right time” to switch to a new cloud-based system can mean that the decision gets put on the back burner for months (if not years).
However, to operate successfully in the current dynamic market conditions, it’s essential for law firms to get comfortable with the cloud. Moreover, the need for cloud-based tech has significantly accelerated in recent years as more businesses adopt remote and hybrid work models. Let’s examine six common challenges that law firms face when adopting cloud-based practice management software, along with simple ways to overcome them.
1. Resistance to Change
Change is challenging, so it makes sense to be apprehensive about it. The best way to deal with resistance to change on your team is to face it head on and clearly and continually communicate the ultimate payoff. Cloud software will give your firm more flexibility, more up-to-date technology, more access to talent, more collaborative systems, and more control over your data and costs. The more you can drive awareness about these benefits, the better your team will feel about the process. Engaging an expert implementation partner can also help close any gaps and make the transition as smooth as possible.
2. Competency Concerns
Moving from a familiar technology infrastructure to a cloud model often requires you to adjust the skills in your team. Some team members might even actively promote the status quo to protect their turf. No doubt, they will be excellent at coming up with reasons why you should not make the transition, but competency is not static. People learn, adapt, and will see the benefits after the change has happened. Ensure your team that they’ll receive comprehensive training and support on the new system to help alleviate their concerns.
3. Migration Complexity
For firms that have a complex technology setup with multiple systems and/or datasets, the perceived complexity of migrating everything into another system can be overwhelming. How hard is migration going to be? How accurate will the data migration be? How will data sets be merged? This exact challenge is a core skill set for many cloud providers and their IT consultants, who use tried-and-tested data cleansing processes and data-mapping tools for migration. Other questions that also might arise are: What about integrations to third party systems? What about the systems you currently use, rely on, and love today – will you still be able to use them? In most cases, moving to the cloud will actually simplify not just integrations, but your whole technology environment, reducing complexity overall.
4. Compliance and Regulatory Issues
Compliance is a crucial factor when adopting a cloud model. Local, state, and federal governments, healthcare providers, and financial institutions are just some of the verticals with very demanding restrictions regarding data gravity, locality, retention, and security. So, it’s crucial to check documentation and compliance very clearly and read the Terms of Service of your cloud provider—note that reputable firms will already address these requirements. Many governments now mandate the use of the cloud for services and conduct detailed compliance and certification tests for these.
5. Lack of Confidence
The lack of confidence among your team members can be a major barrier to cloud adoption. Moving to what is seen as an emerging technology can even cause in firm-wide panic. Your team’s confidence can be increased by doing due diligence when choosing your provider: Review references of different cloud providers, research if there have been any data breaches, and look at customer feedback. Most cloud providers take this very seriously, as even one error means that their reputation and business model could be destroyed.
6. Control and Cost
These two cloud adoption factors are actually intertwined. Often, IT staff or firm administrators are accustomed to having complete control of their infrastructure, apps, data and services. They might be concerned that a cloud-based system will reduce that control. Likewise, business leaders need to both control costs and ensure costs are predictable and repeatable. Adopting cloud technology can actually mitigate both of these concerns by simplifying your technology environment. Utilizing cloud systems is likely to reduce the total cost of ownership of technology and give your firm much better control of firm data and how your team accesses and utilizes technology.
“Actionstep has been migrating law firms to the cloud for over 15 years, so our team understands the journey from on-premise to modern tech. The cloud is here to stay, and law firms that embrace it are in the best position to maintain their competitive edge.
There are a number of complexities – each with far-reaching impacts on the firm. You’re not actually buying a software product – what you’re buying is the scalability of your firm for the next ten plus years – and that’s not a product you buy and then have to live with as is. Because what your firm needs today will probably not be what you need in 12 months’ time – your tech needs to support that evolution.
Elasticity, configurability, and an eco-system that will place you and your client together are critical to future-proofing your law firm when considering cloud adoption. Actionstep was born in the cloud, we continue to innovate and we have a fantastic track record in the legal industry” stated Mike McKell, Regional Director, Australia & New Zealand, Actionstep.
Considering Moving to the Cloud?
The cloud is here to stay, and law firms need that embrace it are in the best position to maintain their competitive edge. Actionstep has been moving law firms to the cloud for over 15 years, so our team understands the perceived and real barriers. Find out how we can help by getting in touch today.