When you are exploring new technologies for your firm or perhaps reviewing the solutions that you already have in place, you likely ask yourself a series of questions like...
- Is the technology being used? Are the end users happy?
- Does it have the features we need?
- Is it meeting or exceeding expectations for the things that it is supposed to be doing for the firm?
- How much does it cost vs how much value does it provide?
Although you may not have thought of it this way, all of these things, packaged together, come down to legacy versus innovation. What is innovation? Innovation is a chronically overused word, which has lost some of its meaning, but here’s how we define it:
Innovation is making things better than they were before. It’s not about change or more features. It’s about honest to goodness value.
Understanding this definition of “innovation,” allows us to contrast with the alternative, which is legacy systems. How can you tell if a solution you are evaluating or already have in place is in the innovation or legacy bucket? Explore these areas:
Legacy solutions are obsolete on Day 1.
Implementing technology upgrades on legacy solutions require extensive time and resources to get them up and running. By the time this happens, there are even more upgrades to put into the lengthy and burdensome process. This means that the firm is constantly running on obsolete technology, chasing the latest solutions. However, a solution that is driven by innovation will deliver on an aggressive release schedule in a manner that does not create more effort, cost and burden for the firm. Innovative vendors are committed to evolving the products according to customer needs, including the implementation and maintenance process, not just today, but for years to come.
Legacy systems subscribe to outdated delivery models, such as on-premise.
If you or your IT team is burdened by an on-premise solution that requires extensive resources to maintain and upgrade, you’ve got a legacy system on your hands. SaaS is the modern standard in software delivery because it is easy to implement, requires no maintenance and is always up to date.
Legacy systems are typically complex, costly and come with a high learning curve.
Innovators are always evolving to a better, simpler and faster way of doing things. If your technology is complicated for the user to learn, requires extensive training and is not generally referred to as “easy,” or “effortless,” it’s likely a legacy system. Innovators, on the other hand, are always evolving to create a better, faster way of doing things. Innovators align with the needs of the end user (rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach) by cultivating a deep and intimate understanding of their needs, building in mechanisms for engagement and training and offering a consumer-grade intuitive user experience.
With legacy and enterprise systems, you are stuck.
We live in a subscription world (it’s extremely possible to rent clothes nowadays!), but yet, many solutions offered to the legal and professional services industries are still operating under the legacy model, which involves significant investments in hardware (even if they are charge based on subscription-like pricing), professional services, implementation and maintenance. This gives firms less flexibility to easily switch to other solutions, meaning that they are essentially “stuck” in the past with their out-of-date solution. The SaaS model not only provides a consumer-grade user experience, but shares the cost of ownership with the vendor.
Innovators are always on the forefront of the latest security best practices.
Innovators understand that even the best technology solution is useless if it compromises the firm’s data. Therefore, innovative solutions are always the first to implement the latest protocols to keep your client data safe.
Why does any of this matter? Innovative solutions will position your firm to be as effective and efficient as possible, with the ability to scale while conserving costs and protecting data. Are the solutions in place at your firm constantly evolving to add more value for the firm? Share your experience in the comments below.