The SaaS Standard: What the Legal Industry Should Expect Out of its Apps

Posted by Gaby Isturiz on Oct 24, 2017 1:31:47 PM


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SaaS adoption is on the rise in almost every industry right now - and the legal industry is no exception. This is a good thing for law firms as SaaS requires less resources to install and manage, and provides up-to-date offerings. A recent article published on TechRadar.com discussed the continued prominence of SaaS for today’s enterprises: “Last year's annual global survey of CIOs by Gartner found that 72% of respondents are already using SaaS, yet the results demonstrated there still has potential for greater adoption. In another study by KPMG, nearly half of executives surveyed identified cloud-delivered SaaS as their most likely area for investment. While Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) are frequently hailed as fundamental to cloud computing, it is actually SaaS that's proved it is here to stay.”

However, with the popularity of the SaaS model, some legacy vendors, seeing the market shift, have begun to offer an in-between solution, positioned as a SaaS model. The thing is, in order to truly benefit from what SaaS has to offer, you must select a vendor that is adhering to pure SaaS standards.

How can you tell the difference? In this blog post we’ll examine the characteristics of a solution that is adhering strictly to the SaaS framework.

Your legal technology is truly SaaS if…

It goes beyond a subscription model.

Simply switching the payment schedule of an on-premise legacy system does not make a solution SaaS. SaaS stands for “Software as a Service,” not “Software as a subscription.” Although subscription-based payment models is one pillar of a true SaaS solution, the emphasis should be on the service aspect of the agreement, which is the reason for the subscription-based pricing.

All features are included out of the box.

Rather than build a custom solution, SaaS solutions offer a common product that can be deployed out of the box. Features are available based on the subscription level rather than building a custom solution for each client. As part of a SaaS solution, different from the standard Enterprise Software, there is no additional hardware to purchase or maintain, nor professional services to get the solution implemented.

Deployment is quick and painless.

If you are still experiencing post-traumatic stress from your last deployment, which likely lasted months (or maybe years) and brought about one headache after another, you are likely accustomed to using legacy solutions. One key characteristic of a SaaS product is fast and easy implementation. It should take minutes or hours instead of weeks or months to get you up and running.

Mobility is a given.

With a true SaaS solution, mobility isn’t an afterthought - it’s a core part of the product offering. Most legacy solutions have no native app - they offer an HTML5 version of their offering, if at all. This is not acceptable in today’s world, where so much work is conducted away from the desk.

Updates are completed automatically.

Contrary to costly and resource intensive updates or legacy software that is obsolete by the time your lengthy implementation is complete, SaaS completes updates automatically so that the customer is always utilizing the latest software.

Support is handled by the vendor.

We live and work in a 24/7 world, therefore support needs to be available at all times. This is a resource intensive task for most IT departments. One of the key advantages to going with a SaaS solution is that the vendor handles support. 

Not only are there significant advantages to investing in a SaaS solution, this should be the standard for law firms and other professional services organizations. Legacy solutions have no place in the modern law firm, as they require an unnecessary strain on resources, additional costs and provide a sub-par experience. Once you commit to SaaS, be sure to look out for vendors providing a true SaaS solution, rather than a legacy solution repackaged as a subscription.

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Topics: Software as a Service (SaaS)