Why firms are adopting SaaS apps and the Cloud

Posted by Gaby Isturiz on Sep 15, 2016 3:39:02 PM


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Learn how one firm is benefitting from being 100% cloud-reliant and how you make the shift to SaaS.

There are many trends redefining legal technology at the moment. One of those lesser-known trends is quickly gaining traction: taking the firm’s operations 100% into the cloud using Software as a Service (SaaS). According to Rightscale’s “The State of Cloud Report,” 93% of organizations surveyed are running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service and 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, up from 74% in 2014.

There are many advantages for law firms that choose to migrate into the cloud. These firms are able to operate leaner and more effectively - and they could shift to a work-from-home model anytime they’d like.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why Gilbert LLP first decided to shift toward the cloud and how they became the cloud-reliant firm they are today.

Like many firms, Gilbert LLP did not initially set out to join the cloud computing or SaaS revolution. Instead, they were looking for a document management solution that would meet the demands of the firm. Gilbert decided to replace their software-based document management system with a SaaS cloud solution for a few reasons:

  • There was a desire to replace their current product with a solution that would be a better fit for the attorneys.

  • Disaster preparedness was a priority, therefore storing data off-site was appealing.

  • The increase in mobility created a need to easily share information with third parties or provide remote access.

Schipani.pngAfter careful consideration, Gilbert LLP selected Saas-Solution NetDocuments, making their first step into the world of cloud commuting. After a smooth transition, it became clear that there would be an opportunity to move additional operations to the cloud. Gilbert continued on the path to become a lean law firm by adopting other SaaS applications such as iTimeKeep, to offer attorney mobile timekeeping from anywhere. The firm later expanded its cloud infrastructure by migrating its time & billing system, email, phone service and other functions to the cloud. We talked to Frank Schipani, IT Director at Gilbert LLP, about the firm’s migration to the cloud, and he shared his insights for firms considering a similar path:

#1: Make decisions based on maximizing mobility.

One of the key advantages to cloud solutions is access. Attorneys need to be able to access the firm’s technology at any time and from any place. Cloud solutions are often mobile friendly, but it is important to consider how mobile friendly a solution truly is and what other types of investments are necessary in order to enable attorneys to conduct business from their mobile device. For example, Gilbert invested in iPads for all attorneys in order to make mobile time entry as simple as possible.

#2: Invest in solutions that will establish value.

When investing in new technology solutions, examine how the decision will impact the firm’s financial performance. Technologies that increase revenue, productivity and other key metrics always win.

#3: Choose mobility vendors wisely.

You need to have faith in the company that you hire. Consider the type of organization (big companies with many products or small teams passionately devoted to one product?). Make sure that the vendor has implemented the latest security measures and understands exactly where your data is going. Finally, have a clear understanding of the implementation and training process and how much support you can expect from the vendor. Outages will happen, but it is important to know that you can count on the vendor that you choose.

#4: Allow a trusted vendor to handle the risk, so you can focus on high-touch items.

IT has a vast amount of responsibility, but is rarely noticed (unless of course, something goes wrong). If you can outsource some of the infrastructure needs to a reliable vendor, you can spend your time strategically on high-touch, high-value activities for your attorneys.

#5: It’s more about flexibility than cost savings.

Although, 82% of companies reportedly saved money by moving to the cloud, Schipani advises that the decision to go to the cloud should aim at increasing flexibility rather than pinching pennies. The core advantage of cloud services is the ability to establish access. “We get the benefit of scale. We can implement things that wouldn't be possible for us to do on our own because we're combined with hundreds or thousands of other users,” said Schipani.

#6: Moving to SaaS apps and the cloud is a strategic decision that impacts competitiveness.

Think of transitioning to the cloud as a strategic move. What will it allow you to do?

“It's important for us, as a small boutique firm that competes with much bigger firms, to have flexibility and remain nimble. If users need to be more mobile, they can be more mobile. Instead of being reactive, we’re ahead of the game. The cloud keeps us flexible. If we need to change, we can do so without much consideration,” added Schipani.

SaaS and the cloud can also maximize revenue, require little to no maintenance, no hardware to buy, and no software to maintain. Remember, SaaS is so much more than a subscription model.

As you can see, the cloud offers many benefits to the modern law firm, but there are several considerations that should be addressed before you make the move. Has your firm migrated any of its applications to the cloud? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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Topics: Software as a Service (SaaS)