Recently, we discussed What to Look Out for When Moving Your Practice to the Cloud, and focused on the full migration picture to prepare firms with an understanding of what to expect once they decide to make the switch from one practice management application to another. However, it’s important also to consider how a company reaches that place, to begin with. In other words, why change now?
It’s important to understand that every law firm is unique in their needs when it comes to software; the cloud may have been a good move for some years ago, while others are only now looking to make the transition. Here, we’ll take a look at why moving to a modern cloud-based application matters, and how systems like legacy desktop programs and even outdated web-based applications simply don’t cut it if you’re trying to stay competitive in 2018.
Legacy Desktop Programs
From increased flexibility to automatic software updates and more, by continuing to use a legacy desktop program, your firm is missing out on the cloud benefits that, quite frankly, your competitors are already using and benefiting from – making you less competitive.
As any business owner that relies on technology can tell you, hardware/server requirements and ongoing maintenance cost time and money (not to mention, a good deal of frustration). With the cloud, these sort of problems practically disappear. Modern cloud-based software is automatically backed up and secured on an external server; all updates are automatic for the end user, and if an issue arises, it can likely be fixed easily via cloud backup or remote support session with client services.
If you are still relying on a desktop application, the lack of modern functionality associated with using a legacy desktop program is undoubtedly hindering your firm’s productivity and efficiency. From improved collaboration among colleagues to the ability to work from anywhere or any device, being tied to the computer is a thing of the past, and must be replaced by complete access and increased capability.
Integration-Reliant Cloud Programs
As stated at the beginning of this article, some law firms determined that moving to the cloud was a smart business move years ago. These firms adopted the earliest of web-based applications — programs that promised more freedom and mobility than their desktop counterparts. While perhaps a step up from legacy desktop programs when it comes to mobility and sleek user interfaces, often these applications are lacking when it comes fully-integrated functionality. Cloud-programs that rely heavily on third-party integrations and syncs with additional software not only hinder your law firm by adding extra costs (buying add-on software), but they also have the added hassle of maintaining the syncs between applications and they often mean trying to manage your law firm with generic business tools.
Specifically, many web-based programs require the use of a separate, general accounting system which lacks the standard compliance/operational accounting functions that legal-specific solutions provide. Here, the back and forth between programs not only becomes tedious — with double data entry and legal-specific customizations — but it can also place your firm in an uncertain position when it comes to compliance due to a lack of safeguards and legal-specific accounting rules.
Why The Cloud Matters in 2018
Whatever your law firm’s current software setup, making the switch to a modern cloud-based application is a commitment, not only of your time and resources but also (and more importantly) to the improvement of your business. This year, more than ever before, small and mid-sized law firms everywhere will be upgrading their practice management software. Many of these firms will be looking specifically at cloud solutions to provide them the freedom and functionality they need to stay competitive. Don’t wait until it’s too late, learn more about your options by watching our in-depth webinar, Moving Your Practice to the Cloud: Best Practices for a Painless Migration.