Having a strong IT capability is critical to all organisations, now more than ever. But like any budget category, you don’t want to overspend, and you need to invest effectively. For law firms, IT spend is likely to be the third largest expenditure category behind premises and staff so ‘Getting it Right’ needs to be taken seriously.
You are likely to know how much you are spending on IT however, is it a sensible amount? Every firm is different and budgets can go up and down from year to year. However, a general guideline can be useful to help determine whether your level is right.
If you are still using an in-house telephone system based on older technologies, then you need to be aware that BT will be making it obsolete over the next few years. However, the need to upgrade is an opportunity to rethink your entire communications strategy and to improve working patterns. The good news is that the new technologies available can not only give you more business functionality but in addition can save you money!
Law firms rarely change their PMS, doing so on average about every 15 to 20 years, and rightly so as the cost and effort involved is substantial. Furthermore, a firm can expect such a project to distract from the day-to-day operation of the firm and there will be disruption to the business as staff learn the new system and while enhancements and bespoke developments are undertaken.
The infrequency of such projects also means that firms are likely to be unfamiliar with changes in the PMS marketplace and may not have staff with the skillsets required to undertake such a project.
DMS Selection & Implementation for Winckworth Sherwood
A case study of transition
During 2015, Winckworth Sherwood (WS) undertook an IT review which identified that while providing sleek integration and automation between various systems, the existing SharePoint Document Management System (DMS) was no longer meeting the needs and expectations of a growing business.
In the context of this article Due Diligence is the careful examination of a company / solution and the evaluation of all associated risk before becoming involved in a contract or business arrangement.
Why Due Diligence?
Choosing a new IT solution or Service Provider is fraught with danger and committing to a lengthy contract solidifies and extends the risks.
IT Service Review for Stephens Scown
A detailed review of the firm’s IT Service Hosting
Following a recent change of IT suppliers Stephens Scown had suffered from several system outages. We were engaged to undertake a detailed review of Stephens Scown’s IT Service Hosting provision in order to:
- gain full understanding of the causation of three recent outages and subsequent mitigations;
- assess the services provided and capabilities of the service provided.
IT Review & Strategy Development for Taylor & Emmet
A full IT review leading to the development of an IT strategy
Taylor & Emmet requested a full ‘root and branch’ review of their IT that would lead to an IT strategy. The review covered the following areas:
David and Kevin are both members of the British Computer Society and hold Chartered IT Professional (CITP) memberships.
The chartered membership is achieved via a rigorous application process including a Breadth of Knowledge test and a Peer Assessment Interview. The accreditation is underpinned by periodic revalidation.
Holders of the CITP have to be able to demonstrate they’ve undertaken a range of challenging and complex work activities where they’ve had full accountability and exercised significant influence and responsibility, and have well-developed business skills.
The accreditation shows that holders understand the business they are working in and add business value through the use of technology
Following an independent review for Winckworth Sherwood of the iManage and NetDocuments products, the consulting team recommended the NetDocuments platform based on the client’s strategic decision to move to a cloud-based SAAS platform for their future DMS and on the grounds of its proven cloud credentials and the vendor’s track record around innovation, product development, security and customer support.
At the suggestion of both client and NetDocuments, Baskerville Drummond then moved to gain certification to enable the end-to-end delivery of the Winckworth Sherwood DMS project.
In December 2016 Kevin became our first NetDocuments certified consultant. Paul Hoffbrand, probably the most experienced and certified NetDocuments practitioner in the country has also joined the Baskerville Drummond implementations team.
PMS Selection and IT Consultancy for Standley & Co
A range of IT consultancy leading to a PMS selection project
In late 2016 Standley & Co required strategic IT consultancy across several areas with a long-term plan to replace their PMS system.
Office Move Project for Wilkin Chapman LLP
Advice and support for a major office move
Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) designed to block access to a computer or its data unless a ‘ransom’ is paid. It might do this by locking your system or by encrypting your data. The ransomware typically enters a computer through a Trojan. An unsuspecting user can introduce a Trojan in a number of ways such as through opening an email attachment, clicking on a link in an email, visiting a bad or compromised website, downloading infected files or using a USB stick which was found lying in the car park or lobby.
Ransomware is not new with the first example in the late 1980s being spread using infected floppy disks which were sent to recipients by post. However, our reliance on digital information, more sophisticated coding, improved networks and the involvement of criminal gangs and possibly even foreign governments has made ransomware a growing threat.
Telephone System Selection for Taylor & Emmet
Requirements analysis and supplier engagement to select a new telephone system
We were retained by Taylor & Emmet to consider the need for a new telephone system. The scope of the project was as follows:
A ‘virtual’ IT Director is someone who is there for you as and when required without the need to hire someone into this position as a full-time employee with all of the associated costs. They can work for you as needed whether a few days a month, more regularly or simply on an ad-hoc basis. They could work fully on-site or sometimes remotely, whichever suits your organisation.
Many organisations have IT teams that are constantly overstretched. They are in ‘fire fighting’ mode – constantly reacting to immediate tasks with no time devoted to proactive actions. The result is a lack of time spent on important issues such as the organisation’s business strategy, the long-term IT strategy and staff development. Such teams tend to work as they always have without time for continuous improvement or innovation.
Virtual IT Director for Geoffrey Leaver
Independent Director-level consultancy
Geoffrey Leaver required senior-level IT support following the resignation of their incumbent IT manager. The firm had several areas where they required strategic assistance: