Do you have the resilience needed to keep pace with technology change?

24 October 2018

Law firms have a tough few years ahead of them and will need to exhibit some extraordinary resilience over the next few years, based on the results of the 2018 PwC Law Firms’ Survey

Speed of technology change is clearly of great concern for law firms and it is critical that they continue to leverage new technologies that enable disruption to traditional business and operating models. PwC’s David Moloney explores how the legal sector is taking advantage of emerging technologies in his blog.

Given the concerns around the pace of technology change, it’s encouraging to see that firms’ perception of their IT function is improving (for the fourth consecutive year). However, as we have said before, whilst it’s critical that firms fix ‘foundation IT’ such as practice management systems (PMS), human resource systems (HR), and client and matter inception systems (CMI), there is a risk that that this inhibits investment in more strategically disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Smart Contracts and Blockchain.

This is only going to get worse over the next few years. With >75% of the market using TRE’s Enterprise PMS (over 25 years old), there is a bow wave of firms needing to replace their PMS before 2022 (a hard deadline associated with the system being end of life). Many Finance, IT and practice teams have a huge undertaking in the next three years to rip out and replace something which they’ve had for 10-20+ years.

It’s important to remember that these are complex, international if not global, multi-year programmes which will require significant capital investment and firm bandwidth. And on top of that, survey results show that many firms are also carrying out or planning to carry out CMI, HR and CRM projects which will further add to bandwidth concerns.

As I outlined at the start of this blog, it’s going to get tough over the next three years. If firms are to have a hope of succeeding they urgently need to take three important first steps:

  1. Take an honest view of the available bandwidth and programme capability required to succeed
  2. Make sure priorities are clear and agreed across the firm
  3. Secure firm wide commitment to appropriate levels of multi year funding

We’ve talked a lot about technology in this blog but it’s really important to remember that technology is just an enabler. Only those who understand that this is about business transformation and who have a relentless focus on business change and business benefit realisation will succeed.

Finally, for those firms who have already replaced their PMS and tackled their foundation IT, my challenge to you is two fold: have you delivered the transformation and benefits you were seeking to achieve, and how will you use the next three years to steal a march on those that haven’t?

 

Alyson Reeves  |  Director
Email  |  +44) 7740 242664 

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