The author of Processing IT notes that despite cynicism about sales hype, the fact remains that legal technology has changed and will continue to change radically; therefore one must keep abreast with developments on a more or less ingoing basis. He suggests solicitors read and talk to contacts in other firms and to clients about their views on technology.
Monitor the usage of your existing IT systems. Does your staff have trouble using the software. Are there problems with bottlenecks? IT systems constitute a significant investment so it does pay to do your homework.
The writer highlights some areas of technology that should be on the agenda for reviewing in 2003. These are:
- Hardware and software issues - as Microsoft phases out its older operating systems such as Windows NT, the user must upgrade. Servers should be running Windows 2000 at the very least, while workstations should be running Microsoft XP. Failure to upgrade will prevent the firm from using the latest versions of application software.
- Digital dictation - the replacement of analogue tape with solid-state digital dictation devices offers considerable benefits such as the ability to transfer dictation files as e-mail attachments.
- E-mail management - the insidious growth of spam aside, firms need to address issues such as physical storage, archiving and general management. An e-mail policy should also be implemented.
- Risk management and quality assurance systems - the implementation of quality assurance standards to limit a firm's professional indemnity (PI).