Law Firm’s in the UK recognise that it is essential a case management system (“CMS”) is essential to running the company. A good CMS allows the fee earners to manage their case load effectively while providing the administrative tools to the supports staff to aid them in addition to providing the partners access to valuable, real time, reports to measure the company’s performance. Now it is established the CMS is integral to the running of the operation the question to ask is; “how do I pick the right one for me”.
The first consideration is what will how effective is it. When looking at any system it is usually the operational side of things that makes or breaks it. There are two ways to run a CMS. Either the CMS is ran through a server-based system or one that Cloud based. There are no longer many benefits to using the server based CMS. A server will restrict mobility as the infrastructure will have to be based on site meaning that it is more difficult to sharing data with multiple lawyers in multiple locations. It is essential for the modern lawyer to have access to their files in any location at any one time. A cloud based CMS will provide you with all the tools you need to run your cases from wherever you are in the world so long as you have access to the internet. So you can be on the beach on vacation and have access to your case file, time recorder, customizable billing which offers complete peace of mind as you know nothing will be slipping through the cracks.
Secondly you need to consider the costs. Installing and maintain a server is expensive. Just to implement a server on site will cost your firm several thousands of pounds not to mention the time cost it will take and the disruption to the staff asked to close their computers down whilst the wires are being fitted. To keep it running, a server has to be regularly maintained which usually involves employing an IT team at an annual salary cost. Again, with cloud computing there are none of these problems. The first major benefit being there is no need for a server which, in turn, means there are no up-front installation costs and there is no down time with staff having to stop work to allow hardware to be physically added. The maintenance is the responsibility of the CMS provider who operates a server through the cloud. If you have any issues you go directly to the provider who is contractually obliged to rectify the problem without any additional cost in contrast to paying an IT team to be on hand for this purpose.
A unique advantage of using a cloud system is that the provider will work for different clients from all over the world. It is likely that the problem you are experiencing will already have been fixed for one of these other clients resulting in a quick fix for you. Being part of such a pool also means you are provided with regular updates to the CMS to include upgrades made for other clients that you will benefit from at little or no costs.
Lastly, you need to ensure the system you choose is safe to use given a Law Firm handles very important data. The traditional train of thought was that a site based server system was a lot more secure due to the scrutiny it was afforded by the staff who were on site managing it. However, tthis train of thought has now been rendered redundant as, if done correctly, Cloud based systems are seen as being a lot safer than their traditional counter-parts. In fact, cloud computing offers a level of physical and electronic security that an on-site server or a locked file cabinet can’t begin to approach. This is because they can operate with large economies of scale due to the data centres they use which offers all their clients a level of security far beyond what they could achieve on their own. The provider must use a data centre that adequately protect your data with something like a tier 4 level 100% private based cloud being proven in this field.
In conclusion, cloud based CMS are not only the future, they are the present. It is expected that by 2017 70% of all business’s will be using cloud based CMS with a large proportion already using them There is no doubt that if you use a traditional site based server you should change today. When you consider a cloud based system is more affordable, more flexible, safer and does not bind a client into a long term contract why would you not join the revolution today.