Each day you manage cases, strategize with colleagues, communicate with clients, edit documents, log hours and update calendars. But time is your most valuable asset. How many hours a day do you spend sending email? Making phone calls? Searching for documents? How many times a day do you text colleagues asking if they are free to chat? How many times do you log in and out of your firm’s document management, legal research, billing and calendaring tools?
With more focus than ever before being placed on efficiency, modern law firms understand that time is money and efficient communication methods will benefit your firm’s bottom line. Every function in a law firm can benefit from a completely new category of technology designed to boost employee productivity. The rise of enterprise collaboration is redefining the modern law firm and how law practices will think about communication in the future.
What is enterprise collaboration?
Within a single tool, collaboration platforms emphasize quick, concise messages, on-demand video conferencing, screen and document sharing and ongoing team conversations. Messages and documents are organized by activity streams, which can consist of matters, projects or discussions.
Available on your desktop, laptop or mobile device, collaboration platforms enable you to chat one-on-one or with a team. Whether your co-workers are in the same building or located in different countries around the world, you can collaborate with the same amount of ease. With a click of a button, you can video conference, email and share files. You can even poll a group for input by conducting surveys that update in real time. Never again waste time digging around for a document across various file servers and systems. In a collaboration platform, documents are stored securely in one place, keeping you organized and allowing you to search across everything using keywords.
Integrating communications, applications, workflows, business processes and data streams, collaboration platforms are poised to become the sole digital location for work within an organization. In addition to improved productivity, such integrations will result in increased profitability.
How will law firms use collaboration platforms?
Organizations in other industries have already experienced the benefits of enterprise collaboration, and now this technology is making its way into the legal sector.
No longer will firms have separate email, messaging, video, document sharing, calendaring and billing systems. Instead, you will start and end your day in the collaboration platform rolled out by your firm to every attorney and staff member. You will receive and organize conversations that are either sent individually to you or as a part of a group of colleagues. You will send and receive emails within the platform, right next to the private and team messaging system. When you need to speak face-to-face to a colleague, no matter where that person is located, you can start a video conference with a click of a button. After hours, you can easily see all of your messages, documents and emails on the mobile collaboration app. In the near future, such platforms will deliver access to a nearly endless array of other legal applications available in the marketplace – such as legal research, deposition, analytics and artificial intelligence software.
How can law firms take advantage of this new technology?
As workplace dynamics change and new technology platforms develop, law firms must consider collaboration platforms as a part of the organization’s larger IT strategy. Becoming familiar with the value brought by collaboration software is increasingly important for senior-level executives, but knowing where to start can be challenging. Look for a platform that has a simple, easy-to-use interface and full training and support. Consider starting a collaboration deployment with a pilot team, then expanding across the organization. Look for key integrations that can be made, including an integrated email client that works with the organization’s email system, to ensure no interruptions in the flow of information. Ensure capabilities for setting administrative controls in the system, as well as the ability to monitor use, employee adoption and ongoing data security and compliance. Collaboration software is already reshaping how law firms think about communication in the workplace and will continue to do so.