We all know there’s been a Teutonic shift in how software is accessed in the last 10-15 years. No longer is the server-client model the only option for law firms when it comes using the software they need to run a smooth and profitable business. Using software through your web browser is now the norm for almost all business solutions, even enterprise-level programs usually have some cloud-based components.
Of course, this change in software consumption presented challenges to law firms. First and foremost was security and the ethical issue of storing client data outside of the law firms control. Would important client information be as safe in a cloud environment as an on-premise server protected by firewalls, etc? Many state bar associations as well as the ABA have answered that question and determined that cloud computing use is within the ethical realm of lawyers.
With that hurdle cleared, there remains one other major change: how we pay for the software. Monthly subscriptions are the norm and a new term has been born: SaaS. Software as a Service means you pay month to month and can leave anytime you’d like. This gives firms much more flexibility in the software they want to use.
The main benefits of a monthly subscription and using web-based software is you never have to worry about the costly upgrades to the software as well as the overhead IT costs to maintain servers. Upgrades happen to your cloud software automatically the next time you log into their system after a new release.
With all this being said, many lawyers are suspicious of paying for software in perpetuity. Are they really getting their money’s worth compared to a one-time fee for software installed on their server in their office? We’re all used to paying a monthly fee for cell phone service, entertainment like Netflix and our internet. But when it comes to software, there are still a lot of skeptics.
What often isn’t asked by law firms is the question, are they saving more time with cloud-based solutions? Because in the legal world, time is money. What if the time saved using software that is nimble enough to constantly be providing upgrades actually paid for itself? That’s what law firms should be considering when thinking about a shift to web software. Return on Investment (ROI) is a term we all know but can be elusive in determining.
At TimeSolv, we’ve asked our customers how much time they’ve saved in their billing work using our product versus their old solution. The results showed a savings of over eight hours a week in work done with invoicing. Think about that. That’s an entire day of billable time gained. If you’re an attorney that charges $250/hour, you’ve just gained $2,000 more in billable time. A monthly subscription of $34.95 for a $2,000 return on investment? Safe to say that’s an ROI most law firms will take.
TimeSolv has developed an ROI calculator that lets you enter variables like your hourly rate, the number of timekeepers and how much time you save using TimeSolv. The numbers show that even if you save as little as one minute a day per timekeeper in the time entry and/or billing process, the product will pay for itself.
It’s time for law firms to stop thinking about a move to the cloud as a zero-sum game and start thinking about it as another path to increased efficiency, which translates to increased profitability.
About the Author
Scott Clasen is the director of marketing at TimeSolv Corporation, a Minnesota-based company providing leading class billing, timekeeping and project management tools for law firms since 1999. TimeSolv’s web-based platform is compatible for both PCs and Macs, and offers an iOS and Android app.
Try TimeSolv for yourself by starting a no-obligation 30-day free trial that includes one-on-one training by real billing experts with years of expertise in the field.