When talking to decision makers, I am still amazed at how many of them settle for systems that they believe offer what their business needs – without carrying out full due diligence. There are many examples of this kind of decision-making, some firms believe that this approach gives them a quick win. Let's look at a few examples of the different solutions your business needs.
Take Accounts. Okay, I appreciate that this maybe isn't the most of exciting of topics, but it is an area you shouldn't get wrong. Many firms select a case management solution because it comes with an integrated accounts package. That's a great thought, isn't it? Well, is it? Is that accounts package the best solution on the market? Were there other accounts packages that your accounts department preferred?
Why settle for an accounting solution that does ‘pretty much everything' but still has some flaws in core areas of its functionality. Depending on the size and needs of your business, you're going to have different requirements in this space. If you are at the larger end of the law firm spectrum, then a full enterprise resource planning (ERP) system may well be what's needed. Alternatively, you may need a more traditional accounts package that satisfies the needs of a traditional mid-sized/boutique law firm.
Let's look beyond such off-the-shelf, integrated solutions and instead focus on the best-of-breed products individually, for each of their intended purposes.
Case management should be able to deliver end-to-end workflow functionality and at the same time provide light touch solutions for the areas of work that require it. It should enable you to integrate with providers that you select, as opposed to forcing your hand with offerings that have been developed to fit the vendor's business. Can you spin up new solutions quickly and satisfy bespoke automated reporting for ever-demanding panel requirements? There should be no limitations or barriers to what the system allows you to achieve in the present day and in the future.
At this stage, you may well be sipping your coffee and thinking that we've seen individual products that are best-of-breed, but we don't want a number of standalone offerings – which brings me nicely to my next point.
When selecting products and talking to potential suppliers, talk about the integration options. Do their products provide APIs and frameworks to allow integrations with other products? Do they provide a true toolkit to satisfy every eventuality in the business process? Do they go above and beyond and provide a software development kit (SDK) to allow you to develop the solution, including using alternative programming languages such as .NET? Do they also have skilled personnel who can undertake this work, if your in-house team is either at capacity or lacks the resource?
If the answer to these questions is ‘no' then you are likely selecting a solution with a limited shelf life and will need replacing within the next 5 – 10 years.
One of the big advantages of Lexis Visualfiles is that the system is entirely flexible to the needs of a practice. It provides all of the artificial intelligence and workflow functionality that you would expect from the market leader as well APIs, integration frameworks and SDK offerings. Combine that with a team of Application Consultants who are skilled to develop and/or augment your internal resources and you have a truly future proof solution.
My point is why settle for a limited off-the-shelf solution when you can pick the best-of-breed products to satisfy each of your requirements?