One big issue for law firms today is the competitive nature of the field. Cost cutting and streamlining services is an issue for even the largest practices. Most firms have turned to IT outsourcing as a model to facilitate these service efficiencies.
As IT outsourcing in law firms continues to expand in 2018, what are some of the trends we’ll see? What benefits does IT outsourcing bring to law firms?
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Trends in IT Outsourcing – 2018 Outlook
Early security fears around outsourcing sensitive client data have largely been erased by a more than decades-old track record of cloud-based services. While software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers established a solid client base within the startup and solo practitioner sector, bigger law firms were slower to commit to these models.
As the market for IT outsourcing has stabilized, even the most conservative of firms have adopted at least a portion of IT outsourcing services. Citing the convenience and scalability of cloud functions, law firms are predicted to continue their migration to the cloud next year. Some of the typical IT outsourcing services impacting the field of law include:
- Cloud-Based e-Discovery Platforms: An increase in e-discovery providers and features as lawyers continue to seek competent and secure resources in the cloud. Researching, collating, and producing data deliverables as part of the discovery process will continue to be a crucial area where law firms will seek economy of scale. Cloud-based e-discovery platforms will continue to capture a large sector of the IT outsourcing market with law firms around the globe.
- Cloud-Based Virtual Law Assistants: A newer service but one that is expected to popularize is the practice of utilizing cloud-based virtual law assistants. IT outsourcing that encompasses these models helps lawyers improve workflows and reduce costs. These virtual providers can help with all the granular details that take up time, but don’t require a particular legal skill set. These services can be monetized and provided to clients as an additional revenue stream.
- Social Networking: While social networking as a means to gain business isn’t new, using digital social networking as a means to gain new business is actually a more recent phenomenon in legal circles. But producing content and having a presence on social networks is important for the growth of all professions, including lawyers. To accommodate this trend, the first social networking site for legal professionals has been launched. Foxwordy lets lawyers, researchers, and anyone in the legal profession connect and collaborate with colleagues. But if you’re concerned about the time suck that comes with social networking, there is IT outsourcing for this, as well. IT outsourcing of social networking can include everything from writing and posting blogs to commenting on Twitter.
- Storage in the Cloud: There is expected to be a strong increase in the volume of data storage in the cloud in 2018. This is particularly robust in enterprise-level organizations, which have traditionally relied upon on-premise server rooms to provide everything from email to document storage. While small businesses will continue to adopt cloud services as a standard part of “business as usual,” larger firms are expected to supplement their existing architectures with hybrid cloud models next year.
- Partnerships with Managed Service Providers: Finally, IT outsourcing for law firms is anticipated to include partnerships with managed service providers to handle and supplement cybersecurity. This is especially true for large firms as they seek to shore up existing infrastructures and IT teams with security-specific services and expertise. With the managed services industry expected to increase from $142.75 billion in 2013 to $256.05 billion, in 2018, it’s clear that companies in all business sectors are seeking the expertise that comes with IT outsourcing.
All trends are pointing to one simple, yet complex statement: the future of the modern, competitive law firm is irretrievably tied to IT outsourcing. As the technology and bandwidth continue to advance in cloud models, the legal profession will continue to find new ways to leverage these services to achieve a competitive advantage.
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