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After five years of steady sailing on technical infrastructure that fit my firm’s needs, leadership updated their business strategy to grow to twice their current size across two new regions. The firm’s days of knowing each other as if they all worked in the same room were numbered. We asked IVIONICS how quickly we could install new computers and they asked us, in a nice way, “is that all you think is involved?”

Approach

In addition to ensuring that all the new employees would have working computers day one, IVIONICS guided us through a needs-assessment based on our growth objective. Their time spent with key stakeholders, leadership, and practitioners resulted in a detailed recommendation plan for how to improve business processes and what technologies are available to achieve our goals.

Results

Growth happened and we were prepared. IVIONICS identified what data and information was most valuable to us as we grew. With this knowledge, we charted a course for how to keep everyone “in the know” regarding client wins, our individual expertise, and new business opportunities.

Our new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system kept us as close to being in one room as possible. Improved matter management and operational efficiencies also came to fruition with IVIONICS’ guidance. While growing our attorney headcount, we were able to take advantages of the economies of scale enabled by technology to keep our staffing levels stable and staff more productive.

Ask

When firm management sees a hefty spend on technology, they expect to see improvements in their computing experience. How technology components integrate and rely on each other is much more nuanced and our previous spend was on keeping our server infrastructure current so we could then begin upgrading our desktop and applications. Firm leadership not only understood this, but they saw it as an opportunity to re-evaluate not only the applications used, but the processes that drive application use and the flow of data between applications. Like all law firms, recent data breaches and the General Data Protection Regulation have brought cybersecurity and data governance to the top of mind.

Approach

IVIONICS was brought in to help evaluate current application use and provide strategic recommendations on what to upgrade and what to replace, while considering improving business and legal practice processes and data governance practices along the way. Critical to the success of this project was leadership’s insistence that IVIONICS meet not only with the practitioners, but with the most senior partners and leaders of the firm. Taking the time of someone who bills $800 per hour is not to be taken lightly. IVIONICS prepared thoughtful and targeted questions for the interviewees, which quickly proved to the participants that IVIONICS had done their homework and were trustworthy to listen to and understand the partner’s business objectives.

Results

The leaders, attorneys and staff revealed inefficiencies and opportunities that provided the insight necessary for IVIONICS to make strategic recommendations to software selection, process and data governance improvements. Priorities and interdependencies were established to bring the firm to the next level of operations. Quick wins addressing specific processes that could be improved immediately were made.

As the firm began to benefit from the initial improvements, more confidence and trust in the IT department was established, leading to better cooperation and an overall easier effort to change the applications and work processes for the betterment of the firm.

 

Ask

It was time to upgrade a considerable amount of the firm’s infrastructure and applications to stay current and secure. Front-page cybersecurity incidents involving law firms got leadership’s attention, as did the buzz around cloud computing. Leadership was astute enough to know that this was also their best opportunity to re-evaluate how they manage their business.

Approach

IVIONICS’ long-standing relationship managing the firm’s technology infrastructure gave them a foothold into understanding what the firm wanted out of their core technology services. However, this was the first time IVIONICS was brought in to discuss the firm’s strategic objectives. The motivated leaders opened up to IVIONICS about their goals, current and potential roadblocks, legacy work processes and those who will champion change. Through a series of interviews, IVIONICS identified core principles to the firm’s strategy that informed the project plans and priorities.

Results

In addition to the firm needing new infrastructure, they needed better financial management and reporting to satisfy their partner and client expectations. The CFO was able to retain control over closely-held data, while identifying where the data could exist in reports and by whom it could be viewed. Custom dashboards were created for practice and office leaders and administrators, and analytical data important to partners became an up-front and easy to follow daily news feed. Other positive outcomes of the new financial system included escalated time capture, billing and payment cycles, and improved client service.

To accomplish a successful change of this magnitude, the firm agreed with IVIONICS recommendation of moving forward with cloud-first products and services. They went from having all infrastructure on-premise to benefiting from a complete cloud suite of solutions, managed and secured by IVIONICS. The firm now benefits from data centralization, allowing for reliable reporting and improved data security and global mobile access, allowing their attorneys and clients an efficient platform for being successful.

Ask

The tipping point when my law firm’s Managing Partner called me in the dead of night to talk about cyber security came on May 9, 2016, when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released the Panama Papers to the public. The call did not come because our firm had any connection to since-defunct Mossack Fonseca, the firm from which leaked 11.5 million documents and was subsequently charged with money laundering. He called to be reminded of what we had agreed to put in place during the last budget season and find out what more could be done and how quickly. Thankfully, I assuaged his fears for the night with some reassuring facts, including multi-factor authentication was in place, as were up-to-date firewalls, intrusion prevention, intrusion detection, anti-virus and incident response systems. When I called IVIONICS later that morning, they assured me that what I told my boss was true and that we should start talking about data governance.

Approach

IVIONICS, our MSP had visibility into our systems so, they quickly identified risks related to ungoverned data in the form of documents stored in various places outside the document management system, and rogue applications installed on desktops. With this knowledge, they convinced us that we needed to talk to the attorneys and practitioners to understand the reasons for working outside the standard application suites. We arranged meetings with representatives from all the practice areas and departments, including those identified as rouge. IVIONICS synthesized the interviews into a succinct data governance and business process analysis and set of recommendations to improve our practices.

Results

I had relied on IVIONICS for years to manage my infrastructure, but what they brought at this point was business expertise that enabled my firm to make the changes necessary to better govern our data,  manage our matters, and service our clients, many of whom are public figures likely to be targeted by cyber-criminals. As a result, we put realistic processes in place, including the process of regularly scheduled process-success assessments. In addition to establishing more secure control of our data and implementing more usable applications, my firm now benefits from reliable data that drives productivity and profitability. Matter workflows guide attorneys through best practices and provide current precedential work product from which to begin new matters. By governing our data better, we are capturing our institutional knowledge and inserting it into our practice in real time, ensuring that we are always providing our clients with the best possible products and outcomes.