Monthly Archives: January 2015

And the winners are …

Win-WineThe response to our survey of conveyancers was so good that we decided to draw two winners from the hat, not just one.  So CONGRATULATIONS to the two winners of a case of wine each:

  • Leanne Green at DC Law; and,
  • Michael Ross at Advantage Property Lawyers

Thankyou to all who took part and our apologies to those of you who entered but didn’t win this time around.  Your feedback and insights have been very helpful and I’m sure there will be other opportunities in the future.

Update on development and use of “Cloud” and “Hosted” IT systems in law firms and the legal sector

This Cloud is not fluffyThere is now a wide variety of options available to law firms in the UK, to move away from the pain of managing servers and extensive IT on their own premises, whatever size of firm they are. Legal practice management system suppliers are still mostly at some stage on the journey from supplying dedicated IT systems on the firm’s premises (on the decline) to delivery of their software from a remotely hosted and secure (perhaps shared, making them “true cloud”) servers in a data centre managed by the supplier, the firm or a third party depending. All the firms that we work with are heading in this direction.

One size does not fit all, as firms have different requirements, concerns (sometimes unfounded) and limitations in what they feel they can and should do at this stage. For suppliers, the transition from traditional suppliers of on-premise solutions in the legal sector to deliver “cloud” solutions at maximum profit challenges their business model fundamentally; so some new entrants are likely to make an even more significant impact in the UK market soon.

Read the rest of our article providing an update on how far law firms and IT suppliers servicing the legal sector have come now – published in Jan 2015 here >>

CONVEYANCERS – Win your first prize for 2015, to set the trend for what should be a good year;  a case of 12 Bottles of Wine of your choice

Win-WinePlease complete our short snapshot survey to win the prize. If you are a conveyancer this won’t take you more than 6 minutes!  All responses are multiple choice and your responses will be based on your personal experience of dealing with residential conveyancing transactions, so it’s all at your fingertips.

Go here to complete the survey.

The research is on behalf of a client interested in developing new Local Search solutions that could reduce the complexity of your work, aiming to free up more time for you, relieve pressure in the process and to ease the stresses for your clients. Great if you feel it can work for you!

By completing the survey, you will be included in our draw to win a case of 12 bottles of wine, with the winner able to choose red, white or a mix. The draw for the case of wine will be made at 12:00 noon on Friday 30 January, with the winner being notified directly by email; also published on our website at www.inpractice.co.uk where you will also find the rules of this competition.

All responses will be treated in absolute confidence and no responses will be directly attributed to you or your practice.

“Where you can add value … all about technology” – Henk Potts, Barclays Economist

A lively review here from Barclays’ economist, Henk Potts reviewing progress in 2014 and looking ahead to 2015.  If key opportunities for UK SME’s flow from advances in technology, what does that mean for your legal business and for how you develop your relationships with your SME clients?

 

For the relationship with clients … you will only find out by asking them, but to make the most of the new opportunities that are opening up, you need to interpret what they say back into how you can adapt your use of technology to add more value to your services and your relationship with them.

For more from Barclays – go here >>

If you are interested in exploring how you can harness technology to add more value for your clients to generate more business – contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or acarton@inpractice.co.uk   Always happy to explore options with you with no obligation.

July 14 2015 – Are you planning now for this significant Microsoft Server Upgrade?

This Cloud is not fluffyEND OF MICROSOFT SUPPORT for Windows Server 2003/R2, so you still have time to explore your options, but don’t leave it too long.

Upgrading to Windows Server 2012 will require you to consider new server hardware, which comes at a cost.  Before you invest in more on premise hardware, it would be right for most law firms now to consider whether the time is right to move your IT infrastructure to an externally hosted data centre to improve security, business continuity and support.

This is the trend in law firms and business generally as businesses struggle to deal effectively with the complexity of maintaining IT systems when it would be more effective to spend that time developing the business.

Why the need to consider options now?

Just as you find some breathing space after upgrading your law firm’s personal computers and throwing away all those old Windows XP licences, Microsoft has another date for your diary – July 14, 2015 (yes, this year!).  This is the end of Microsoft support for Windows Server 2003/R2.  It’s not that far off and experience shows that any upgrade or migration of this nature needs good planning and preparation.

You can, of course, take a chance and stay with Server 2003 until it breaks but here’s why you shouldn’t:

  • No Updates – from July 15th onwards Microsoft will not develop or release any updates or patches to Windows Server 2003. Any new security threats arising after this date will not be addressed and this puts your firm and clients at risk if you continue to run Server 2003;
  • Compliance – Your legal practice operates under SRA regulation including requirements on security and privacy of data.  Whilst the SRA may not express a view specifically on this Server 2003 issue you can be sure that any incidents that arise due to failure to upgrade will leave you at risk of breaching these requirements.  Compliance is about validating and ensuring that your systems are viable, secure and risk free, ensuring that the confidential data that you hold for your clients will be safe and secure.
  • Competitive advantage – if you’re using older technology than your competitors it’s likely that you’re missing out. How quickly can you add new systems? Setup new staff? New offices?  Can you offer solid remote working to attract the best staff?  Can you give your clients what they are asking for?

But it’s not all negative.  There are many benefits and opportunities to come out of an upgrade to your IT infrastructure.

Or you may choose to take advantage of the many hosted and managed services that have reached maturity in the past 10 years whilst your Server 2003 assets have been painfully sweated.

Server 2012 provides enhancements far beyond the capabilities of Server 2003 for example:

  • Much better and simpler remote access to systems, data and email;
  • More storage options;
  • Increased security;
  • Better and easier management and automation;

Now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to address this opportunity, what route you will take, the resources that you will need and the results you can expect.

In short, you have 3 options and one of those isn’t really an option:

  • Leave it as it is. It generally works and you may feel you have other priorities, but there are risks with this;
  • Replace your old with new; on-premise hardware and software with the latest Server 2012 and new hardware to run it on. You can be pretty sure that your old server hardware won’t work.
  • Migrate to a cloud or hosted solution, where the hosting company infrastructure will incorporate the upgrade anyway so you don’t have to think about it.

Get in touch with Frank Manning on 07778 572420 or at fmanning@inpractice.co.uk to talk about whether you should be looking towards on-premise, in the cloud or a combination of both on a hybrid platform.

We can help you to make the right decisions from the beginning – as experience shows that’s where it can all start to get messy.

The term “Cloud” Computing just conjures up the wrong impression when talking about hosted IT services.

This is what “the Cloud” really looks like. Ultra secure and organised – not fluffy at all. Compare that to a few computer rooms I’ve seen in law firms!  You might have seen one too? Users have to adapt and get the timing right, but this is the direction of travel.

This Cloud is not fluffy

Have you been in one of these?  Cold and uninviting, but great for your computer systems.