Last month I wrote an article listing the reasons why now is the time to determine if new programs or solutions are needed for your firm as we look towards the end of the calendar year. September is the time to commit to planning for those new solutions.
At Crosspointe our team has now heard from two of our vendors that if firms want to start using their new solutions by January 1, 2024, they need to make an appointment with their data migration teams by September 30 if they want their data ready by December 31! So, if your firm is thinking about switching to a new software program or cloud application for next year, get in line and join the hundreds of other firms that are thinking the same thing.
Okay, you think you need to switch or invest in a new program. How can a firm approach this logically?
Define Your Requirements
- Identify your firm’s specific needs and goals. This may include polling your staff and/or creating a focus group. What problems or challenges do you aim to solve with new software or cloud applications?
- Consider the features and system requirements to meet these needs. What are the hardware requirements? If a solution is cloud-based, does your firm have internet access that is up to speed?
Plan Your Budget
- Establish a budget for the software acquisition, including initial purchase costs, ongoing subscription fees, and any potential customization or training expenses.
- Consider the total cost of ownership (TCO), including maintenance and support fees.
Determine if your new solution can grow with your firm
- Evaluate whether the software can scale with your firm’s growth.
- Will it accommodate an increase in users, data volume, or transaction volume?
Compatibility and Integration
- Ensure that the software can seamlessly integrate with your existing IT infrastructure and other software applications.
- Assess the compatibility with different operating systems (PC and iOS) and devices (phones, tablets, laptops) your organization uses.
- Your data is valuable, and security is critical. Assess the software’s security features, including data encryption, access controls, and compliance with industry regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA).
- Check the vendor’s security practices and data handling procedures.
Training & Onboarding
- How “friendly” is the new solution? Is it intuitive or does it require extensive training?
- What training resources does the vendor provide? Are there certified (human) trainers, or only YouTube videos?
- What does the vendor provide in the way of technical support?
- Research the vendor’s reputation and track record in the industry.
- Check customer reviews and testimonials.
This article provides some of the questions and topics firms need to make a decision about new programs. Our role is to help you find the answers. Our team at Crosspointe has years of experience guiding our clients through needs assessments to help them select new technology solutions. We are not committed to one program over another, but we are committed to finding the best solutions for our clients. Once our clients make decisions, we support them through implementation by working with their I.T. consultants; customization, data migration and training. We are also available to provide post-implementation support. Contact us at 877-375-2810 or write to us at [email protected] if you need assistance in finding and implementing new solutions for the new year.
Dana Riel is President and Founder of Business Solutions, Inc., serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1985. Her firm is the authorized training center for the region for Time Matters and PCLaw by PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC; Timeslips and Sage 50 Accounting by Sage Software; and QuickBooks by Intuit Corporation. She also serves as a consultant for Caret Legal (formerly known as Zola Suite), CosmoLex, Soluno & TimeSolv. As a trainer, Dana has provided training services to organizations such as the DOD Defense Logistics Agency, Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAG)/Department of the Navy, University of the District of Columbia School of Law, U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as with small‐ to mid‐size law firms in the Baltimore‐Washington D.C. area. In 2009, she participated in the series of day‐long seminars sponsored by the District of Columbia Bar Association Practice Management Section, titled “Basic Training: Learn About Running a Law Office”. Ms. Riel also served as an Adjunct Professor in Georgetown University’s Paralegal Studies Program, having taught the course, “Legal Ethics/Legal Technology” in 2009; and “Legal Technology” for the Spring and Summer Semesters of 2010. She presently serves on the Advisory Board for PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC.