May 29, 2024

Harnessing the balance of technology and human interaction

Posted by Elizabeth Jarvis, managing director of Legal Futures Associate Landmark Search

Jarvis: Invest accurately on what matters

In today’s legal landscape, with the abundance of proptech, finding the delicate balance between driving efficiency via use of technology and providing a personalised service is paramount to success.

However, with a myriad of emerging tools and platforms, navigating the selection process can be a daunting challenge, leaving firms uncertain about the optimal human/technology mix to invest in and therefore slowing the transition to the optimal, hybrid way of working.

We recently found through our market research that the top three challenges to progress the digital transformation journey have been: investment – not enough dedicated budget (77%), a slow pace of cultural and organisational change (74%), and technical issues (72%). All were higher levels than we recorded in 2022.

Recognising the uniqueness of each law firm’s business model, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But, by drawing on experience, talent and the right evolving technology products, firms can craft an effective strategy.

Having collaborated closely with law firms nationwide over the years at SearchFlow, we’ve witnessed successful businesses grappling with the diverse array of conveyancing technologies. From client-facing systems to cost-conscious back-office solutions and new strategic business investments, the landscape is vast and complex.

While there’s considerable buzz around property technology and artificial intelligence (AI), direct investment in AI may seem daunting for many law firms. Nonetheless, emerging property technology offers significant benefits, such as higher efficiency and improving profit margins, prompting a sense of urgency in the decision-making.

A good starting point involves evaluating the firm’s current technology base against the key business pillars: client databases, workflow templates across case and practice management tools, as well as the accounting and security systems.

Is the existing tech enhancing workflows or becoming diverse and cumbersome? Is it simplifying the conveyancing processes or seeing a proliferation of external integrations with new complexities? Does it provide valuable insights or drown you in unusable statistics?

If the latter in each case, it might be time to reassess the direction of travel and a path to a simplified but more effective future.

Naturally, technology adoption should align with long-term strategic objectives, but that is always balanced with the urgencies of the here and now.

For firms prioritising efficiency, implementing better case management systems integration and document automation tools could really benefit the team. Conversely, those aiming for cost reduction might explore cloud-based services and modern single function specialist services like e-signature solutions.

Going back to basics and getting a clear vision of what the firm’s strategic priorities are and how the optimum day-to-day operations should run, will create a clear vision based on flexible and adaptable platforms.

This allows for easier decision making to ensure the investments made into technology products will yield clear business impacts with tangible results for both the team, and the clients.

On top of that, it goes without saying that data security and risk management continue to be hugely important, integrating cybersecurity measures becomes imperative. Technology providers offering robust cybersecurity solutions and risk management expertise can support firms in navigating these complexities.

The performance of conveyancing technology directly impacts profitability. Therefore, streamlining operations, reducing errors and expanding case-load capacity contribute to the overall success of the firm – let’s not forget the contribution to the team’s wellbeing, knowing that they can produce accurate and high-quality work.

A unified platform consolidates various processes, minimising manual intervention and fostering client-centricity.

For further time saving, application programming interfaces (APIs) are like electronic plugs and sockets that enable different technologies to integrate seamlessly with existing systems.

The speed and ease of using suitable API enhances agility, efficiency and can extend remote operations, but they must be highly secure and strong enough to suit your business flows.

Access to accurate and comprehensive property datasets early in the conveyancing process instils confidence and fosters transparency throughout the downstream process, bolstering the firm’s reputation. Our research found that 75% of conveyancers said providing the most relevant data insights earlier in the process sped up residential transactions.

Harnessing conveyancing technology from the outset safeguards the firm’s name and reinforces its expertise. Selecting the right technology providers ensures cost-effectiveness, mitigates delays and upholds the firm’s reputation by leveraging their experience across the wider market.

While the choice between disparate systems and a single platform depends on the firm’s needs and aspirations, it’s crucial to prioritise agility, scalability and efficiency for long-term growth.

Whether opting for broad flexibility or streamlining through a unified platform, engaging in open conversations with technology providers keeps you up-to-date on where the new benefits are proven and keeps you on the road to success.

Ensuring a seamless transition into a digitally driven future that upholds your firm’s core values is possible. Invest accurately on what matters, because keeping up with the evolving legal and digital landscape drives your path to a flexible and efficient future.

For more guidance, download our guide here.

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