Is Your Law Firm Ready for Digital Transformation?
Greater business agility, simplified workflow processes, and unlocking the value of people are key to success for law firms. However, how to best achieve that is not always clear. Technology and transitioning to digital processes can help support these goals. In a recent Anaqua-sponsored webinar, Joe Bichanich, Client Director, Global Law Firms for Anaqua, interviewed Halim Shehadeh, CEO of Cedar White Bradley (CWB), to discuss the benefits of digitalizing IP processes. In this blog, we outline the best practices for implementing digital transformation at an IP law firm drawn from the webinar. We include tips for how to achieve this in your practice.
Digitizing, Digitalizing, and Digital Transformation – Are They All the Same?
Digitizing, digitalizing, and digital transformation are often used interchangeably. If your end goal is digital transformation at your IP law firm, understanding the difference between these three stages is an important first step in the digital journey.
The digitizing stage involves capturing and inputting data into the software. It helps law firms transition from paper-based to electronic information management.
During the digitalizing stage, the focus is on converting manual processes into electronic or automated ones using digitized information. Digitalization can help achieve better cost management, improve efficiency, and have more control over IP operations. However, digitalizing focuses on improving existing business practices without fundamentally changing the business model.
Digital transformation at your IP law firm involves reimagining the business transforming how people use your products or services. Here you create new business processes, fully examine the law firm’s culture and how your teams are using and embracing digital technologies to meet the changing business and market requirements of clients. One example is the transformation in the music industry with the progression of cassettes to CDs to MP3 players and finally to subscription-led delivery models.
Iterative Approach to Implement Digitalization Successfully
Understanding the processes and building blocks for digitalization can be challenging. The key to successful implementation is understanding and mapping out the processes. This is difficult because they are often stored in individual's computers or minds. The solution is to engage your people actively and follow these five steps to achieve this:
Identify the processes to be digitalized
Map out the processes by reviewing the different steps and stages involved
Assess the required information for each step
Determine where the information is currently being stored, such as paper records, data management systems, or software tools
Identify a way to digitize the information, making it accessible to everyone
The digital transformation journey at a law firm can involve examining every process, testing with a digital approach, and refining processes with internal feedback.
However, the implementation process is not as straightforward. Getting all the attorneys to conform to a common set of digitalized processes can be one of the major challenges. Additionally, your team members may identify some processes as too complex or burdensome to implement. This feedback necessitates re-evaluating and adjusting the processes for digitalization.
For successful implementation, select the right digital tools and software and align them with existing processes. Investing in a solution without the necessary processes in place can lead to underutilization of the system.
Select a handful of processes to begin with if your firm is looking to get started but doesn’t know where to start. Then implement those on your firm's IP management software and let the team test them out. Continuously refine these processes even as they are tested out. Once the processes are implemented and adopted successfully, you can start to digitalize the rest of the processes across your firm.
Implementing Different Aspects of the IP Management Lifecycle on a Single Platform
Digitalizing distinct aspects of the IP management lifecycle, such as docketing, workflow, workload management, timekeeping, and renewal payments, should all be considered in the digitalization strategy. You do not need to implement all of them at the same time.
Building the right structure within your IP management software from the beginning is important. Start with digitalization as the end goal in mind and work backward to identify what you need in your software to achieve this.
Choose an IP management platform provider who will be a close partner in harnessing the combined power of your people, your processes, and technology effectively. The IP solution provider should possess industry knowledge and contribute valuable insights to mapping out your digital processes and the data structuring process.
What's more, the success of the partnership with an IP management software vendor relies not only on the product but also on the people behind it. The vendor needs to work with the law firm as one team.
Managing Change While Implementing Technology Solutions
If you identify digital transformation to be part of the strategic direction of your business model, it is critical to communicate this within your organization.
Communication will help everybody understand the importance of the digital transformation project.
For better change management, you need to get the right people across different departments in this journey. All departments should be involved in the process. IP attorneys and other team members are often busy. You must ensure they make time for the project to implement digital transformation successfully.
How AQX® Law Firm Can Help
Partnering with an IP management software company, such as Anaqua, can help you progress faster and save resources. We partner with leading law firms around the globe on their digital transformation process. Additionally, leveraging a robust and comprehensive IP management platform that implements industry best practices can help you accelerate the digital transformation process.
Anaqua’s AQX® Law Firm platform combines best practice workflows with big data analytics and tech-enabled services to create an intelligent environment designed to enable IP decision-making, develop IP strategy, and streamline IP operations. Engineered on the vision of industry leaders and leveraged by the world’s most sophisticated IP law firms, AQX Law Firm elevates your firm over competitors and helps grow your practice.
Hyperion Global Partners recognized AQX Law Firm as a Market Leader and Highly Innovative in the 2022 MarketView™ Report on IP Management by Hyperion Global Partners.
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