Cloud holds key to better engagement and security

While conditions for the legal sector remain buoyant, competition is growing and new approaches to client engagement have the potential to compound this. Most firms, particularly the larger ones, recognise the need to innovate to survive and thrive.

Client engagement is crucial to the success of any law firm, but both corporate and consumer customers are increasingly demanding the kind of seamless user experience they have become accustomed to from the likes of Amazon and social networks.

Modernising systems not only gives them the agility to innovate faster, but it also enables them to exploit the transformative capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging cloud services to serve their clients better as well as reduce costs.

YouGov research conducted by Microsoft and Goldsmiths, University of London discovered companies that have started to use AI are already outperforming others by 5 per cent.  Organisations deploying the technology were found to be “more productive, have higher performance and experience better business outcomes”.

However, a worrying number of law firms are hampered by aged systems and old-fashioned deployment methods. Many of the mainstream systems they still purchase were written decades ago and lack the flexibility needed to succeed in the digital age.

“They are no longer fit for purpose,” says Tony Cox, chief sales officer at Peppermint Technology. “They’re poorly suited to cloud deployment and attract huge, but often hidden, costs to maintain. If you are still in this old world of on-premise solutions and out-of-date software, your firm will be increasingly excluded from accessing new services and open to the risk of rapidly rising support costs.”

Worse still, many of these solutions are not sufficiently secure. Law firms that still deploy them are increasingly vulnerable to fast-growing security threats as fraudsters shift their focus to an ever-smaller pool of firms that are not securely in the cloud.

When using on-premise systems, keeping everything up to date in near real-time requires huge effort and costs. The ageing nature of this technology also means law firms are using systems that were designed when security was not the critical factor it is now.

“This leaves law firms exposed,” says Mr Cox. “While perpetrators are interested in the law firms directly, they are also very interested in the client data within the firm. As others toughen their security by moving to the cloud, hackers will be chasing the fewer and fewer firms that remain on-premise. The big risk for law firms is reputational; that clients simply won’t trust them with their data being held on-premise.”

With all this in mind, secure cloud-based solutions that provide “one version of the truth” across all systems and data are of growing importance to law firms. They not only provide access to powerful automation technology that drive client engagement and keep pace with user expectations, but also underpin good governance, increase process efficiency and enable high-quality business development.

For high-value complex matters, direct personal relationships will remain the bedrock of successful law firms. However, for partners and fee earners to be able to maintain those relationships fully and profitably, everything else has to be done in a joined-up and efficient manner, releasing them to do the things that only they can do. For lower-value, high-volume transactional matters, automation and workflow is the key.

Built on Microsoft Dynamics, Peppermint Technology’s cloud platform is uniquely placed to address the needs of law firms today. “From the client’s perspective, having a firm that runs securely in the cloud on an industry-standard platform that they recognise will deliver competitive advantages,” says Mr Cox.

“Peppermint customers can securely use the service from anywhere using any compatible device, including tablets and mobile phones. Our Peppermint Business Development solution allows firms to engage digitally with clients and service partners, and enables levels of customer experience and end-to-end process automation that simply cannot be accomplished with older technology.”

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