By: Josh Anstey, Elcom
When your law firm’s success is dependent on the efficiency of your staff, any friction in supplying the right information to the right people (at the right time) can stifle your performance and reduce your profits.
Building an effective digital workplace with technology such as a company intranet plays a key role in enabling staff to get their jobs done faster and more accurately.
This article highlights the 5 biggest productivity boosting functions offered by digital workplace technologies.
1. Information is in one place
An intranet provides access to case files, contacts, calendars and other information commonly referenced, all from one platform. This makes it easy for staff to find information quickly and get back to high value tasks.
An intranet’s homepage collates and presents this information in a user-friendly and organised way. Staff can see snippets of company news, quick links to open a new case, access to register for upcoming training events and more. Some intranets will also personalise what staff see based on their team, department or location; putting all the latest and most important information front and centre.
2. Searching is simple
Timely access to information is critical to providing efficient service and increasing billable hours for staff. There’s nothing worse than losing staff productivity because they spend too much valuable time locating the right information.
The search function on an intranet will make it easier for staff to find the latest version of a document or any other file, to do their job from any location, and allow even your new or temporary staff to navigate your systems quickly and easily. A great search function on an intranet will also pull in results from other websites, RSS feeds or documents residing in external file servers.
3. Everyone’s specialities and experience is on show
An effective intranet allows staff to access advice from experienced practitioners without any friction. Rather than spending valuable time asking around the office or sending mass emails looking for the right person to provide assistance, intranets include a full directory of everyone’s expertise and experience in an easily accessible place. Furthermore, you can add in information on anyone the firm is in contact with, including external consultants and barristers. This way the person with the best knowledge on a matter can be found quickly.
4. Repetitive tasks are automated
In law firms, as with other businesses, there are several repetitive tasks performed by staff every day. For example, forms are completed for everything from annual leave to new matters. Using online forms not only minimises the risk of inaccurate manual data entry, it accelerates the process of gathering and disseminating information.
When teamed with automated workflows, these intranet features can significantly increase productivity. Once a form is filled out it will send form responses to managers, administrators and other users, depending on the form answers or the profile of the person who submitted the response. These forms can then be approved or rejected via the intranet or email.
5. An integrated solution (from a user standpoint)
Many firms have embraced technology in their workplace. However, staff are often frustrated by complex or confusing systems that don’t integrate with each other. Often staff have to enter the same information more than once or they find it difficult to determine which system has the information they need. This is of course a waste of valuable time.
An intranet performs the function of several standalone tools from document management and online forms, to collaboration and corporate directories. A good intranet will also integrate to existing business systems such as iManage and LexisNexis.
It is clear that technology solutions such as an intranet is a key supporting tool. Using an intranet as the basis of creating a thriving digital workplace that empowers staff to do their work effectively and efficiently clearly pays dividends – because a productive team is a profitable team.
Josh Anstey, Cutomer Solutions Director, Elcom