How law firms can get buy-in when modernising their IT

by | Aug 19, 2020 | Blog, Business Transformation, Digital Technology

We’ve all heard the age-old cliché ‘you’re only as strong as your weakest link’ – and the statement rings true in many scenarios. But it can also be applied to the process of introducing your firm to new workplace technology or IT systems.

To reap the benefits of modern technology, you’ll first need to get your whole team on board.

In this article, we’ll discuss why a modern infrastructure is critical, before giving advice on employee adoption and team buy in. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

Why is modernising your IT systems important?

Introducing innovative technology into your firm benefits your overall productivity levels, as well as your decision-making processes.

Machine learning and automation, for instance, will enable employees to focus on high-value areas of work instead of time-consuming repetitive tasks. Data collection, on the other hand, allows you to better listen to your data and become more agile, responsive and competitive. And intuitive cloud-based applications, such as the Microsoft 365 suite, encourage effective team collaboration.

Here are some additional statistics worth considering:

  • 17 percent of employees spend less time on manual tasks when given access to applications
  • A digital workplace increases team collaboration by 58 percent, which is significantly higher than a traditional workplace (9 percent)
  • In addition, a digital workplace increases decision making by 62 percent (compared to 8 percent for traditional workplaces)
  • Technologically-empowered employees are five times more likely to report productive gains as well as higher job satisfaction rates

It sounds promising, doesn’t it? But, before you can reap the benefits, you’ll need to get your team on your side.

Without your team, new technology is useless

Don’t expect your employees to take digital disruption or technological changes lightly. It’s important you first walk them through the changes and get them to buy into the process.

Ultimately, team buy-in will enable the roll out of new systems and software to run as smoothly as possible. It will also allow your firm to:

  • Manage expectations
  • Encourage your employees to see the benefits of their roles
  • Empower your organisation to reap the full potential of technology.

Without complete adoption, a new infrastructure could be a wasted investment. In essence, you are as weak as the team member with the most resistance to change and least understanding of the new IT infrastructure.

Before you can target the problem, you’ll need to get in your employee’s shoes and understand their resistance.

Why are employees resistant to change?

Most employees will understand that a modern workplace relies on modern technology to function to its optimum level. They may even understand that this encompasses hardware, moving from out-dated on-premise servers to intuitive, cloud-based software that enables automation.

Although they may understand the reasons for modernising, they may not necessarily be thrilled about learning to use the new technology. Why?

Because it requires change and we as human beings are creatures of habit. This resistance can manifest itself in several ways from individuals expressing uncertainty, perhaps an act of sabotage or even out-and-out rebellion.

But, this fear of change isn’t insurmountable. With the right approach, you canwalk your employees through the digital transformation process and make your modern IT systems work for everyone.

The following seven steps outline how you can work towards changing your work environment and encourage buy-in.

1 – Discuss the thorough plan

Communication is key. Present a compelling vision of the technology and the positive changes it’s going to bring to the business.

More than this, practice listening to your less-keen employees. Acknowledge any frustrations with the current infrastructure and, if possible, quantify the time and money it will cost the business (in regards to tasks being repeated, lost work or down time). Alongside this, highlight the benefits that will be experienced by teams and departments. Contextualisation is key at this stage.

Provide as much information as you possibly can and provide any further reading or information points that employees can look at in their own time.

2 – Look to other examples

Some sectors, including the legal sector, are typically averse to change. When it’s an industry-wide expectation, it can be all the more difficult to get team buy-in.

So, look to your competitors for inspiration. Do other firms use cloud-based legal technology, or automated case researching tools? And, what does this modernisation bring to their business?

As an example, Slater and Gordon – a London based law firm – have now made the jump to embrace technology-driven, remote working full time.

‘We don’t want our staff tethered to desks in offices. We trust them to work hard to get the best outcomes for our clients wherever they are. We are a technology driven business and we always knew that having most of our staff working remotely was in our future. It improves the well-being and work life balance of our staff and provides flexibility to our customers. We have been able to accelerate these plans over the last few months.’ –David Whitmore, Chief Executive of Slater and Gordon

If you can find relatable, successful examples of digital transformation at work, your employees will feel more confident in the process.

3 – Encourage team input

Make it a priority to discuss the changes with team members. Capture their thoughts and give them an opportunity to air their concerns. This will provide you with a feel for how the organisation is viewing the change and how receptive they are to it.

Asking your employees for their thoughts and input will make them feel included in the decision-making process and, as a result, more comfortable.

You could encourage input around how the implementation could minimise disruption to workflow, how they would like to be trained and anything they would like to see from the new infrastructure.

4 – Harness the champions

You will need to harness the positivity and excitement from the ‘early adopters’ in the team who are invested in the introduction of modern technology.

Not just tech-savvy individuals, but the people that have a positive disposition and are good communicators. Employees that are influencers to their colleagues are the people that you want to have in your network of champions.

5 – Create a flexible strategy

Don’t chase digital transformation blindly. Work with your IT provider to create a tailored project plan that will streamline the implementation roll out.

This plan should outline the timeline from start to finish, clearly defining the milestones that will be hit at intervals. However, it should also be flexible enough to accommodate any changes in the business that can’t be planned for in advance.

This timeline should provide some stability for your employees.

6 – Incorporate technology into day-to-day life

As soon as it’s viable, incorporate the new technology into the daily routine at your business. As an example, if you now have data tracking technology and run reports frequently – encourage data to be used in decision making processes for finance through to sales and marketing.

Equally, if your firm is using a new cloud-based application or suite of tools, onboard your employees to the platform in small batches. Then, encourage them to experiment with the technology.

Provide opportunities for your team to see the value of technology by sharing best practices, employee experiences and benefits. Using it in such ways validates its benefits for the team.

7 – Emphasise the importance of education and training

Only 44 percent of organisations say they’re ready for digital transformation. Unfortunately, a large number of those businesses also do not implement employee education and training.

But, if you don’t educate your employees, the modernisation of your IT systems may be unfruitful or fail altogether.

Of course, it’s important not to adopt a blanket approach when it comes to staff training. Interest, understanding and eagerness will vary between each member. So, It’s vital to create customised training plans where possible, perhaps starting with group sessions and providing further coaching for those that require it.

Those who are keen to use new technology may want to explore the new systems and processes for themselves. It may even be that they could support colleagues in navigating their way through new technology and create training crib sheets.

Passion can be infectious and leveraging staff members that possess this is a smart decision.

How can Chalkline help?

Modernising your IT systems will boost productivity, help inform your processes, and allow you to stand out amongst the competition. But, as we all know, change is a tough pill to swallow. And you can’t expect all of your employees to adopt new technologies easily.

So, if you’re struggling to get buy-in, reach out to an IT expert who can guide you through the process. As an experienced team, we are well versed in helping businesses through the adoption of new technology and migrating to modern cloud infrastructures.

Our dedicated project management team create meticulous and efficient plans that encompass detailed reporting, risks assessments and regular communication.

What’s more, our friendly team of ‘people’ people are on hand to ensure any implementation goes smoothly and are more than happy to provide team training. This extends to answering questions and providing practical advice, as well as personal tips for using the technology in its most productive way.

If you would like to learn more about and we can help you modernise and digitally transform your business, please get in touch and speak to a member of the team today.

[Editor’s note: this blog has been updated and republished as of August 2020. Enjoy!]

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