APAC Legal IT News: The Nightmare Before Budgets + Who Cares About Big Data!

We’ve got two lots of research data for you today. The first – looking at law firm IT trends – is from Janders Dean, in conjunction with Phoenix Business Solutions, while the second, looking at law firm and inhouse legal department efficiency, is from LexisNexis.
The 2014 Annual Janders Dean & Phoenix Business Solutions APAC Legal Technology Flash Survey asked law firm technology leaders from across the region to not only describe their current application landscapes and attitudes on future opportunities, but also to identify and comment on the challenges they face in their roles as they strive to provide an efficient and exceptional service day in and day out to the lawyers and the firm’s clients. “Over 200 firms of various sizes were sent the flash survey in 2014, and the results indicate a friction between operational requirements and strategic business desires. Many firms struggle with the balance between keeping the lights on and the lawyers happy in a cost effective and best of breed manner, with a desire (and getting firm approval and budget) to adopt an innovative market leadership approach that recognises and embraces opportunities for changes not just in technology – but most importantly in the way legal services are undertaken and delivered” said Justin North of Janders Dean.
Some high level findings:
· What keeps IT Directors awake at night – 75% said that project prioritisation and budgets
· What keeps their Partners awake at night – 75% believed that the finite legal market was to blame
· If given a limitless budget to spend in an area of recent interest – 30% said Legal Project Management
· Number of respondents who would like to focus on Big Data – 0% (a possible concern given its links with LPM and Process Engineering)
· The Cloud – 35% said they are actively undertaking projects. 27% are monitoring market trends but have no plans in the next two years. 20% actively experimenting with point solutions. 60% said they are still concerned over security.
· Legal Process Engineering – 50% of firms in evaluation stages. 20% have resources already dedicated.
Some additional findings from the survey:
· Document Management Systems: The vast majority (82%) use a industry standard DMS (WorkSite or OpenText), with none are using a cloud/hosted DMS. Of the respondents, over 60% utilise HP Autonomy as their DMS, with only 20% using OpenText. Interestingly, close to 17% claim they are using MS SharePoint, with a small percentage stating that they are using other platforms such as Encompass, LawMaster, or bespoke systems.
· Practice Management Systems: Elite is the clear leader with 50% of the market split between its two platforms, Enterprise and 3E. Aderant Expert comes in a close second place with 45% of respondents indicating that they utilise the platform. Other firms making up the numbers include LawMaster, Envision, and Affinity.
· Document Automation: Firms utilise multiple platforms for this area, and as such, could provide multiple answers for the question. Custom solutions are the clear winner in this space, with 53% of respondents using these. HotDocs follows with 46%, and Exari with 13%. A plethora of other solutions made up the numbers
· Document Editing & Comparison: Close to 60% of respondents utilise WorkShare in this field, with DocsCorp following at 36%. Others in use were standard MS Word solutions, and MicroSystems.
· Contact Management: The clear leader remains InterAction, with 52% of respondents stating that they use this. Microsoft Outlook still remains a solution for the firms who have not made an investment in a stand alone third party product, with 36% stating that they still use this product for contact management. Close to 10% have a custom solution, and only one respondent each for ContactNext and CRM4Legal.
· Enterprise Search: Close to 60% of firms have moved to enterprise search platforms. 36% are using Recommind, and 20% have adopted Autonomy IUS. Only one firm responding stated that it is using FAST.
· Workflow: Native PMS functionality appears to be the most popular choice as Aderant and Elite combine to make-up 47% of responses while IntApp received an equal number of responses for its platform. Metastorm and MS SharePoint tied for third. A large number of smaller products make up the remainder.
· Business Intelligence: Close to 65% of firms are now using SQL Reporting for this. An equal number are using the standard reports generated by their respective PMS. Custom reporting follows on from this as the next heavily used solution.
· Mobile Time: An area of slow growth, with 55% of firms stating that they do not have a solution for this. Of those who do, IntApp is the leader, followed by DTE, with the latter having half the share of IntApp.
· Email Management: Filing, Archiving, and Records Management appear to provide the most significant headache for firms as more than half of all firms cited this as their primary email support challenge. Mailbox size, a related problem, comes in a close second.
· Knowledge Management: Greater than 75% of firms rely on a dedicated library within their document management system to meet their knowledge management needs, with the remainder heading down the MS SharePoint or custom paths.
Our second report is the 2014 LexisNexis Workflow & Productivity whitepaper which details the most and least successful efficiency initiatives adopted by both law firms and in-house lawyers. The whitepaper – you can download it here Legal Profession Efficiency Whitepaper – shows that law firms rated skills training and flexible staff work practices as their third and fourth biggest success stories, after technology and knowledge management while in-house lawyers ranked flexible staff work practices as their most successful initiative, followed by: outsourcing to external lawyers, knowledge management and skills training. Least successful efficiency initiatives for firms were graduate intake reduction and outsourcing to overseas law firms.