The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) has published the results of its 2020 annual tech survey, in which there has been an unsurprising, COVID induced or accelerated flight to online collaboration tools and Microsoft 365.

Some of the big trends this year include:

  • Zoom and Teams have taken the world by storm.
  • There is a marked jump in firms embracing Office 365 and Exchange Online.
  • DMS: The number of law firms planning an upgrade doubled from 15-30%. The vast majority of those who say they plan to migrate in the next 12 months said they will select iManage. However, NetDocuments says that comes down in large part to the survey demographic.

Asked what the top three technology issues or annoyances are within the firm, the top one (and growing) was (you could have predicted it) change, and users’ acceptance (or lack of) change.

Video conferencing

There are clear and predictable winners here. In 2017, 5% of respondents said they use Zoom for video conferencing and this year that figure was 71%. Microsoft Teams has seen a massive jump from 12% to 48%. Cisco is up from 24% to 30%.

In the executive summary, Todd Corham, CIO at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr and James Colley, manager of security compliance at Dykema Gossett, say: “Some apps are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them, (apologies to Churchill again!) and Zoom was well positioned to take advantage of the business imperative. Just as remarkable is the rise of Microsoft Teams. Across all firm sizes, Teams is being embraced as much for its collaboration features as for its promise (as a multi-faceted tool that could prove to become a firm’s Unified Communications solution.) Figuring out the information governance implications will be a heavy lift, but for many firms, the benefits outweigh the risks when so much is being asked of so many. (Not Winston, but it sounds like him.)”

Office Applications

In 2020, 60% of respondents say that they expect Microsoft 365 Business to be their primary office application 12 months from now.

To give you an example of anticipated growth, among firms of 700+ attorneys, 6% said they currently use Microsoft 365 or Exchange Online. Asked which email do they expect to be on in 12 months’ time, that figure jumps to 55%.

Document management

The number of law firms planning an upgrade doubled from 15-30%. Both iManage and NetDocuments have seen an increase this year – iManage from 53-54% and NetDocuments from 15-18%. However, asked which DMS/ECM your firm plans to upgrade or migrate to within the next 12 months 64% said iManage and 7% said NetDocuments. 14% said ‘other’ and 13% ‘to be determined’, and 1% ‘not applicable.’

The results may in part be explained by the survey demographic: it had 469 respondents, 307 under 150 lawyers. 67% of those said that they will stay on premises or in a data center.

These are just a few of the many findings in the report. To purchase the survey in full click here