A new survey of UK law firms by AIM-listed managed IT services provider Redcentric shows that 74% plan to invest in new technologies to help address business challenges over the next two years, with almost half of these (36%) saying they will make this investment before the end of 2016.

While this survey doesn’t drill down into the key questions over what technology and how much law firms plan to invest, it throws up some interesting stats. When asked about their main business challenges, 35% of legal sector respondents put “the need to improve client experience” at the top of the list. This was closely followed by the need to cut costs (31%).

Some 48% of those polled said they anticipate business growth over the next year. However, 42% said that this growth is hampered by their legacy IT infrastructure –36% because their existing systems are neither agile nor scalable enough to support their future expansion.

“The problem of making legacy systems work for a business entering the digital age is being experienced across almost every industry – but especially those dominated by large, traditional corporations,” the report finds. “Often these systems have a complicated mix of poorly-integrated solutions or single vendor systems that are expensive to manage and cumbersome to change. Typically there’s a lack of integration between front and back office, making it difficult for the business to be as flexible and responsive to clients as they would wish.”

Asked what is driving their investment, 34% said the need for improved agility was a main driver.

Security was another major concern, cited by 34%, who suggested that it will never be off the agenda. Meanwhile, just under one quarter (24%) saw the need for innovation as the main reason to spend. Other drivers were guaranteed availability (23%), reduced IT running costs (22%) and ease of deployment (14%).

Security was also raised as a key concern when it comes to cloud technology, where just under half (49%) said they were “extremely concerned” about the loss of data. Other concerns included the continuity of quality of service (59%). “There is clearly still a lot of work to be done by service providers to illustrate the robust reassurances needed and to prove their capabilities in this area,” the report concludes.

“These results throw up a big question. How can law firms balance the need for new technology with the general economic pressures they currently face? In most typical businesses, 70% of IT budget goes on day-to-day maintenance, so there is little spare for a more strategic investment to transform their business for the better,” says Mark Halpin, new business sales director at Redcentric.

You can read the report here – http://www.redcentricplc.com/media/2499/legal-research-report.pdf