According to one recent study, most law firms spend roughly 70% of their IT budget for the year on system maintenance. Only the remaining 30% ends up being spend on acquiring new technology. This means for most firms, the majority of their resources are essentially spent “spinning their wheels,” so to speak, instead of on embracing new technology to help drive their business forward.
This simple idea underlines the reason why MSPs, or Managed Service Providers, are becoming so important in the legal profession in particular. However, it’s important to know that when it comes to technology, there is no “one size fits all” solution that will work for every law firm in existence. Only by carefully examining your options will you be able to determine whether or not you’re ready to make the switch.
Managed Services Providers: What You Need to Know
When a law firm partners with a managed services provider, their relationship with technology changes almost immediately. SaaS, or “Software-as-a-Service”, is the idea that software is accessed via a web-native application that is no longer installed on a computer’s hard drive. Instead, everything is accessed via the Internet. Law firms no longer have to devote huge financial resources to buying individual licenses for all of the latest applications they need – they pay one time for access and that’s it. Everything from updating to the latest version of a program to creating access for additional users is handled remotely and automatically by the MSP.
HaaS, or “Hardware-as-a-Service”, is largely the same idea, although it extends things beyond the realm of software and into hardware itself. Does your firm need to add storage to account for the 10 new employees you just hired? It happens automatically – you don’t even have to think about sending your IT team out to the store to pick up new physical drives. Everything is infinitely scalable, allowing you to add or remove resources as necessary by your situation.
Essentially, what this means is that law firms are no longer devoting the majority of their IT budgets to “spinning their wheels” as they had been in the past. Firms are no longer spending huge amounts of money on administrative tasks like fixing problems, upgrading and maintaining existing systems – this is all handled by the managed services provider. Instead, firms can devote a much larger portion of their budget to making the types of strategic technological investments they need to give themselves a competitive advantage in an admittedly crowded marketplace.
In the End
For many law firms, the biggest obstacle to overcome when it comes to managed services will be one of control. There are firms out there who may not like the fact that they no longer own the resources they use and are instead paying simply for access. They may also not be able to contend with the fact that their data is no longer being housed internally and a certain degree of trust must be given to an MSP by the very nature of this agreement.
However, in terms of the benefits like the immediate cost savings, the access to the latest technology and the convenience at which these systems can be maintained, most law firms will soon realize that they stand to benefit a great deal by embracing the concept of the managed services provider with open arms.
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