It Starts With Document Management

Take a moment to consider: Is your law firm collaborative, productive and efficient? The benefits of document collaboration can’t be overstated. Collaboration means efficient integration of all resources in a seamless way that includes people, knowledge, and information with an eye toward satisfied clients and increased profits.

Document management software provides the organizational and collaboration tools required to access the same information, at the same time, with real-time updates.

The advantages of a digital collaboration solution…

Law firms are buried under mountains of letters, photos, contracts, briefs, discovery and other documents. Without a document management solution, managing all of this information effectively is difficult, if not impossible. 

A document management solution provides a means for effective collaboration. The best collaboration solutions seamlessly unifies and integrates information to provide high-quality outcomes for complex issues, benefiting not just the firm, but individual lawyers. Let’s look at some of these benefits:

  • Security – Document security is of utmost importance to both a law firm and its clients. If you do not have a  secure document management system, it is a dangerous privacy risk. In addition, you’ll be able to see a complete audit trail–who collaborated on a document, who made revisions and when, etc. in the document’s complete lifecycle.
  • Version control – When you have teams collaborating on a document individually, it’s difficult to tell who did what when and which is the final approved version. With digital document collaboration within a document management system, it’s crystal clear.
  • Remote access – People are increasingly working from home, which makes paper completely impractical. A digital solution provides secure, controlled access to documents any time, anywhere.
  • Everyone can work on the same document at the same time – Whether remotely or in the office, digital document collaboration means everyone can access the same document at the same time and make revisions in real-time. 

And what’s wrong with the way you’re doing it now 

Far too many law firms are “old school.” Multiple contributors get a copy of a document, each person makes their comments in the way that suits them – handwritten, track changes, typed – and someone then reviews the changes and compiles them into a single document, hoping they haven’t missed anything. Then the whole process begins again. 

This presents far too many opportunities for disaster:

  • Document assembly problems – What goes in what order? Who knows?
  • Version control – Did Lawyer A see this version or the previous one? Which is correct?
  • Lack of document history – Do you know who made that comment? When?
  • Routing issues – Lawyer B is working from home today. Let’s send a courier.

It’s time to graduate to a real collaboration solution.

Real document collaboration begins with a document management system

It’s time for your law firm to get serious about document collaboration. The risks of doing things the way they always have been done are too great. The bottom line? You’re losing efficiency and productivity as well as taking security risks. A robust document system provides improved document and approval flow, as well as:

  • An audit trail and complete version control – See, in real time, who looked at a document, what changes they made and who it went to next. No more guessing who saw what and which is the final version.
  • Optical Character Recognition – This technology recognizes text in a digital image, and is commonly used to recognize text in scanned documents and images. In this way, boxes of paper can be scanned and available to everyone. 
  • Easy data retrieval – Need data to make a budget, find out total client billables or which clients are a losing proposition? A document management system makes it easy to search for and find the data you need to make informed decisions about clients.
  • Backup – You can’t really backup paper. Well, you can make a copy, but it will still be vulnerable to things like fire, water, spilled coffee and that nosy person who just loves combing through the file cabinets. Which brings us to the subject of…
  • Security – Paper documents just aren’t secure. Period. Anyone can read them, anyone can copy them, anyone can take them, anyone can lose them. A document management system means your digital documents are secure because access can be limited and tracked. 

Are you still scanning and filing documents in folders on your desktop or a server? You’ve probably noticed that it gets really messy quickly because of a lack of version control and no document security. An audit trail becomes impossible. 

The need for a document management solution that provides the ultimate in document collaboration is obvious. 

Tips for implementing your document collaboration solution

Picking the right tools for your document management and collaboration solution is paramount. Make sure it offers the following features:

  • A place to make comments and suggestions to allow people to make suggestions about changes without altering the document.
  • A chat feature so you can talk live with fellow collaborators. 
  • Import and export compatibility with existing software
  • The ability to see revision history
  • Multiple device support to make sure remote workers can access your system on their smartphone or tablet as well as a desktop or laptop computer

It’s also important to look beyond the technology to the people who are using it.

Often, the most difficult part of implementing new tools is resistance from both lawyers and staff. Pointing out the productivity and revenue benefits is great, but you can’t forget that it isn’t just documents and process, it’s people. 

  • Get buy-in from everyone
  • Anticipate there will be resistance and communicate why the changes are necessary
  • Provide adequate training        

By making sure your people are aligned with the processes and technologies, you increase the likelihood of successful implementation and adoption of your new document management solution.
At Vertex, we’re customer-focused and dedicated to transforming your IT into an asset. Our core values enable us to implement continuous improvement to our methods, knowledge and training to keep us ahead of the ever-evolving technology industry.  Contact us today for your free assessment and we’ll devise a plan that fills the unique needs of your law firm.