Don’t forget the day job: Is transformation holding your users back?

Don’t forget the day job: Is transformation holding your users back?

If you speak to any law firm IT department about what is on top of their to-do list right now, you can almost guarantee that it will involve a long list of projects around upgrading their document management system; moving their data to the cloud; achieving a Cyber Essentials certification; or any variant of the above.

There is no question that these big picture projects are essential to help firms modernise and take advantage of functionality that in many cases will only be available in the cloud. With one big caveat. In amidst the noise of digitisation and innovation, ensuring that users are able to undertake what should be the simplest of tasks is being forgotten.

A Tidal Wave of Change

Technology by its nature is always changing, and anyone who has worked in the legal sector for a long time will attest to the fact that ‘change’ per se, is not new. What is new, is that we are now facing fairly seismic change, with IT departments overrun with demands from the business to provide the latest generative AI solution, while having to undertake complex, and in many cases long overdue, infrastructure upgrades.

All of this is set against a backdrop of economic volatility – and in some cases budget cuts – as well as the lingering effects of Covid-19, particularly the need to facilitate long term hybrid working. Is it any wonder that IT teams attest to being completely overwhelmed by their day job?

The more important question, however, is whether the users – who, after all, this technology is there to benefit – can do their day job. And the answer is that they often can’t.

Too often, law firm users are battling with basic tasks, such as editing PDFs, redacting documents, or formatting documents in Microsoft Word. Ask your users how they are redacting documents, and it is quite likely that you will find there are people who are printing documents off, redacting them manually, and scanning them back in. This is a monumental waste of time which, played out across an organisation, represents hours of time that could be better spent. With fee-earners increasingly undertaking this work themselves, it also represents hours of unrecoverable time and lost billable hours.

Digital Strategies – Putting the User First

In McKinsey’s State of Organisations 2023 report, one of the 10 shifts that organisations are identified as grappling with is that they often announce technological or digital strategies without having the right capabilities to integrate them. For an organisation to perform better than their competitors, they need to identify work that is integral to their output and create an ‘institutional capability’ around it that includes people, process, and technology. McKinsey says:

“When well produced, such capabilities become a lasting edge, leading to consistent outperformance and growth in competitive advantage over time.”

For law firms, ensuring that users are able to deliver their work product quickly and effectively should be treated as an institutional capability, with the right resources, technology and workflow dedicated to it.

One example of this is that any cloud migration project needs to build in an assessment of how the user experience is impacted. While there are many advantages in moving to the cloud, often the cloud version of an application is quite different to the desktop. Users can find it slow and unfamiliar, and there may be favourite features that are no longer available. It is important to know who in an organisation is engaging with users on this, and what processes are in place to decide what users experience of the cloud should be.

Users’ needs have to come first in any cloud implementation strategy to ensure adoption and efficiency. Legal professionals aren’t ‘stupid’ if they don’t understand technology, it just means that the technology, and dare we say the organisation, has not done its job.


Change is only good when the reasons for doing it remain at the forefront of decision-making, and the end user doesn’t get left behind.

You can have all the cutting-edge technology you like, but if the people creating your work product don’t know how to use it in their day-to-day lives, then that represents an institutional failure. With a shift in focus, this can very easily be flipped on its head to become a competitive advantage.

Get in touch

If you’d like to chat to us about how our technology can make a difference to your firm, or would like to join our mailing list for our blogs or events, then please get in touch.

The transformative power of technology

The transformative power of technology


Rob Simcock, commercial director of legal software firm Kutana looks at how technology is transforming our lives and working practices.

We’ve all seen how technology can transform what we do, and how we do it. From shopping, to listening to music, to monitoring our exercise regimes, tech has had, and continues to have, a transformational impact.

Some have claimed that the legal sector has yet to see the kind of disruption and innovation that others like banking and accountancy have. In their book ‘The future of the professions’ published this year, authors Richard and Daniel Susskind go so far as to claim that law firms’ working practices “have not changed much since the time of Charles Dickens”.

Now that’s an extreme view, but it does beg the questions: ‘how fit is your business for the 21st Century?’ and ‘are you empowering you workforce with the right tools?’

For any business an effective IT solution is an essential tool for productivity and cost efficiency. Many firms allocate large budgets to internal IT departments to ensure systems run smoothly, but are they getting bang for their buck?

Some new entrants to the legal market like Fairpoint Group – which in the last three years has acquired prominent consumer legal firms including Simpson Millar and Colemans – have driven the innovation agenda by bringing process to professional service.

It’s no coincidence that Fairpoint’s chief executive Chris Moat was at Direct Line when it started to shake-up the insurance sector, and much of what he’s done with Fairpoint’s legal services arm has been around offering a fixed cost service to customers underpinned by an highly efficient, paperless working environment supported by extensive use of IT and workflow management tools.

While Fairpoint has focused on the process of undertaking volume work in consumer law, such a tactic won’t necessarily be applicable to commercial firms dealing with bespoke or complex matters.

There has to be other ways of optimising efficiency.

One way could be to look at operational functions such as print.

Historically, legal firms have been huge users of paper – by their nature even some of the most basic contracts can be very word-heavy. Therefore having a good print management system in place is essential, particularly if you’re a firm handling large volumes of paperwork.

Printing is one of the most basic but overlooked processes for legal businesses. Without an effective management system in place it can be one of the most costly and inefficient processes.

Simple procedures like emailing a client a bill on the correct stationery can quickly become costly and time consuming if electronic stationery is not integrated into IT systems.

It means users have to send the bill to print, scan it back into the system and send it to the client in an email. This not only takes time, and can lead to other problems in the process, but it costs money.

Properly implemented the right print management software can save organisations significant time and money.

Law firm leaders should constantly have plans in place to make print management as cost effective as possible.

Due to time pressures sadly, some IT departments frequently overlook processes and developments that could make their firms more efficient. They fall into a mind-set that something is done a certain way, just because that is how it has always been done, and don’t look for a better solution.

Firms that allow such complacency to reign supreme risk being overtaken by forward thinking rivals who understand the importance of streamlining simple processes to make them more time efficient and cost effective.

At Kutana we are passionate about productivity and are on mission to understand ‘pain points’ for law firms. We’ve used our experience to develop cost saving software, called Kappris, that makes processes and print management as effective as possible. It’s one that has been adopted by firms such as DWF, Taylor Wessing and BLM, so if you want to find out more, please contact us or call 0330 202 0971.

Get in touch

If you’d like to chat to us about how our technology can make a difference to your firm, or would like to join our mailing list for our blogs or events, then please get in touch.