What is business productivity?
Concerns about productivity are certainly not new. We manage personal productivity every day. Worries about the tasks to be done and how to maximize our time are ongoing. This “to do list” may be written, mental or a combination. Some activities are planned, and others arise in the moment. However, the “to do list” will always exist as it is never ending based on multiple variables.
In business productivity these concepts are equally true and are at the heart of strategic, tactical and operation plans. Consideration to maximize utilization of time and workforce resources weighed against the workload to gain high levels of efficiency and effectiveness are what makes a business run best. Much research and many business techniques exist to manage and improve productivity. At a very high level, running your law firm is an invisible system of elements coming together. Let’s focus on the relationship between people, process, and technology.
Law Firm challenges and optimism
According to Thomson Reuters 2022 Reports on State of: The Legal Market (US), Midsize Legal Market (US), and US Small Law Firms, growth for legal services has increased since the pandemic. That’s the good news! Can your legal practice scale and keep up without stress and burn out of your team?
Attracting and retaining required talent is one of the key challenges for law firms according the 2022 reports. Notably throughout the reports is that salary alone does not ensure retention. Thomson Reuters stated, “…by leveraging their firms as being a desirable place for attorneys to work, even if the pay scale is less than at larger firms. The strategy paid off, and attorney attrition in midsize firms was less than in other sectors, demonstrating that, at least for some lawyers, a good working environment is about more than just money”.
Optimized technology enabled processes are one key contributor to improve the work environment. Your preferred legal practice and case management software, reliable, secure cloud technologies, plus added automation decreases manual toil and increases employee satisfaction. Time saved on daily tasks ensure higher levels of client care for increased customer experience. Automation for communication, shared file access, billing, payments, scheduling are a few areas to consider and integrate.
Processes are invisible mini business systems contained within an organization. Every department or aspect of work within your business fits into one or more processes. Each process has an objective, activities, and procedures to be followed to achieve its results. Each process requires inputs to performs its work to produce its outputs. Processes should be consistent, repeatable, managed, and improved. Which means they should be optimized for efficiency and effectiveness ongoing.
Law firms benefit when needed client information, case information, research, documents, status, emails, scheduling, billing flow into each process seamlessly. Less administrative overhead and more attorney time spent on client care matters. Attorney satisfaction increases when helping clients who rely on and benefit from their expertise. Attorneys need to reduce stress and focus on what they enjoy most – applying their area of legal expertise to help those who need it. That’s a positive work environment!
Did you know, the average small firm attorney spends only 56% of their time practicing law according to the 2022 reports (Thomson Reuters)?
Some common business processes might be related to acquiring/onboarding new clients, marketing, finance, customer service, legal service delivery, and more. A few examples of activities and procedures may be scheduling, meetings, producing payroll, processing payments, research, case preparation, courtroom appearances, processing documents, updating a website, communicating with customers, and all aspects of provisioning a service. One or more activities and processes may interrelate and share various inputs and outputs making business productivity an intricate and complex web to understand.
The objective of multiple processes working together for valued outcomes is important, not just the individual processes and getting the tasks done. Leveraging lean thinking and value stream mapping techniques assists to identify which processes to improve first and where to best apply automation. Identifying and managing processes is at the heart of running a successful business. Process engineering enables your firm to bring the invisible to a tangible level of understanding. Workflows within processes are carried out either by your people or other resources such as technologies.
Simplify and automate
Automation is the use of technologies to enable business work. Often internet, network, databases, servers, computers, configurations, software products, coded scripts and cloud are involved. The key to the right solution depends on the business model and processes.
In other words, begin with the end business needs (the point of value) in mind then analyze workflows, to next identify the right technologies for the right reason for optimal success. Start with a value stream of processes to understand what needs to be accomplished. Analyze the processes to identify unnecessary work or delays (waste), then automate. This means doing the same work that needs to be done in less time, with less human error, while achieving intended results.
By identifying what to automate, people’s time frees up to maximize their productivity. The people in your business can then be leveraged to innovate, analyze, plan, and improve some more. Further, people are necessary to build and maintain relationships, engage with customers, and make decisions.
The bottom line
When a business invests in technologies, the focus must be on their business goals first and what problems need to be solved sooner than later. What are your challenges and concerns? Where and how should productivity be improved? Ultimately, decreased time and effective resource allocation means money saved! Therefore, a very high return on investment especially with the positive effect on employees and clients. This only makes sense.
Employees and clients both, expect the best possible experience with your law firm. Happy employees are more motivated to stay and contribute to your success. Today, clients expect modernized convenient ways of working with you. They also appreciate the personal touch from your attorneys and support teams when and where it is essential.
Liberate your workforce from the mundane to increase quality time with your clients and grow your business. Your firm’s reputation depends on employee and client interactions. Remain competitive with the trifecta of people, process, and technology in mind. Elevate your legal practice to its highest levels of success!
AKAVEIL Technologies, Inc. is a U.S. based IT service provider whose customer centric culture engages with your team to ensure best of class service quality and alignment. AKAVEIL offers law firm modernization with your strategic purpose in mind, from legacy technologies to the cloud and beyond. You stay focused on running your law practice while AKAVEIL ensures your business technologies are running seamlessly with reliability, security, compliance, and impeccable support response times to enhance your competitive advantage. Contact us today for a free technology assessment and build a lasting relationship with a technology partner who cares.