Key considerations for the implementation of new technology
This article has been written by Pippa Shepherd who is the Head of Customer Engagement at Arken.legal (UK) Ltd and a board member of the UKLTA. Pippa joined Arken in 2018 to lead the sales, marketing and customer success functions.
The implementation of any technology can be daunting. However, as we have seen with COVID-19 especially, it is a great enabler and promotes efficiency, profitability and even job satisfaction to those staff appropriately trained and using it well. It should disrupt the workplace as that is what technology is designed to do and therefore will require change management and leadership to see its appropriate and most effective implementation. Even if you’re already implementing technology in your business, keep reading as it’s important to ask the below questions of your provider/s.
To consider prior to implementation
The most important element to consider when acquiring new software is to have a clear objective – what is the problem you are trying to solve or how will the technology make your life easier – why are you doing it?
Technology can assist in many ways – for example:
- Automation of repetitive tasks like document generation
- Reduction in re-keying data
- Ensuring consistency of production
- Speeding up the process to free up time for more added-value activities
- Communication across teams
- A single view of client interactions
- Management of risk
- Process improvement and management
- Using the right resource for the right task
- Attracting a new client base
- Changing the way you interact with clients
- Fighting off new entrants to a marketplace/disrupting a marketplace
In summary, have a clear idea of why you need and want this technology – it will help in communication to staff and managing the change.
Key considerations when choosing a technology partner
Here are some key considerations for when looking at a solution. Do your due diligence but also if you have done this correctly, then you can make a decision confidently and more swiftly.
Security of your clients’ sensitive data is uppermost in the era we live in – with cyber crime being so prevalent – it is extremely important when choosing a provider that you look at how seriously they take security. Do they have regular penetration testing of their solution to ensure they are using the latest thinking in cyber protection? Cloud-based solutions are the most secure way of protecting data – it is much harder for a hacker to infiltrate a huge supplier of cloud solutions then it is to access your data through less secure access to your office-based equipment and software. And yet 93.3% of enterprises keep their mission-critical workloads in on-premises infrastructure (IDC). Ask your potential providers who they use for cloud services. There are many out there that cost just a few pounds a month but don’t offer the same level of security. Don’t be shy at asking how much they spend on servers or who they use. Ask if data is encrypted during transfer, what protocols they have for back-ups of data? Where is your data stored? In the UK or further afield? Do they have any accreditations or external recognition?
- Data protection
In addition to the point above, how is the provider registered with the Information Data Commissioner? Is it registered for Data Protection? Who is the processor, who is the owner of the data? Has it had any GDPR breaches?
In technology there are always companies popping up but then closing very quickly. Ask how long they have been around. Can you check their credit history? Check on Companies House how long they have been incorporated. What do their accounts say? Are they financially secure and growing? How many staff do they have? Are they reliant on a small development team?
Investing in technology can be very expensive. Software as a Service (SaaS) is a modern way of providers effectively renting you the software instead of charging you hundreds and thousands of pounds to develop a bespoke solution. You pay a small regular cost and the security, updating of the solution and hosting etc lies with the technology provider. Look for solutions that you can implement quickly but ask about onboarding – how will your users familiarise themselves with the technology? Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from investing in technology and think about the return on investment you would like to see from the solution – how will you measure the ROI once it is implemented? How will you invest the saved time? Have a clear plan of the value you want and how you can achieve it.
Ask what support is available. Do you have to pay for support? Is there ongoing support you can benefit from? Can you speak to someone or do you need to wait 24, 48 hours to get an email reply? It is important that help is available to effectively introduce the new solution but for continual professional development of the individual also.
These are 5 of my 10 key areas to consider, which I cover in full in my whitepaper, alongside potential downfalls to bear in mind such as poor change management and lack of communication, my top 5 tips for a good implementation of new technology, as well as implementation success – from establishing an onboarding plan to appointing super users.