cloud softwareThis is the next post in my manifesto series on why attorneys should switch to all cloud-based software and why G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) is the best choice for doing so. My last article offered an overview of topics this series will be discussing and stressed the fact that you can improve your profit margins by moving most of your software into Google’s online platform. I’m going to use this post to talk about why lawyers and law firms can profit by moving their practice to “the cloud.” I have to say I’m surprised at how many attorneys are still running their practice as if it were 1999. Well, while I do think the 90’s were kind of a cool era, it’s time to move your practice into today’s age. Let’s get to it.

I talk to attorneys all the time who still employ or utilize an “IT guy” and who think it’s normal to have computer problems all the time. With the tools available today there is absolutely no reason to have to run your business like this. While many of the firms I talk to see such situations as “normal,” I see them as extreme money sucking, profit depleting, stress creating, and anxiety causing issues which should be stamped out as if they were a plague of some forgotten era. OK, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but the point is that constantly fighting with your software setup gets in the way of practicing law and that practice is how you make money. The rest of this post will look at 1) why your current software setup is costing you money and 2) why G Suite is the best option for fixing that.

Attorneys cost themselves money by using local software or solutions from multiple vendors

The average attorney is going to sit down at his or her desk this morning and boot up their computer. They’ll open up Outlook to check their email. Then they’ll use Microsoft Office to open up word documents, etc. They then get to open up their case management software to determine what tasks are due. They then may open up a separate billing program to track the time they spend doing all this stuff. Of course this ritual includes dealing with the fact that some of these applications may be experiencing glitches, that the various applications aren’t sharing information with each other in the way that they are supposed to, and that some of these systems sometimes don’t work at all. The final part of this ritual includes downtime where no one can get any work done because things aren’t working, waiting for the IT guy, and then writing the IT guy a check after everything is fixed. This fun routine leaves everyone in the office looking like this:

Man hiding under laptop

and the IT guy looking like this:

Man laughing at computer

The beauty of moving your firm’s software online is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

When you adopt a cloud based IT infrastructure then the problem of downtime goes away. As long as the firm’s internet connection is working then everything in the office is going to work without an issue. You’ll be able to say goodbye to those days of not being able to access the server, your billing software not opening due to some problem, and things otherwise not working. You’ll also save all those checks you write to your IT professional when they have to come save the day. The reason cloud applications have no down time is because all the problems are being taken care of on the back end by the company providing the service. If, for some reason, one of their servers goes down then they simply spool up another one and, from your perspective, there will have never been a problem because this spooling happens instantaneously. In other words, you’ll never have a problem with “downtime,” and all of its associated costs, again.

G Suite is the best choice for attorneys who want to move their practice to “the cloud”

G Suite is Google’s offering for email, calendaring, word processing, contact management, etc. It also handles your document storage. The beauty of this platform is that there are many applications written for the specific purpose of integrating tightly with it. It also eliminates the “bloated” structure brought by a lot of the software which attorneys currently use. I’ll quickly go over a few of the benefits of switching to this platform.

All of the applications offered through G Suite are “lightweight.” By this I mean you’re not going to be using applications with 1,000 different features which only go unutilized. Think of all the times you’ve tried to figure out how to do something in Microsoft Word, or Outlook, and you have to click through a million different menus before eventually asking someone for help. We all know that attorneys aren’t the most tech-savvy bunch. G Suite is perfect for the legal profession because the software options are much more easy to use and, while they include the features an attorney is going to need, they strip away those niche options which go unutilized by the legal profession and most others.

Another beautiful feature of G Suite is that the various applications integrate together much better than the options from Microsoft, Apple, and other companies. This is also true for other applications which are meant to run in conjunction with Google’s offering. In short, this means having to input data fewer times, less time switching between applications, and quicker access to your data. This leads to greater efficiency and increased profits.

The last big point I’ll make is that G Suite runs in your web browser as opposed to running through local software installed on your computer. Gone will be the days where you have Outlook installed on your work computer and you’re using a different email client on your machine at home. Google Drive will make it as if you are simply plugged into the officer server, allowing you to access, edit, and and save your documents, from wherever you are. In other words, using your laptop at home to get some work done will feel the exact same as if you were actually sitting at your desk. This is especially true when you implement the G Suite tools I’ll be discussing for task management, note taking, going paperless, etc.

The above benefits will make your office more efficient and the result will be that you have more money at the end of the day. Interested in making more cash? Move all of your software to the cloud and use G Suite. Are you an attorney not interested in making more money? Then….well…..ok.