When choosing new legal practice management software most switched on law firms start with a unique and carefully thought-through list of system priorities. Does the system include this, does it offer that, can it support this, etc.? However, one box that is often underestimated on this tick-list is the ‘Integration’ question. ‘Is the system fully ‘integrated’?’
When it comes to the “I” word the answer from most technology companies is usually a ‘yes’ and as the box is ticked and the busy law firm execs responsible move on. However, this is probably one of the most important check-boxes on the whole list. There are levels of integration and it is essential the law firm delves into the detail on this one.
Some technology companies in the legal software marketplace are currently marketing ‘bolted-together’ software tools as complete and fully integrated legal practice management systems. However, in reality they are not adequately ‘integrated’ at all and if you don’t clarify what the vendor means by ‘integrated’ you could find your Practice burdened with a clunky system made up of a series of software modules that are entirely disparate from each other.
Whilst vendors may get carried away claiming their ‘bolted-together’ modules are seamlessly integrated, it is wise to ask for more detail beyond their marketing spiel. Some ‘bolt-on’ modules are simply ‘interfaced’ rather than ‘integrated’ and there is a stark difference. Integrated tools utilise a common database in real-time, with minimum file duplication. ‘Interfaced’ software modules, which were generally never expected to work together in the first place, often simply extract and transfer data between programs that are completely separate and sometimes are even on different technology platforms making them difficult to design, test and support.
Of course there is a time and a place for ‘true’ integration and there are certain scenarios where a solid but simple interface is all that is required and a good legal technology partner should be expected to provide both. But when it comes to the main, stalwart modules of your Legal Practice Management System a high level true integration is a MUST HAVE for all law firms.
Joanne Hunter, Head of Marketing for Select Legal Systems Limited said, “We have heard from some incredibly frustrated people at law firms of late who have innocently bought systems they believed to be fully integrated but are not. The difficulties they have with the software itself and the support services, or lack of, have been pretty debilitating. Many firms are having to rely on separate teams of people based around the world for support of what have turned out to be very disparate software modules that were never designed to work together.”
When you choose LAWFUSION you only need one telephone number to reach Select’s team because LAWFUSION is a fully ‘integrated’ legal practice management system in the truest sense of the word. All the main LAWFUSION modules have been written as an integral part of the same suite of software. The dedicated team of legal software experts in Select’s development team sit alongside the company’s dedicated training and support team in the same building. They are one specialist team available to UK law firms for all your software, implementation and support needs.
For a LAWFUSION demonstration please call 01482 567601 during office hours or contact us via our online enquiry form which is available 24/7.