Is it time for law firms to seriously consider digitising their print rooms?
Given the pivotal role documents play in every legal matter, print rooms are now a crucial cog within every law firm. The only problem is, as so often happens with the things we use most often, firms may have started to take the print room for granted.
It’s easy to see how print can be forgotten as more and more technologies vie for the attention of the partners. The website, the CRM and case management systems, automated answering and chat-bots all look sexier. They’re front of house, they’re always being talked about and, more importantly, they’re what will be seen/felt/enjoyed by clients. As a result many print rooms have just been left. They work – albeit using hugely outmoded manual processes and probably far too many man hours – so why bother upgrading or updating them?
However, the truth is that digitising your print can create almost instant value for your firm not to mention increase performance, lower costs and enhance the service you’re providing for your clients. It could even become a commercial asset, something you can offer to your clients to use to create an additional revenue stream.
The only problem is surely digitising you print room will become yet another expensive IT project the cost of which will, at some point, will have to be borne by the partners so why should you put yourself through that particular pain?
The good news is that as print digitisation is growing in popularity, much of the hard work has already been done.
A range of all-in-one software solutions already exist; you just need to pick which works best for you. Once that software’s in place all your fee earners will have to do is submit their print jobs online (irrespective of which office they’re working from, if they’re working offsite or on secondment or what time of day it is) The software will then authorise the project, schedule it and assign it to the most convenient printer so all the solicitor has to do is collect their order.
And imagine that request could come straight from your Case Management system. Not only will it increase your overall print efficiencies, it will also reduce the time it currently takes to turn drafts into physical documents. You could also even give your clients instant access to the contacts and other documents you need them to sign by including them in your network.
And there are other key benefits to consider:
1. Higher quality
Replacing your current hardware with digital print will improve the quality of your print. While admittedly this will make little difference to your contracts and legal documents, it could make a massive difference to your pitches, marketing material and business development collateral. If that bump in quality led to one more pitch being won or one more opportunity being converted, your decision to digitise could well have just paid for itself.
2. Potential cost savings
With better in-house capabilities you may be able to save the costs of outsourcing certain print requirements which again could present a significant saving for the firm over a financial year.
3. Less potential for human error
Mistakes can happen if your support staff are having to balance a high demand for output with the task of keeping all of the associated admin up to date. A digital process will manage all of these tasks automatically, increase the efficiency and reliability of your print process and, by extension, improve the level of service you deliver for your clients.
4. Greater security
And most importantly given the current demands on the legal industry to ramp up document and data security, switching to a digital print infrastructure increases will help massively. Not only will any software you implement meet the latest security standards, the fact paper will no longer need to be left lying around or pass through a succession of hands will also provide your clients with an additional level of security, a powerful message you could even use to pursue prospective clients.
Given the benefits digitising your print room offers a law firm, we feel that as the concept grows in popularity it’ll lead to some prominent partnerships being established between the manufacturers of print hardware and the tech companies working hard to make our office technology better connected, more communicative and more intuitive.
One only has to look at Konica Minolta’s new partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and several other technology vendors to create its Workplace Hub Pro platform to see this anticipated drive towards more creative strategic partnerships is not as far off as you may think. As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of print hardware, we are already looking at the different partners we could work with to add even more value to our clients in the legal sector.