Archive for the ‘ROI’ Category
We are pleased to announce the publication of Creating the Successful Law Firm Intranet published by Ark Group in association with KIM Legal. Written by Nina Platt, Laurie Southerton, and Amy Witt, the report is based on the user centric implementation method presented during last year’s webinar series of the same name. It includes chapters that discuss developing a business case, governance, and an in-depth look at the process model the book is based on as well as chapters for each phase of the model – Research, Design, Development, Roll-out, and Measure & Maintenance.
The report also includes case studies of the intranet deployments at Baker Donelson, O’Melveny & Myers, Reed Smith, Tory’s with additional cases studies of firms who are not named. Our thanks to Meredith Williams, (director of knowledge management at Baker Donelson), Tom Baldwin (chief knowledge officer at Reed Smith), Marty Metz (director of information technology at O’Melveny & Myers) and Elizabeth Ellis (partner at Torys) for their willingness to offer their intranets as case studies and work with us on the development of those case studies. We also want to thank Anna Shaw, commissioning editor at Ark Group, for her editorial expertise.
A link to more information about the book is included above. Once there, you will find a link to view the table of contents and executive summary. We will be posting additional information regarding the purchase of the book next week.
Now we can return to creating posts for this blog. Something we haven’t done for some time.
~ Nina Platt
We posted a couple articles on intranets and law firm expenses. While there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of traffic to these posts, many have found them via their web searches for “cut costs intranet” or “intranets cut costs” or the like. The number of our readers that have landed on this site because of those searches indicates to us that there is an interest in using firm intranets to manage expenses. Why is this important to intranet teams? Because they need support from the firm to do their work.
How can expenses be managed better with an intranet? Improvements in support staff productivity allow firms to be very selective when deciding to add new staff, thereby cutting costs. For example, a legal administrative assistant, paralegal, administrative staff, and even lawyers may do the following tasks through out the day:
- Open new matters
- Close old matters
- Send files off site
- Complete and submit personal time sheets
- Fill out expense forms
- Photocopy cases from reporters
- Reserve conference rooms
- Order food for meetings
- Order supplies
- Look for information about firm events, news, etc.
- Send out holiday cards (this is a very time consuming process in even the smallest firms)
- And more…
In most cases each task taken individually represents a small amount of time. Add up the number of times done per day and the number of individuals performing the tasks and the time becomes significant.
For example, if done manually with paper, opening a new matter would take the time to find the form, enter the information, deliver the form to accounting, accounting enters the information into the accounting system, and sends the new matter number back to the individual who started the process.
If all the information needed on the form was easily available, one could estimate that it would take about 20 minutes to get a new matter opened. Firms who have moved the process to a paperless work-flow easily available via the firm’s intranet, should see the process take 5 minutes or less.
Even firms who have made the process paperless using the Windows interface of the accounting system, should see a reduction in the time it takes if they improve the system interface when they put it on the web via their intranet.
Let’s say the process was a manual paper one to start with and it is moved to the intranet. If the firm conservatively adds 500 new matters a year, they would see a savings of 7500 minutes during that year. Dividing 7500 minutes by 60 minutes in an hour equals 125 hours/year. Dividing that total by 8 hours equals 15.6 days/year. Rounded, the total becomes 16 days/year.
16 days may not seem like a significant savings in terms of the time needed to do administrative work but add that to the time saved doing other tasks listed above when made available via the intranet and you are talking about real savings in time that could be used to do the work that no one ever gets to or in money if it reduces the need for additional staff as the firm grows.
Intranets do support a firm’s need to manage expenses but it does one better. In addition to or sometimes instead of cutting costs, firms need to focus on generating more revenue. The next post on The Law Firm Intranet will focus on that topic.
~ Nina Platt
Are you experiencing cutbacks in your intranet budget? Perhaps you want to develop a new resource and are finding that your firm is tightening the purse strings? How do you convince the decision makers that spending money on your firm’s intranet is the right thing to do during tough economic times? If these questions sound familiar, you may find a new free paper from Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF) helpful.
That paper, Twelve Ways to Use Your Intranet to Cut Costs, provides ideas and examples that should answer your questions. What are the twelve ways?
- Build bridges with internal customers – develop relationships with your users
- Research user needs – don’t develop functionality based on what you think your users need
- Implement or expand self-service – make it easier for your users to help themselves
- Target further design, print, and distribution savings – reduce the costs associated with communicating within the firm
- Improve usability – make finding information easier
- Revamp HR content – improve access to this information
- Create content for customer facing staff – help them work with clients
- Create internal help-desk content – make answering IT questions easier to do
- Enhance the employee directory – provide more information about employees online
- Put senior leaders online – improve employee communications
- Leverage online meetings – use technology to reduce travel expense
- Measure savings – prepare to be able to answer questions from management regarding what saving the intranet provides
This is a great report that provides a lot of ideas, examples and statistics. While not directed at law firms, it provides a number of ideas, etc. that law firms can use. A few of the statistics include rules of thumb reported by The Intranet Portal Guide author, David Viney, regarding self-service:
- e-expenses – can reduce processing team costs by 75%
- overtime recording or time-sheeting system – can reduce team costs by 50%
- room-booking system – can remove 100% of the support team looking after this
- e-learning – can close down 50% of your training centres and reduce your in-house trainers by 25 %
- e-finance solutions (e.g. a financial forecasting and budgeting application) – can cut the finance business support team by 10%
- e-procurement solutions – can save 25% of purchase-to-pay processing teams and 10% of professional procurement
- IT support online – can cut 10% of the team costs in levels one, two and three support
Other statistics that may prove useful in building a business case include:
- HR staff spend nearly 80% of every day administering employee benefits and answering questions (2002 Forrester Research Study)
- Employees spend between 30% to 60% of their productive time just searching for information to do their job (Ideas Magazine)
- 21,000 employees wasted an average of six minutes per day due to inconsistent intranet user interface design and navigation (Sun Microsystems internal usability expert’s study)
I’m not advocating mass layoffs as a result of the firm’s intranet but these ideas can improve productivity while reducing the need to add additional staff which also works towards cost savings.
~ Nina Platt