Digital Transformation. That is the latest business buzzword today. The term has a bit of a Star Trek/sci-fi feel to it, right? It might even make a great premise for the next artificial-intelligence-man-versus-robot blockbuster movie. Yet, in business terms it means something immensely more practical.
Defining “Digital Transformation”
Some, like the collective authors at Wikipedia, define “digital transformation” as “the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems.” That is a rather esoteric way to say that businesses are moving business processes over to a digital format.
In very simple terms, digital transformation can be as simple as a company “going paperless,” and can be as complex as a company molding new business operations to capitalize on the worldwide reach of the internet.
Whatever the most helpful definition is for you, what is important to remember is that businesses of all kinds, including law firms, are focusing on digital transformation as a way to make their entities more marketable. And attorney marketing in West Palm Beach, and elsewhere, is vital for your firm to move forward.
How Did Digital Transformation Take Shape?
There is a rather interesting history to the process of digital transformation in which businesses are now engaged. America Online CEO and Board Chairman Steve Case once talked about the three phases of the internet:
- Phase One – This phase was the creation of the physical infrastructure. That included the wiring, computer servers, connectivity channels, and any other elements that allowed the internet to physically exist.
- Phase Two – This phase included the creation of businesses that were created specifically to exist only on the internet. Such businesses include Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Expedia.
- Phase Three – This is the current phase. In this phase, all companies (not just online-specific businesses) enhance their traditional business model to exist and thrive on the internet.
The reason why we have been able to move through those phases is because (i) companies like Google and Microsoft spent, and still spend, billions on computing power that helps everyone connected to the internet; (ii) tremendous amounts of cheap, virtually free, storage space is available to users; (iii) of the mass proliferation of internet-connected devices; and (iv) of the ability for applications to track your devices, which results in a wiring of the entire planet.
How Does Digital Transformation Work in the Legal Industry?
The legal industry is slow to change. As you would expect, law firms have remained remarkably unchanged from 50 years ago, even though the world around us has changed dramatically. It is no surprise that law firms, in general, are late adopters to any kind of change. Financial services, telecommunications, energy, and automotive industries, by contrast have a high early-adoption rate.
So, should digital transformation even make its way into the legal industry? The answer, of course, is a resounding yes. If your clients are financial services, or telecommunications companies, then it only makes sense that you should at least try to keep up with their early-adoption tendencies. Otherwise, your clients will be digitally so far ahead that your firm might fall to the wayside, in exchange for a firm that embraces digitization.
In fact, one great example of how digital transformation has worked rather effectively in the legal realm is in the area of electronic discovery. An industry that is worth more than $60 billion has been created around the area of electronic discovery. Because discovery includes a number of repetitive tasks that could be tedious when done the old-fashioned way, technology is a good answer to make discovery more cost effective and more efficient.
The problem here, however, is that the digital transformation in that legal services area came from the outside, not from new thinking within the law firm market itself. That continuation of companies outside the legal industry forcing digital transformation on the legal market may eventually be problematic, particularly when outside companies lack a full understanding of the legal services function.
What Are Some of the Latest Digital Transformation Trends for Law Firms?
Even though law firms are late adopters to the digital transformation wave currently taking place, there are some hopeful trends that we have seen in 2019. They are as follows:
- Cloud Technology
The cloud has transformed our culture with regard to having everything at our fingertips. Gone are the days of making sure that you bring every document you need to a meeting or court date. We are now in an age where people expect everything to be available to them on any device. That type of access and mobility should be available in the legal world as well.
Indeed, whenever you are in court and need a particular document, there should be no need to fret over leaving it on your desk at the office. Rather, it should be available to you wherever you are.
- Virtual Law Firms
2018 and 2019 has seen the real birth of the “virtual law firm.” With the ability of people to work from wherever they live and easily hold virtual meetings, legal professionals have the flexibility to be a part of a law firm that does not have any address but one online. More and more lawyers are working from home, but still enjoying the ability to be a part of a bigger law firm structure with the virtual law firm.
Given the fact that lawyers as a group tend to have more issues with stress, anxiety, and addiction due to pressure and workload, the work-life balance of the virtual law firm may just lead to a healthier group of legal professionals.
- Social Media
Digital transformation can be seen more prominently in the current use of social media by law firms. In addition to having a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, lawyers and law firms are creating successful YouTube channels, blogs, and even podcasts. Such trends are exciting because it makes all types of legal issues more accessible to non-lawyers, and highlights the kind of important work that lawyers do.
How to Get Help with Your Attorney Marketing in West Palm Beach?
Oamii provides attorney marketing help in West Palm Beach, FL and the surrounding region. We are able to capture the benefits of digital transformation and build that into your attorney marketing in West Palm Beach. For more information please fill out our online contact form, or call us at 561-228-4111 today.