Cloud computing simply isn’t that scary anymore…

Following a recent survey published by Forbes, it is clear that “Cloud Computing simply isn’t that scary any more”.

The survey refers to claims that “a meagre 3% of companies considering Cloud consider it to be too risky.”

It goes on to say “The bottom line is cloud is now just considered the normal way to implement software solutions.”

LawCloud supports this and has seen a consistent rise in the number of law firms in the UK adopting Cloud. It has added a live counter widget to the homepage of its web site showing that it now hosts 83 law firms on its Cloud platform (as at June 2012) and this figure is growing by the week. This is proof that Cloud is a natural way forward for both new starts and existing law firms looking to be Smart and make better use of technology.

The launch of Windows 8 is just around the corner and Microsoft has taken the decision to launch its own tablet device. Whilst the decision from Microsoft to deliver its own hardware for the Windows 8 platform is seen as controversial (in terms of alienating its hardware business partners such as Dell, Acer, HP etc), Microsoft sees this as the way forward and as real a rival to the iPad. You can find out more about their new Microsoft Surface Table here Microsoft Surface Table here or Google Microsoft Surface Tablet to find many up to date news stories relating to its specifications and launch.

Alongside its Security white paper and Law Society Cloud Guidelines response document, LawCloud has now published its Statement of responsibility for security and resilience.

This is supported by 3 new Client Case Studies demonstrating the success of the Cloud and its impact on 3 small law firms.

If you would like to find out more about best practice for law firms adopting Cloud, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at warren@lawware.co.uk

We have gained a wealth of experience over the years and LawCloud is now recognised as one of the foremost suppliers of Cloud based legal software in the UK.

Launch of a UK based compliant online storage system for lawyers

We are pleased to announce the launch of LawSecure, a secure UK based online storage facility, certified and managed by our team at LawCloud.

It is a compliant online storage facility for lawyers in the UK, which works in a similar way to other online storage vehicles such as Dropbox.” It is designed for lawyers who need to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 for storing data and is a fast, secure and reliable way of storing key data off-site.

For further information on LawSecure, please visit our LawCloud website here.

How to set and meet targets: A business briefing for lawyers

Welcome to the April edition of Back to Basics — a Business Briefing for Lawyers. This month the focus is on setting and meeting targets

If you can’t see it, you’ll never hit is—unless it’s a complete fluke! A target is something that you need to focus on and aim for and have in front of you every day.

You can set targets in many areas of your business. Some might be (arguably, must be) financial targets, some may be targets associated with the types of work you do, some might be set to govern the amount of time you spend on doing certain things—and others may be to cease doing certain things. There are many targets you can set and it’s good to set them, providing they do fit in with your overall objectives.

If you need any help in this area, please get in touch with me—I’d be delighted to help.

Brian O’Neill LL.B MBA
Business Consultant
40c Drakemyre
Dalry
North Ayrshire
KA24 5JE
t. 07855 838395

e.   brian@drakemyre.co.uk

Why bother to set targets?

If you can’t see it, you’ll never hit it. I mentioned this in the leader article and think it’s a phrase worth repeating. Isn’t it amazing how solicitors tend to look on sales as a “dirty” word when really what solicitors do every day is sell their personal services. Clients don’t pay you for the bits of paper you produce—they pay you for your skill in a certain area or field. So, every time you speak to a potential client for the first time, remember that what you’re doing is seeking to do business with them—you are selling yourself and your services.

So, I hear you say, what’s all this about targets. Simple really, do you have any? If you don’t, that suggests that you’re rudderless. Do you go to work every day in the hope that something will happen to keep you in business? Do you wait for the phone to ring and for someone to ask you to do something for them? Believe it or not, many solicitors, even in these austere times, do exactly that and still believe that business will simply turn up at their door without them having to do a thing to attract it. Believe me, these days are numbered and, with the advent of Alternative Business Structures, the non-lawyers who become involved in the provision of legal services will make sure that they get their sales messages across. Sales targets are common in the commercial world—there’s no reason they shouldn’t be employed in the legal profession.

Targets are things that keep you focused on your objectives. Every business needs a set of Objectives to strive for. The targets are the steps along the way that help you achieve them. They help you break down the overall Objectives into smaller steps or parts. They help you monitor your progress and to work out whether you’re moving towards or away from your Objectives.

Targets will help you when you set your priorities and work with your daily task lists. If you have targets to work to then it’s more likely that you’ll do something every day that will help you to achieve them.

So, there you have it. Setting targets helps you to focus on your objectives, determine your daily priories, gives you direction, measure your performance and generally avoid wasting endless hours going round and round in circles.

Any target, properly set, will help you to improve your business performance and increase your financial welfare.

Please don’t forget the targets you can set NOT to do something. Do you have a tendency to take on non-profitable work or work with which you are not familiar and which takes you a long time to complete—and with very little return? You might just want to have a target to stop doing this kind of work—and then you can focus on your positive targets and give yourself a better chance of hitting them.

Simon says…..

Setting targets; that sounds a lot like ‘Sales’ doesn’t it? Which is a bit scary so, just for fun, I thought I would search all my previous articles for Back 2 Basics and count the number of times I have used the word ‘target’. The answer is 8. All of the contexts are related to Marketing – targeting services at targeted clients and prospective clients. So obviously Targets can be applied to a few things and some obvious examples are:-

  • A targeted increase in Fee revenue of X value or percent – for the Firm, for the Department, for each Fee Earner.
  • A targeted decrease in Expenditure of X value or percent – for the Firm, for the Department for each Fee Earner.

What about:-

  • A targeted increase in Active Case Files of X number or percent – across the Firm, Department or Fee Earner.
  • A targeted increase in Average Fee of X value or percent – across the Firm, Department, Fee Earner and Work Type.
  • A targeted reduction in Average Days to be Paid – across Firm, Department, Fee Earner or Work Type.
  • A targeted reduction in the Average Days Cases are Open – across Work Type, Department, Fee Earner.
  • A targeted increase in the number of Enquires received.
  • A targeted increase in the number of Enquiries converted into Instructions.
  • A targeted increase in the number of client Newsletters sent out and Articles published on our website.

On a strategic level a firm could target for growth by organic means and/or target for growth by merger & acquisition.

I’ve just found an article on the Internet entitled ‘Top law firms target universities in diversity push’.

Targets can be associated with all sorts of things.

So what do these all have in common?

Yes – they precipitate action. Yes – they are all part of an aim to achieve something. They are a vital component in strategic and business planning. I would add that knowing where you want to be – should be everyone’s target.

I would summarise that Targets are good; they help focus otherwise fanciful wishes into concrete desires and provide a means of measuring performance.

Incidentally, whilst I was searching previous articles I noticed that it was precisely a year ago that Back 2 Basics was entitled Performance Management (April 2011) – well worth another read.

Simon Greig is Sales Manager of LawWare Limited, Edinburgh. Contact Simon at simon@lawware.co.uk

What targets do I need to set?

There are many, many targets that you can set and the important thing is to make sure that whatever targets you set are compatible with the Objectives of the firm.

You will undoubtedly have financial targets—levels of fees per month and profitability targets. How about a target of spending less each month? You could set yourself a target of looking at the expenditure side of your Profit & Loss Account for the month and ask yourself “is there anything I’m spending here that I don’t really need to spend?” Please remember when doing this particular exercise that people have a tendency to spend money on things that they want rather than on things that they actually need—so when you go through your monthly expenditure ask yourself “Do I really need to spend money on this?”. Financial targets should be broken down into measurable chunks—monthly is probably best—but you should have overall annual targets as well so you can track progress as you go through your financial year.

You should have targets for the number of new clients you engage every month, quarter and year. You can do an analysis of where your new clients come from and when you have a successful source of clients, work on increasing the number you are getting from that source.

Look at the types of work you offer to client. Which of your clients engage you to do work in more than one area of law. It is not uncommon for someone for whom you’ve done some residential conveyancing to ask you to prepare a Will—but do you have targets to meet for the number of Wills you prepare where you have a client for whom you’re doing some residential conveyancing work? If you did, it would focus your attention on at least asking the question of the client whether they need to make a Will or want to update one that they already have.

Sit down and think about your business without any interruptions. Do not take any calls—and, for goodness sake, turn Outlook, Instant Messenger, Facebook and whatever other social networking tools you use off so you don’t get distracted by them.

Finally, be realistic, there’s no point in setting targets that are way out of reach. Just as you can with setting Objectives, you should use the SMART principles (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) when setting targets and by doing so, it’s more likely that you will successfully reach them.

If you knew then what you know now …..

Sometimes you find that you’re doing work that isn’t profitable or for which you’re not fully skilled. There is a principle called “zero based thinking” and it goes like this: “If you knew when you started out what you know now, would you have started doing the thing in the first place?” If the answer to that question is no, set your target at getting out of whatever it is as soon as you possibly can. This will give you the opportunity to focus on the things that you can and should be doing without the distraction of doing things that are not making you money or for which you are not suited.

Ready, Fire, Aim…….!

Analysis paralysis and procrastination are two of the main obstacles you need to overcome when dealing with setting your targets. These are two distinct problems. On the one hand, you might spend lots and lots of time creating your list of targets you are going to achieve—then re-creating them, then subdividing them and re-ordering their priority and by doing so actually avoid starting to do the work that will help you achieve your aims. On the other hand, you might suffer from procrastination—you simply fail to start—because there’s always something else to do instead or the system isn’t perfect yet. People procrastinate for all sorts of reasons and most of the time none of these reasons are valid.

To achieve your targets you need to be doing something. You’ll never reach your destination unless you start to move. So, set down your targets and take action to meet them—and you can refine your aim on the way.

So, let’s say your target is to bring in an extra £1,500 this month from new Wills for clients. The first thing you need to do is work out how many Wills you would need to prepare to achieve this target. Let’s say that you charge £150.00 for each Will. That would mean that you would need to write 10 new Wills for clients to reach your target (yes, you will probably charge different figures for mirror Wills, but why complicate things?).  The next thing you need to do is work out where this new business is going to come from.

Have a look at the source of your last 10 Wills—where did they come from? Can you get some more from the same source or sources? If you can, then go for it. Look for other sources—what about any conveyancing transactions you’ve settled in the last 3 months. Do the clients you’ve acted for have Wills that you hold for them—if not, contact them and recommend that if they don’t have a Will they should make one and you’d be happy to help them do so. What about matrimonial work—are there any opportunities for Wills from that source?

This is a very simple example of setting a target and setting out to achieve it—and adjust your course along the way to meet it. Start again the following month and do the same thing—and the next month after that—and so on and do forth and before you know it, you’ll find that you meet your targets month on month.

LawCloud: Helping to create more agile and responsive Law firms

LawCloud is a new generation in Practice Management Software for law firms in the UK and is brought to you from the developers at  LawWare Ltd. Established in 1998 and now serving more than 200 law firms from its HQ in Edinburgh, LawWare has established a strong reputation for an innovative and forward looking approach to the business of running a Law Firm

Since its launch in March 2010, LawCloud now hosts over 65 law firms on its platform representing almost a third of the LawWare user base. Many small law firms lack the IT infrastructure to support the latest systems and find the upfront costs of new IT prohibitive.  LawWare now rarely installs its on premise system and over the last 18 months, 95% of its new systems have been LawCloud.

Depending on who you are talking to, you may hear this kind of technology referred to as hosting, SaaS, Outsourcing, Cloud and more. At the heart of the offering, they refer to a very similar thing and the terminology is simply stylistic. Our preference is Cloud. In our experience, any perceived risks associated with the Cloud clearly outweigh its benefits. Law firms appreciate peace of mind. Their confidential information is backed up and protected with a level of security that is often out of reach for smaller organisations. All data is stored in one of the foremost data centres in the UK which falls under data protection laws.”

LawWare has enhanced relationships with its customers by simplifying their IT and as a business is more agile and responsive. This flexibility is a hallmark of LawCloud. Users can access it from anywhere they have an internet connection”. This new future technology has levelled the playing field, allowing smaller organisations to compete with bigger firms in new ways. The legal technology market has seen a great deal of consolidation over the last few years and the legal services industry is also consolidating and fragmenting. This presents an opportunity for lawyers and smaller technology suppliers to offer a real value added personal service to their clients that some of the bigger firms find may have lost sight of.

 

LawCloud’s Blog named as a Top 10 Best New Blog of 2011

We are pleased to announce that our LawCloudComputing blog has been listed by Computer Weekly as one of their top 10 best new blogs of 2011.

As Computer Weekly notes, “Blogging has become part of the everyday consumption of information, this category looks at those blogs created in the past two years that have delivered something new and fresh to what is now a crowded and highly competitive space.”

They note that:-

“LawCloud is a new generation in Practice Management Software for law firms in Scotland and is brought to you from the developers at LawWare.  Established in 1998 and now serving over 200 law firms in Scotland from their HQ in Edinburgh, LawWare has established a strong reputation for an innovative and forward looking approach to the business of running a Law Firm.

LawCloud is at the forefront of transforming the way that lawyers in Scotland work and is clearly leading in the legal cloud. Since its launch in Feb ‘11, it has grown from a standing start to now hosting more than 50 law firms in Scotland on its secure and robust Cloud servers and this number is growing by the week. LawCloud really is more about business transformation than technology.

The number of Law Firms in Scotland transitioning to the Cloud is growing at a tremendous rate and the opportunity is here today for the small to medium sized high street law firms to start using best of breed software (traditionally reserved for the bigger firms) delivered directly to their PC, laptop, Mac or iPad at a low fixed monthly subscription, with no upfront capital expenditure .

Out of the box, LawCloud offers lawyers a new way of working that has never been so easy to reach, offering real benefits like Flexible mobile working, linking branch offices, Peace of mind, cost savings and truly simplified technology.”

We are pleased to be included in this list, which follows on from our inclusion in a list of the top 100 bloggers on cloud computing.

We look forward to providing our audience with more useful cloud updates in 2012 both through our blog here, our LawCloud website and growing @LawCloudUK Twitter account here. Please contact us on 0845 2020 577 if you’d like to speak to us direct.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2012.

LawCloud features on The Law Society of Scotland’s Cloud guidance web page

A leader in cloud for law firms in the UK, LawCloud now features on The Law Society of Scotland’s website regarding guidance about cloud computing.

As the Law Society notes,

“Cloud computing offers many potential advantages to firms and the opportunity for more efficient and safer working. However, it also introduces new risks, from compliance with EU and UK data protection rules through to causing regulatory problems such as accounts rules compliance, and opening up new potential for service and conduct complaints.

To support members and also reduce risk to the overall profession the Society has issued ‘advice and information’ on the use of Cloud computing by law firms and solicitors in Scotland. This advice has been developed by the Society’s Technology Sub Committee in consultation with the Scottish Society for Computers and Law Group as well as industry experts and providers.”

The Law Society also notes that if members have any questions about the Cloud for their law firm, they should contact Neil Stevenson, Director of Representation and Professional Support, on 0131 476 8360 to discuss further.

We have already blogged about the recent Law Society of Scotland event at The Hollyrood Hotel in Edinburgh focusing on the Cloud Computing for law firms in Scotland, at which LawCloud provided expert input, assisting with the development of the guidance.

As LawCloud’s Managing Director, Warren Wander, noted in the recent blog post,

“The Law Society’s guidelines are a welcomed piece of collateral for the profession at a time when guidelines are well needed and I look forward to working alongside these advisory notes to offer the comfort that practitioners need in order to make the most of emerging innovations and trusted technologies.”

To discuss how LawCloud can take your law firm to the Cloud, please contact us on 0845 2020 577 today.

LawWare hosts 2011 User Conference and User Group Meeting

LawWare hosted this year’s User Conference and User Group Meeting (UGM) on Wednesday 23 November 2011.LawCloud and LawWare

Following the success of the last UGM, LawCloud, LawWare Enterprise, Classic and Express users and select close business partners and those considering LawCloud were all invited to join LawWare at Stirling Management Centre..

Alongside the User Group Meeting, there were a variety of guest speakers and business partners who discussed relevant and topical issues.

Following a morning’s session of networking and a welcome note by Warren Wander, Managing Director of LawWare Ltd, Laura Malcolm of the Professional Support Team at The Law Society of Scotland delivered a keynote speech on “Opportunity, Innovation and the Future” in the legal profession.

Warren then presented a technology update focussing on the Cloud and discussing LawWare & LawCloud development plans. Insights on the Cloud and technology use by the legal profession from Professor Stewart Brymer of Brymer Legal Ltd followed,

Stephen Moore of Moore Legal Technology then delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the web as the new high street for lawyers, illustrating how MLT’s clients have been able to generate up to (and sometimes over) 100 enquiries per month through their websites and online activities.

After more networking, further presentations were delivered by Diane Ireland, Online Marketing Manager at SLAB regarding SLAB’s online integration updates and by Ian Messer, Director of Financial Compliance at Law Society of Scotland regarding Cashroom and Compliance Considerations.

Catherine O’Day, Director of The Cashroom Ltd examined the subject of outsourcing for law firms & thoughts from an Outsourced Cashroom and Simon Greig of LawWare rounded off the morning’s session with a live preview of LawWare, together with hints, tips and details of new developments.

After lunch, LawWare users were then given an opportunity to meet other LawWare users, exchange ideas and find out more about how they use the system.

A technology showcase will highlight the latest developments that are available to law firms in today’s fast moving times and there will be an industry update on the latest news and trends in the profession.

With 4 hours of CPD for each attendee, the event gave solicitors in Scotland an overview of some of the latest developments that are available to law firms in today’s fast moving times, with an industry update on the latest news and trends in the profession.

To discuss any of these aspects in greater detail, please contact us on 0845 2020 577, view the live tweets from the event on Twitter or visit LawCloud’s website for further information.

LawCloud takes a Belt and Braces Approach

LawCloud continues to invest in its systems with the latest state of the art Cloud monitoring software to ensure its clients achieve the best performance possible.

With a reputation for innovation and quality, LawCloud continues to go from strength to strength and with such a strong uptake on LawCloud, it is essential that the LawCloud performance team has full insight into how well its systems are doing.Microsoft Cloud Partner Network

Managing Director and CEO, Warren Wander explains “This level of monitoring means that the team can respond almost instantaneously to increased server load, balancing usage and ensuring our customers experience is the best it can be at any one time.”

Again, this puts LawCloud at the forefront of Cloud technologies, reaffirming its position as one of the foremost suppliers of Cloud technologies to law firms in Scotland and the UK.

In addition to server performance monitoring, LawCloud has also implemented a resilience that maximises the utilisation of Microsoft’s latest server operating systems by implementing failover on all of its functions. Alongside choosing one of the best data centres in the UK, this means that there is now truly no single point of failure on the LawCloud system ensuring that uptime is maximised.
Data Protection Certificate
Warren Wander concludes “Our SLA states a minimum uptime but we are constantly exceeding these with one of the best track records for availability in the industry. As one of the foremost suppliers of Cloud based system for lawyers, we are constantly innovating and remain at the forefront of this technology as a leading supplier to the industry.”

LawCloud offers a data protection certification to all clients that published on the LawCloud website.

The Law Society has released its draft guidelines for procurement of Cloud and we have aligned ourselves undisputedly with this document and will publish it on the LawCloud website as soon as it is available.

Inverness welcomes the Cloud

Earlier today (Wednesday 26 October 2011), The Mercure Hotel in Inverness hosted the fourth and final instalment in a series of legal practice management events chaired by Warren Wander, founder of LawCloud. Speakers included David Calder, managing partner of MBM Commercial LLP, Warren Wander, managing director of LawCloud, Andy Glasgow, senior commercial banking relationship manager at RBS, Alison Stark, chartered accountant at The Cashroom and Gavin Ward, search and social media marketing manager at Moore Legal Technology.

David Calder – MBM Commercial

The day started with a keynote from David Calder, managing partner of MBM Commercial. David explained the inception of MBM Commercial from a buy-out of the commercial business of a leading law firm in 2005. With its recent acquisition of a niche technology practice in Oxford, MBM Commercial has been able to establish itself as a specialist UK wide commercial law firm with a niche focus on acting for entrepreneurs, growth companies and investors who are based throughout the UK.

MBM Commercial has used innovative strategies to outsource various functions. One such function, cashroom services have been outsourced by MBM Commercial to The Cashroom, which provides outsourced accounting services for law firms across the UK. David explained that it wasn’t until 2008 that such outsourcing of accountancy was viable for his firm. Now, because of the Cloud, MBM Commercial is able to outsource this vital part of its business, which enables greater flexibility and cost savings for fee earners.

David Calder and his team at MBM Commercial can be contacted on 0333 2400 313 or at mailto:david.calder@mbmcommercial.co.uk.

Warren Wander – LawCloud

Cloud Computing

Warren Wander then presented on the benefits of cloud computing for law firms, explaining how LawCloud has enabled over 170 lawyers across the UK to improve their legal practice with cloud technology.

Explaining LawCloud for the audience, Warren said “In simple terms, LawCloud is the name of our secure server on the internet which you can rent space on. It delivers LawWare Enterprise and is the new generation in Practice Management & Office Software for law firms. It’s built on Microsoft’s Cloud Services platform and housed in a Fort Knox style data centre provided by LawWare business partner Rise Ltd.”

Elaborating on the main features, Warren then discussed Cash Accounting, the Full Electronic Case File, Risk Management & Compliance tools, Microsoft Office 2010 with Email, Shared Diaries, and, a secure, robust, high performance set of servers that have no single point of failure.

Summarising the main ways in which LawCloud benefits law firms across the UK, Warren noted that “It enables flexible working because it’s on the Internet. It supports your mobile and remote working capability which means you can work as easily from home, court or holiday as you can from the office.”

Warren also explained that “Access to all information is at your fingertips. It also means that you can link branch offices together without the need for expensive servers to route the information. We simply connect your remote offices up to the LawCloud Server and straight away you have a wide area network for your teams to share information.”

To discuss any of these aspects in greater detail, please call Warren and the LawCloud team on 0845 2020 577.

Andy Glasgow – RBS

Next, Andy Glasgow of RBS presented on the various financial issues for law firms in the current economic climate. Recognising the downturn and its effect on law firms, Andy noted that the more prudent law firms, from a banking perspective, are those which are able to and, indeed, have adapted quickly to economic pressures, despite the fact that difficult decisions, including staff redundancies, may have to be made.

Andy concluded by recommending that law firms should keep in touch with their accountants or financial advisers to remain in control of their firm’s finances in the current economic climate.

To get in touch with Andy please email Andy.glasgow@rbs.co.uk.

Alison Stark – The Cashroom

Chartered accountant at The Cashroom, Alison Stark then explained the benefits of outsourced accounting and how cloud computing has enabled The Cashroom to grow and continue to work with an expanding range of law firms across the UK.

Alison elaborated on why outsourced accountancy for law firms is a serious consideration for the practice manager of every law firm in the UK. Against the backdrop of the vast array of rules and regulations that have to be followed by a CRP (CashRoom Partner) for a firm to be compliant, such as Law Society inspections, HMRC, VAT returns, PAYE & NIC, cashflows, surplus, accounts, budgets, etc, As explained that The Cashroom aims to alleviate much of this burden for law firms, allowing all partners to be able to focus on fee-earning activities. This also removes the need for an internal cashroom to be staffed and frees up essential office space and other IT expenses.

The Cashroom provides a virtual cashroom service, on demand 9am-5pm, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is made possible by The Cashroom’s use of the Cloud to provide better communication with clients, support flexible working for staff and to manage cashflow better.

To discuss outsourced accountancy further, please contact Alison Stark or Catherine O’Day on 01506 592 263 or by email at info@thecashroom.co.uk.

Gavin Ward – Moore Legal Technology

Gavin Ward, Search and Social Media Marketing Manager at Moore Legal Technology, then presented on the return on investment for law firms in optimising their use of social media marketing and online presence.

Gavin introduced the subject by explaining the various components of return on investment (ROI) in a social media context. These included brand awareness and development, growth of digital assets, development of risk management capability and direct or indirect financial results.

Using examples of successes both personal and for client law firms, Gavin elaborated on several types of social media use in the legal profession. These include blogging, which can be used to develop personal brands and the brand of the law firm, to share legal knowledge, develop current awareness and ultimately to expand online presence and generate more business online. This LawCloud blog itself, which is listed as one of the top 100 blogs on cloud computing was used as an example of how blogging can work well for firms.

Discussing Twitter as a tool to develop relationships, maintain current awareness and drive traffic to law firm websites, Gavin illustrated examples of Twitter accounts, such as LawCloud’s Twitter account or Lawford Kidd’s Twitter account, together with analytics to measure the use of those accounts.

Lastly, LinkedIn was discussed, with Gavin looking at LinkedIn groups can be particularly rewarding. He looked, for instance, at Warren’s Cloud for Lawyers group which was set up earlier in the year, which has attracted over 500 members and which itself ranks first in Google for the term “Cloud for Lawyers”.

Gavin concluded by suggesting that firms should focus on the benefits and value of social media use in the broader sense, with financial results, e.g. in terms of client wins, inevitably following.

If you’d like to discuss web presence, social media activities or legal website design further, Gavin and the Moore Legal Technology team can be contacted on 0845 620 5664 or at  gavin@moorelegaltechnology.co.uk.

Future Events

On 9 November 2011, the Law Society of Scotland is chairing a conference on cloud computing for Scottish law firms. Please see our blog post on this event for more information.

Cloud computing: A bright light for business

One of the most successful business people of our time, Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs, was one of the first to recognise the benefits of the “cloud”, which put simply is a term used to describe a model of computing which enables on-demand network access to a shared pool of resource. When Jobs rejoined Apple in 1996, one of his first acts was to move all of the company’s data – including fiercely protected information about the business’s future plans – to Apple’s servers, rather than entrusting that valuable information to individual computers.

Andy Burton, chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, an industry group, cites the case of LawWare, based in Edinburgh, which writes software for legal practices (LawCloud): it wanted to speed up implementation, and so turned to cloud providers so it could rapidly develop projects for customers. “The time taken to implement a new system went from weeks to hours,” says Burton.

He says that the problem with the word “cloud” is that many people find it ambiguous: is it about flexibility, or speed, or cost? He argues that “it makes you a more competitive organisation” and that the key question to ask is which of those three is the most important to improve, and focus on how cloud systems can help.

In June 2009, just after Michael Jackson’s death, Twitter saw traffic peak at 456 tweets a second but, by August 2011, following news of Beyoncé’s pregnancy, it was generating 8,868 tweets a second. Flexible cloud-based servers meant that Twitter could handle that explosive growth – few companies could forecast and manage such expansion on internal systems.

The idea that cloud services will make a big difference to businesses has been a recurrent theme of technology discussions for the past 10 years or so. Certainly, UK businesses have indicated that they are ready to adopt cloud computing. A study in the first half of 2011, which polled IT and business decision-makers across the private and public sectors, found that almost half already use cloud services. The private sector leads the way, with those employing more than 20 people ahead of smaller businesses in adoption (52% v 38%) – even though the latter could gain more because of the lower capital spending cloud computing requires. The driver for adoption is overwhelmingly cited as flexibility, with only 16% citing cost savings, though that figure rockets up to 69% among those already using cloud services.

It’s not just going to be about Hotmail any more. The cloud is coming, and the only question soon might be why your business isn’t on board.

Read the full article in The Guardian Newspaper, in the Cloud technology supplement, printed on 17th October 2011 or see their Cloud technology news section at Guardian Cloud News

LawCloud: Cloud for Lawyers UK