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Are you making the most out of your technology investments for flexible work?

In evaluating the use of technological platforms to support your business, leaders have to consider whether value for money is being achieved, writes Robert Wilkinson.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 13 June 2022 SME Law
Are you making the most out of your technology investments for flexible work?
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As the end of the financial year approaches, many companies will be looking at their profit and loss reports and analysing their business expenses over the past 12 months. With a lot of firms investing in technology over the past two years with an attempt to optimise productivity and flexible working arrangements, have the investment/s been valuable and are you making the most out of the technology investments you’ve made?

Traditionally, a lot of law firms are quite conservative and strict in terms of hours and billing, but they, too, have had to become flexible, with a lot of law firms now embracing the flexible working ethos. Technology that is enabling law firms to create flexible and collaborative environments are cloud-based technologies such as Microsoft 365 – including SharePoint and Teams, hosted telephony, IT security and workspace management software that manages space and resources.

When it comes to technology that supports flexible working environments, it’s one thing to pay your subscription month-to-month, but is your business fully utilising the features that you’re paying for? For example, we’ve had quite a few clients that were paying their Office 365 subscription, but then were also paying for Zoom and Slack each month. They weren’t utilising Teams and Teams calling, which was already part of their technology infrastructure. Auditing your technology stack can help uncover inefficiencies that are costing you time and money.

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When it comes to looking at business expenses, it’s easy to say that technology is expensive, and people can quickly form an opinion as to whether they consider a technology investment to be expensive or invaluable. Therefore, when it comes to making the most out of your technology investments for flexible work, firstly, it’s important to establish a form of measurement and a way to measure your investment’s success.

Some technology investments have been deemed ineffective because their measurement of success was looked at in the wrong way, or they set unrealistic timelines. Secondly, make sure that the “right-size” technology has been implemented for your business; for example, is the business paying for licences that it’s not using?

Also, it’s crucial that all the staff have been fully trained in how to use the technology. A lot of technology isn’t used to its full potential because the users of the technology don’t know how to use and maintain it properly, or the staff that were present at the time of implementation have left the business and new staff aren’t being properly trained. It sounds simple, but it’s a problem that we see regularly. The good news is that it’s a relatively easy and cost-effective fix.

If you’re looking at whether you’re making the most out of a piece of technology, our recommendation is to first remind yourself what problem you’re trying to solve and why you’re trying to solve it. Has the problem changed, has the environment changed, have the business needs changed, are you trying to fix a system or process problem that isn’t technology related, is it a communications issue, or is it business continuity between locations?

Once you have a clear understanding of the problem/s that you’re trying to solve, the why behind it and what your utopia looks like, you’ll be in a better position to determine if you’re technology investment is solving your problem/s and adding value to your business.

We also recommend regularly touching base with the users of the technology you’ve invested in to seek their feedback on how it is affecting their productivity. Has the technology increased or decreased their productivity, how often are they using it, have they implemented their own workarounds that you’re not aware of, do they feel it seamlessly integrates with your technology stack and if they have any suggestions for improvement or alternatives?

Users of your technology are your best source of information but also keep in mind that some people don’t like change, so they may be giving push-back not because of the technology itself but for the simple reason that it’s different or new.

Lastly, when it comes to technology, it is only as good as the users using it. People need training, guidance and support, and it also needs upkeep – think of your technology as a living system that will change over time and will need updating.

Robert Wilkinson is the head of business development at Sentrian.

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy is the editor of Lawyers Weekly. A former lawyer, he has worked at Momentum Media as a journalist on Lawyers Weekly since February 2018, and has served as editor since March 2022. He is also the host of all five shows under The Lawyers Weekly Podcast Network, and has overseen the brand's audio medium growth from 4,000 downloads per month to over 60,000 downloads per month, making The Lawyers Weekly Show the most popular industry-specific podcast in Australia. Jerome is also the author of The Wellness Doctrines book series, an admitted solicitor in NSW, and a board director of Minds Count.

You can email Jerome at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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