Special feature: combining the capabilities of "cloud" and mobile computing is the aim of one business with a suite of products designed for the legal sector

Mobile computing has come of age. With the advent of mobile devices such as the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Androids, Windows phones, laptops etc, the legal profession can be in touch with their office on an anytime, anywhere basis.

At Denovo Business Intelligence we recognised early on that good practice management systems should be able to be accessed on the go. We recently ran a seminar for lawyers in the Glasgow Apple Store. The objective here was to enable lawyers to see and try out iPhones and iPads, accessing Denovo’s core “Legal Intelligence” (practice management software) product running from “the cloud”. This wasn’t just another example of a device that can access business emails, but a live interactive practice management system to enable the lawyer to interact with their practice-wide database.

What sort of things could you test at the seminar? Typically these devices enable the court lawyer, for example, to access from court, not only their own personal court diary but the court diaries of others within their firm. This means that the outcome of the case is immediately registered within their system and future diet dates are immediately booked, enabling the firm to make sure that they have the appropriate personnel available at whatever court they are required. Staff planning made easier. Waiting time in court can be utilised for real input and updating into the core system, enabling the practice as a whole to be fully up to date, so that the secretary booking the lawyer’s diary at the office already knows the impact of workloads coming from the fee earner at court.

On the other hand the lawyer who has been to visit clients in prison can properly update their timesheets on the go and is able to allocate their time to SLAB in an approved format. This information is then eventually fed through to the feeing system, enabling the lawyer to fee accurately and more efficiently without having to pass on files to law accountants.

The commercial lawyer can dynamically update important planned events within their case management software without having to call the office for updates etc. This same facility is available to all work types, such as the conveyancer wanting to check on the movement of funds that may have arrived in relation to a particular transaction.

Technophobes welcome

Key performance indicators (KPIs) mean many things to many people. The managing partner, senior partner or practice manager is able to see the KPIs that they require to see on a dynamic basis via their mobile device. Important financial information such as work in progress, cash balances, departmental performance and more can be accessed via the mobile device. More importantly the look and feel of the KPI can be tailored to suit the requirement and the type of user.

These are not an exhaustive range of capabilities of delivering mobile practice management, but examples of key areas of information that enable the busy lawyer to access the right information instantly and to advise their clients accordingly on the latest developments in their case.

How is all this achieved? The two technologies of “cloud” and “mobile” computing have finally come of age. Apple has been pioneering for some time the capability of mobile computing, now through its iPhones and iPads; but Androids, BlackBerries and Microsoft Mobile devices, now being made available, are also seen as easy-to-use devices that are enabling the technophobe to interact with what may have been seen previously as a complex in-house practice management system.

Any business embarking down the route of implementing these technologies should consider the following.

Cloud patterns

Mobile computing and “the cloud” are concepts. They are buzzwords. They are infrastructures, solutions, and in some cases seen as a panacea – all things to all firms. Or are they?

With outsourced practice management systems via internet based infrastructures becoming mainstream, “the cloud” has become the latest battleground for the hearts and minds of contemporary progressive legal firms, and certainly of today’s start-ups. So with all the major suppliers offering varying levels of “cloud solutions”, where does the firm of today look?

Not all cloud solutions are the same. Any cloud infrastructure worth considering will fulfil the basic requirements: cost; 24/7 access; secure datacentres; reliable online backups; additional storage; flexibility; resilience; disaster recovery. The infrastructure should be sound. Cloud solutions should also provide as a minimum outsourced services for full IT support, bearing in mind that the cloud infrastructure is not the full story – there’s still the office, the computers, the broadband, the printers and network. Providing support for the on-premises infrastructure has been and always will be essential.

Fully outsourcing the computing infrastructure and services is big news. But what does “fully outsourced” actually mean to the contemporary firm that has a real need to drive down costs, become more efficient, offer better client services and reduce their carbon footprint?

It means a complete solution, optimised for the mobile device, of infrastructure, software and services specifically designed to take the legal firms of today and tomorrow to the next evolutionary level in practice management systems. Take up the challenge.

Our cloud family

  • Intelligent Cloud incorporates Denovo’s highly successful Legal Intelligence, together with Intelligent Cashroom, Intelligent Law Accounting, and the latest addition to the stable, Intelligent Desktop. The key is in the name. The difference is in the name.
  • Intelligent Cashroom features: managing client monies; client investments; firm monies; daily/monthly/yearly procedures; float management; billing; firm asset management; firm purchase management; management reporting; tax and VAT filing; budget management; six monthly certification; personalised on-premises visits.
  • Intelligent Law Accounting & Judicial Feeing lends itself to online feeing, giving the benefits of a faster turnaround in producing a firm’s accounts whilst reducing a number of costs. A range of accounts from legal advice & assistance to judicial accounts of expenses can be produced using Denovo Legal Intelligence software.
  • Intelligent Desktop, maximised for the mobile device, utilises the internet’s power, flexibility and “always-on” paradigm, to deliver web 2.0 to the firm, providing key personalised benefits straight to a fee earner via multiple devices such as the iPad and iPhone, Android phones like the HTC Desire HD and the Samsung Galaxy range, Windows Mobile 7 devices, and BlackBerry. The possibilities to gain access to the Intelligent Desktop are limitless. The power that comes with such access on the go is boundless.

With Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Desktop, fee earners can, via these smart devices, view files, review and update cases; monitor KPIs; record time; build fees; create a range of letters; text clients; manage court appointments and more.

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