Pioneering a New Legal Technology Curve and Modernizing Enterprise Legal Management

Put people at the center… not databases.

The relationship between technology and the workplace is a very dynamic thing, and technology is more important than ever to corporate legal department operations. As computer processing capabilities grow and programming languages evolve to allow for ever-increasing levels of complexity, businesses must be vigilant to read the trends and ensure that they are responsive to technological advancement and the market demands that those advancements birth. With the emergence of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud services, people in all kinds of businesses and industries must choose to pursue new ways of doing things or else find themselves in an unsustainable position as their current standard of practice becomes obsolete. This is especially true for legal departments facing the daunting challenge of managing the enterprise’s legal affairs.

Software as a Service:

Traditionally, software has been offered as a “product:” an instance of intellectual property licensed to an organization and deployed and supported internally. This model is based on the idea that software is a tool similar to hardware: a virtual property that a business can employ to achieve its ends.

This is, at first glance, a logically sound position—after all, it is the same structure we use when acquiring computer hardware. Why should software be any different? The short answer is that it doesn’t have to stop there. Operations can be much more efficient.

When the Internet appeared in the 1990s, some software vendors envisioned a different approach. Inspired in part by the mainframe computing of the 1950’s, they saw the potential for a system that not only provided a software product, but also treated the maintenance, hosting, and support of that product as a service.

By combining the idea of a software product that achieves a function with a support system that makes the use of that product inherently simple and trustworthy, they changed the nature of the industry, and slowly but surely turned “the cloud” into a buzzword. So… what have business gained from cloud services?

Industry Response

Some industries were more ready for to the change than others. Consumer offerings, such as YouTube and eBay, provided centralized access to video entertainment and a global marketplace respectively, and served as positive use cases for the applicability of this concept.

Other industries, especially those in the notoriously rigid B2B sector, were less prepared to adapt, instead continuing to offer independent instances and letting the purchaser handle the rest (support, service, troubleshooting, and all of the headaches that come along with it.) This structure forces organizations to foot the bill and even hire their own support staffs for the most complex and unwieldy software. Many of these offerings require organizations to license the product on a per-employee basis, rendering employee adoption and use an increasingly cost-prohibitive option. As efficiency needs grow and margins shrink, one-size-fits-all tools begin to appear to be very wasteful.

Lag Behind or Race Ahead: It’s Your Choice.

Onit’s Enterprise Apps for Enterprise Legal Management aim to directly address these issues for legal departments that desire more than the “old way” can offer. Whether they desire to fill the gaps between the tools they already use or to design a new workflow from the ground up, Onit’s App design philosophy makes it all possible.

Instead of cobbling together features into existing (and many times outdated) ebilling, matter management or enterprise legal management packages and interfaces, Onit seeks to answer the question: how does this legal department’s business work, and how can we help it work better?

Onit and other SaaS providers strive to facilitate success by being responsive to how app users actually use apps instead of treating the database as the center of all things and building out, as traditional all-things-to-all-people Enterprise Legal Management systems do. By approaching the problem of success in business and legal departments holistically, solutions can be designed as opposed to just applied.

The Way of the Future

Though it sounds trite, it’s unassailably true. Subscription-based models are becoming the norm. Netflix killed Blockbuster, just as SharePoint obsoletes FTP and email attachments. By moving Creative Suite to the cloud, Adobe both took steps to combat its long-term piracy problem and made its product exponentially more affordable. Nowadays, video rental shops are few and far between, business information can be easily accessed without having to navigate confusing file structures, and virtually anyone can have access the world’s most advanced design and digital arts suite.

So the question is: will your legal department adopt a smarter business process now, or will you wait until you have no other choice?

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