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How we use MI and analytics in administrative support functions.

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Most law firms accept the need for improving the use of management information (MI) and analytics. In fact, 59% of respondents to PwC’s Law Firms’ Survey 2017 stated that they were using, or planning to use, data and analytics in their business support functions. (Source: PwC’s Law Firms’ Survey 2017).

As these law firms have identified, there are numerous benefits to using analytics and technology tools. Arguably the biggest driver is improving operational efficiencies—86% of law firms have adopted some solutions to achieve this already. (Source: Legal Technology).

But, although law firms understand the need to embrace MI and analytics in the future, many are still hesitant to take the plunge.

This is often due to the fact that, in an industry with longstanding working practices embedded, establishing what to track, how to track it and what to do with the information can be a challenge. This can be especially difficult in support functions, where staff may have undertaken the same tasks for many years.

However, despite any push back you may experience or have experienced in the past, in reality adopting a considered approach to the collection and analysis of MI will make your firm’s support staff more productive, their job easier and ensure they have a balanced workload.

As we discussed in our recent blog 'Administrative support vs fee earners: The right balance to support growth' integrating MI also means a better service for fee earners and law firms’ end clients.

 

We have successfully integrated MI and analytics into countless law firms’ administrative support functions…

 

At Intelligent Office we don’t track MI just for the sake of it.

With over 17 years' experience providing PA, document production and administrative support services to law firms, we know how to strike the perfect balance between generating valuable data, and not collecting it for data’s sake. This enables us to extract the most from law firms’ support staff and ensure they’re properly managed, trained, and incentivised.

 

How can Intelligent Office help?

 

In our experience, law firms often have limited data about how support staff spend their time; how busy they are, how productive they’re being, and whether they have any spare capacity.

We’ve developed specialist digital tools and management methodologies to help gather data about the way law firms’ administrative support staff work. This approach allows us to identify how much capacity support staff have versus the demand for their time and resources. We then use this data to inform how we restructure processes/reallocate work, for example by changing shift patterns, or ensuring members of the team receive training to help them provide the right level of support.

As we work almost exclusively with law firms, we also integrated a function that means our clients can compare their data with a wider sample from the legal market.

 

What does this mean for administrative support staff?

 

For some administrative support staff, this kind of visibility isn’t something they’re used to—which can result in reluctance to adopt the new ways of working, and therefore make integrating it a challenge. For this reason, we don’t impose changes in a heavy-handed or ill-considered way. Our process typically consists of five steps.

These are:

1. Identify barriers to change: We conduct a thorough assessment of every law firm we work with. The largest part of this is identifying what the specific barriers or challenges will be.

2. Identify early adopters: We identify members of the team who could pioneer the change and work to involve them at an early stage.

3. Identify which metrics to track: We only track data that is useful to us and our clients. We don’t track data for the sake of it.

4. Use this information to improve services: The data we gather informs the support change initiatives we implement.

5. Use your early adopters to be advocates for wider roll out of the new approach to MI: These early adopters will be more familiar with the new tracking systems and working practices so can help colleagues with any challenges they may face.

 

Conclusion

 

Integrating MI into your firm’s administrative support functions is one of the key challenges facing law firms today. Moreover, knowing the right tools to use and how to deploy them can be incredibly difficult.

Here at Intelligent Office, when it comes to integrating MI, our approach is two-pronged. First, we carefully select solutions that improve the standard of service delivery for your fee earners, and second, we implement them in a way that considers and addresses the needs of your administrative support staff themselves.

If you would like to know more about how MI and analytics can ensure your support staff are providing the best possible service, get in touch with us by emailing sam.nicholls@intelligentofficeuk.com or giving us a call on +44(0)7984 252 150.

 

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