Managed services: non-cost reasons for law firms to make a change
There is a great deal to be said for the argument that law firms should seek out a managed services provider in order to save money on their IT operations. Handing IT functions to a dedicated vendor who can provide services remotely can produce tremendous cost savings over a model in which the law firm must maintain and support an in-house IT department. Nevertheless, cost reductions alone are not the only strong reason for moving to a managed services approach. Instead, such a shift offers significant additional advantages that have little to do with trimming direct costs.
A desire to have a job done properly is a strong motivation for many firms that decide to investigate outsourced IT support for law firms. Because a managed services provider is truly a specialist in the areas of data security, data backup, and remote management of document production, outsourcing IT allows a firm to enjoy the benefits of vast expertise. When a law firm tries to provide these functions for itself, its attention to such matters is naturally diluted by the fact that the company must perform many essential functions. In this scenario, IT needs can get pushed to the side. This is not the case when a dedicated vendor is providing IT services.
Another reason why a managed service provider makes sense for law firms involves the need to attract and retain quality talent for open positions. An in-house IT department at a law firm may be a two- or three-person operation – or may perhaps be even smaller. This is not the kind of situation that draws in highly-qualified personnel. Instead, a perceived lack of advancement opportunities will cause the best IT prospects to look elsewhere for employment, leaving the law firm with a lower tier of employee.
By working with a managed services provider, however, even the smallest law firm can take advantage of a much larger talent pool. This is because IT companies are able to attract staff much more effectively to fill IT-related positions. These highly-qualified individuals will then provide services to companies that could never have secured their services on their own.
Access to the best technology
Because managed services providers serve many companies at once, they can purchase new equipment and remain on the cutting edge of data services without “breaking the bank.” This is because they are able to spread their own costs widely, with each company served absorbing just a little bit. In contrast, a law firm providing its own IT services cannot afford to update its technology nearly as often since it would have to absorb 100% of the cost on its own.