In a recent episode of the Reinventing Professionals podcast with Ari Kaplan, two seasoned software leaders discussed recent trends among law firms leveraging CRM technology for data-based insight, and explained where firms currently stand with regards to cloud technology. Scott Wallingford, Vice President and General Manager of LexisNexis® Law Firm Software Solutions, and Scott Winter, Director for Product Management for InterAction®, joined Kaplan to discuss why cloud adoption is still growing despite many law firms’ reservations about the technology in the context of data security and privacy.
Winter explained how there is a growing appetite for getting more insights out of CRM systems. “These insights are becoming client-centric,” he said. Firms are increasingly interested in creating a nucleus-like view of the contacts they use on a daily basis while incorporating more information and tools. They want to get into the dashboard of the CRM, see the complete picture, and correlate a variety of client details and metrics to make better-informed decisions.
Wallingford then discussed firms’ increasing interest in cloud-based solutions and how firms are adopting these solutions in various forms. There is a spectrum of interest among law firms in cloud technology just as there is a spectrum of available cloud options.“It’s a firm-specific approach,” he said. Much of it has to do with client preferences and how firms currently handle client data. Regarding InterAction specifically, Wallingford explained how the CRM platform can be adapted to an organization’s specific requirements, depending on how “cloud” the firm is by creating a hybrid cloud environment. InterAction can also connect to private clouds, and LexisNexis is working on a single-tenant solution as well.
The current focus for many firms is on getting the right insights from CRM data so lawyers can make educated, smart decisions for their businesses. With rich insight from InterAction’s comprehensive set of data, a lawyer can view everything he or she needs to know about clients. But here’s the challenge: How do firms leverage such data without running into security or compliance issues?
Winter emphasized that security is still very much a concern. “With cloud technology, we have a whole other level of complexity,” he said, “in comparison to on-premises technology.” Cloud-based solutions must adhere to strict privacy requirements pertaining to client data—for example, the right to be forgotten.
“With compliance regulations, the technology needs to be flexible to help support [various law firms’ interpretations of regulations]. One of the most important, major things we’ve done with InterAction is the right to be forgotten,” Winter explained. “If someone wants to be forgotten in a database and you delete them, how do you remember and respect that without putting a sticky note under your computer?”
InterAction technology has been designed to provide firms with the flexibility needed to address these and other privacy regulations in a way that’s compatible with their existing workflows and information infrastructure.
Looking to the future, both experts see growing interest in finding new uses for client data and in the challenges of protecting that data. Lawyers increasingly understand that data-driven insights from technology such as business intelligence solutions and smart CRM are the way forward to making better decisions and serving future and current clients. Managing that data respectfully and thoughtfully will be the challenge. Regulations and compliance-related complexities will persist, but with technologies such as InterAction on the market, law firms already have a solid tool for capturing and using valuable client data in a responsible way.
Listen to the full podcast here.