Patrick Hurley|Thomson Reuters Elite

What always happens to me a week after I get a new phone? The next-generation version is announced. It’s always infinitely better and cooler, with a whole host of new features and revolutionary technologies I would just love to have.

But no – I’m gonna be stuck with this embarrassing, already old-fashioned piece of kit for the next two years until my contract renews again.

Of course, some people opt to shell out the extra £500, £900, or whatever – it’s always  exorbitant – to upgrade to the new model then it is released, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. And so, I suffer in frustration and shame. I have a US-based colleague who, when we are in meetings together and I pull out my old phone, invariably remarks on how “cute and tiny” it is, as she scrolls leisurely across her sleek, modern, beautiful marvel of telephonic wonder.

No matter how we plan, how long we procrastinate, or how well we forecast, there’s always a newer version coming. Nowhere is this more true than in the business of on-premises legal technology. Even products with incredibly long lifespans, such as Elite Enterprise had (30 years-plus), or indeed 3E (which I predict may last even longer than that, owing to its virtually future-proof architecture), are continually being updated with new features, functionality and user interfaces.

This fact of the world we live in presents a constant conundrum for law firms. Which version should we go live on? Which version should we upgrade to? If we want to go live on date X, but a new release comes out on date Y, is there time to test, absorb, document and train on the new version?

Time and time again I see our clients take the super-cautious approach – and end up going live on that cute and tiny version, which is already out of date before they’ve even trained their users. This is understandable – law firms are inherently risk-averse, because hey, that’s what they’re paid to be. They confuse ‘perfect’ with ‘done’, and end up falling further and further behind with their on-premises technology. As a result, upgrade projects become exponentially more difficult and expensive.

There are really two possible solutions to this problem.

No matter what we do, how we plan, how long we procrastinate, or how well we forecast, there’s always a newer version coming. Nowhere is this more true than in the business of on-premises legal technology

1 Take a leap of faith, and jump to the
latest possible release. Then upgrade every year.
Yes, some law firms really do this. And they follow a repeatable pattern, via predictable, affordable budgeting, for their upgrade cycles.

2 Move to the cloud.
The fact is, although we grumble a bit when our apps or cloud solutions upgrade without our explicit consent, and sometimes even without advance notice, nobody dies. Nobody gets fired. Nobody’s budget spirals out of control. And there’s a bonus: we’re on the latest and greatest technology with the coolest features and tightest security controls.

Did I mention that 3E is available in the cloud now in the US, later this year in the UK, and then across the globe in the near future? Yes, you could be that cool too.

This article can be found in Briefing’s September edition: Hot data

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