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Spring Cleaning: Does Your Legal Technology Need Decluttering?

By Litera Microsystems on April 19, 2019
Litera Microsystems

This past January, the Netflix show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” inspired a wave of decluttering across America, as people perused their homes asking which of their possessions truly “spark joy.” You might even have undergone the same cleansing of your email inbox or your mobile devices.

Now, it’s time to bring that energy into the office and spring clean your technology.

Why You Should Clean Out Your Technology

All systems tend, over time, toward entropy; your legal technology is no exception. Chances are it’s fallen into some degree of disorder with the passage of time. That’s why it pays off to periodically take inventory of the tasks you do and the tools you use to complete them. You may find a subscription service you’ve stopped using or a license that’s been automatically renewed annually even though everyone who used to use it has moved on to other solutions. Identifying and eliminating these obsolete tools will immediately save you money.

What’s more, by assessing your existing solutions and evaluating the current state of the marketplace, you may discover that there are now better technologies that will make your firm more competitive.

How to Spring Clean Your Technology

Start, as we referenced above, by creating a full accounting of your critical work tasks. How do you accomplish those tasks? Are they done by people, software, or both? Find out what tools you use for each type of task. Could you combine solutions or expand an existing solution to handle more work?

See where you can discontinue outdated tools, consolidate solutions or services, or upgrade your technological tools to more advanced versions. While you’re at it, reach out to those vendors whose services are borderline cost-effective to see whether you can renegotiate your rates or licenses.

As you determine what technology you need and what you’ve outgrown, take a hard look at how those tools work together. For example, if you’re currently using five different tools to manage documents, consider whether there’s a single integrated solution that can replace all five. Look critically at the tasks you’re using technology to complete as well. It may be that you no longer need to do some of those tasks at all.

For those tools and software services that are keepers, make sure you’ve updated your software to the latest version. Failing to update regularly can introduce errors and security weaknesses.

Don’t Forget to …

Clear out your files. Now is a great time to review your record-retention policies and ensure that expired data has been defensibly and securely deleted in compliance with those policies. Eliminate all the ROT—redundant, obsolete, and trivial files—that may be cluttering up your repositories. Do the same with your email accounts and any old or replaced servers or file storage systems.

Do some physical spring cleaning. Besides just cleaning out software and files, literally clean your keyboards, mobile devices, and monitors. Take a critical look around your office space to see whether there are any broken monitors, homeless cables, or outdated hard drives or storage devices. If it doesn’t spark joy (or spark anything at all, because you can’t figure out what it’s supposed to plug into), clean it out.

Spring clean your vendors. While you’re evaluating your technology, take a moment to assess your satisfaction with your vendors too. If you’re not getting high-quality services at the right price point—or if you’re using eight different vendors to handle one aspect of your work—it may be time to consider consolidating some services.

Sparking joy might seem like a high bar for legal technology, but with as much time as we spend in our offices and using our technology, we deserve to have software, vendors, and services that at least make our lives and our work easier. And that’s worth being joyful about.

Topics: Technology, Legal

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