You cannot appreciate digital transformation without the understanding of digital technology. Simply put digital technologies are electronic tools, systems, devices and resources that generate, store or process data. Digital technology enables immense amounts of information to be compressed on small storage devices that can be easily preserved and transported. Digital technology has transformed how people communicate, learn, and work. Well known examples include social media, multimedia and mobile phones. The internet is itself the function of multiple pieces of digital technology, and websites are one of the most common ways that people access it.
Digital transformation on the other hand is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. It is a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo. Thinking, planning, and building digitally sets you up to be agile, flexible, and ready to grow.
As the World Development Report 2016 points out, “With rising computing power, combined with the connectivity and informational value of the internet, digital technologies are taking on more tasks.”
To be digitally transformed there are processes you must surmount. First you must develop the appropriate digital mind set. You must move from analog engagements to digital environment. Thirdly, not only do you go through digitization process you must also digitalize.
In no distant past, businesses records were kept on paper. Whether handwritten in ledgers or typed into documents, the data remained analog in nature and character. Dealing with data or sharing information were restricted within the physical documents — papers and binders. When computers went mainstream, businesses started converting all of those ink-on-paper records to digital computer files. This is called digitization: the process of converting information from analog to digital. Finding and sharing information became much easier once it had been digitized. Digital data was exponentially more efficient for businesses than analog had been.
The process of using digitized information to make established ways of working simpler and more efficient is called digitalization. Note the word established in that definition: Digitalization isn’t about changing how you do business, or creating new types of businesses. It’s about keeping on keeping on, but faster and better now that your data is instantly accessible and not trapped in a file cabinet somewhere in a dusty archive.
Digitalization changed service orientation by making client/customer records easily and quickly retrievable via computer. The basic methodology of client/customer service did not change, but the process of fielding an inquiry, looking up the relevant data, and offering a resolution became much more efficient by entering a few keystrokes on a computer screen or mobile device.
The key element of digital transformation is understanding the potential of our technology. The question is, what is our technology really capable of, and how can we as lawyers adapt our business and processes to make the most of our technology investments and client satisfaction? How can we transform and build digital law firm of the future today and be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow?
As we head into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, industries are becoming more and more impacted by digital transformation – law firms need to keep pace with the expectations of the modern world. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and big data are changing the way law firms work and streamline their operations. Lawyers must therefore restructure to account for shifting demands and expectations, focusing on adding value to clients through consultation and strategy development. Firms that adapt fast will reap substantial rewards.
With AttorneysBrief not only can you digitize your processes, you can also digitalize by engaging clients electronically, keep cases on track, centralize billing and document collaboration, seamless workflows, take your practice (every case, every file, every document, and total caseload visibility) with you everywhere and above all have an oversight into your firm's performance.