With the ever-growing need for law firms to have a Business Intelligence (BI) solution in place to run their firm effectively, using reporting or "BI" tools that come with your time and billing software is no longer sufficient. They lack features, are not easily customizable, take much longer to get installed, and will only provide some relief. Using these tools can cost law firms and their lawyers in the long run. In addition, there are various issues and challenges that result when firms solely utilize their time and billing system for all their needs. Lawyers need a true BI self-servicing BI application in order to best run their book of business.
While time and billing software (T&B) is absolutely a necessary technology tool for a firm to have, it is truly that: made for financials. T&B companies offer an extra "perk" that they have a business intelligence solution, but that is not what they specialize in. Those companies do a wonderful job of providing top-notch law practice management and time and billing software to law firms, and spend a majority of their efforts improving that. Similarly, legal specific business intelligence companies focus all-day every-day on bringing the best features, quickest technology, and latest improvements to their BI products for their clients. If a time and billing system's BI tools were enough, then legal specific business intelligence tools would no longer be around and every firm would have BI bundled into their T&B system. Leave the pro's to their individual specialties!
Typically many tools that come with your time and billing system are driven by the finance and IT teams at the law firm. This means that if someone had a follow-up question about the report in the BI section of the application they have to go back to one of those departments to get more detailed information. This causes slow, frustrating reporting cycles and doesn't truly allow your firm to leverage current data to make decisions. However, business intelligence companies have interactive user friendly solutions. While Finance and IT departments are still an very important part of managing access to data, multiple levels of users can quickly and easily find the information without constantly asking others to do it. With the proper software, users are empowered to visualize data and answer their own questions.
Many self-service business intelligence tools streamline the analysis process. This makes it easier for people to see and understand their data without the technical know-how to dig into the data themselves. There are many BI platforms available for ad-hoc reporting, data visualization, and creating customized dashboards for multiple levels of users. We have outlined our recommendations for selecting a legal BI tool so you can choose the right one for your law firm.
We see some law firms choose to use their T&B software's BI tools because when they upgrade to a new system it is included or heavily discounted. Unfortunately, the entire process of switching a time and billing system can last up to 4 years and the BI tools are almost always implemented after that process is complete. Saul Ewing is one of our clients on Elite Enterprise and their CFO said it best: "We cant afford to wait that long to get the information to our firm and lawyers desktops. And with BigSquare as a vendor, they were able to get the BI application up and running in a month, why wait 4 years?"
What Specific Aspects Are They Lacking That Are Important to Law Firms?
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BigSquare is the leading provider of Business Intelligence for law firms and professional service organizations. We focus exclusively on law firm reporting, law firm BI, law firm profitability and law firm analytics.