If you don’t have time to watch the video now, here are some highlights from our discussion.
Graham Moore: Having decided where we should be investing money to actually get some return on our investment, the next question we move on to, really, is how do you achieve that? Should we be buying in software? Should law firms be buying in packaged software from vendors, or should they be building these things in-house?
Mark Clark: The reason I say buy is that, why would you bother building something these days? One, it’s costly to build something. You build it once and you have to learn what you want to do. You’re not necessarily the expert in that. You have to bring in resources who are experts in building things, which often means contractors, which is quite expensive. You will only know what you know. It sounds obvious, but you won’t have best practice knowledge. You won’t have what the suppliers can offer you, and it won’t give you the opportunity to change as well. Not only that, once you’ve built it you’ve then got to maintain and support it, and sustain it. That’s where the real cost comes in, and the real headache comes in. Especially if you’re talking about features or functions or applications that have any legal element, anything that has to keep up with legislation – payroll, for example – but anything in the finance area. It takes an awful lot of investment year-on-year to sustain that, to keep it updated, much more than if you were to buy.
Alex Young: That doesn‘t mean there isn‘t the need for technical development teams, because of course there‘s the architecture underneath, and there‘s the data underneath. Actually, where I‘m seeing technical developers really being deployed at the moment within law firms is in the integration space. Integration technology has moved on from my day, dare I say, when I wrote SQL stored procedures to move data from database A to database B. There‘s amazingly efficient, cheap technology that they‘re using in integration, and so much more of our development teams are actually… We buy product X. Yes, we have to configure it to an extent, but actually their job is to ensure that we have consistent, harmonised data flows between those application suites.
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