Client care, brand reputation and new technology have emerged as the top priorities for legal practices, in the third annual survey carried out by legal technology innovator Zylpha. In all, 92 per cent of respondents feel that optimising client care is now the main objective, compared to 78 per cent when the survey was conducted last year. The research also revealed that 87 per cent of respondents feel that practice brand management and client perception was essential too, rising from 75 per cent the previous year. New technology also scored highly, with 82 per cent agreeing that it too was an important priority; although this is driven equally by the desire for good client perception as it is for securing efficiency gains. Regulatory issues such as the imminent arrival of GDPR is seen as a major reason behind these changes, albeit there is also an increasing sentiment that clients are expecting more.
On the technology side, all those surveyed stressed the importance of integration with online services, with the appetite for cloud systems climbing rapidly from 10 per cent in 2017 to nearly 30 per cent this year. Of those who expressed an interest in cloud technology, the primary driver was the increasing popularity of solutions such as iManage and Net Documents. A new trend of note in the research was a healthy demand for mobile and tablet applications from 52 per cent of respondents.
Security is still a top concern with 71 per cent of respondents citing it as a lead concern. The figure was at a similar level in the previous two years. Other issues were generally far behind. Of these, Brexit had slipped back as a concern with 65 per cent of respondents believing that Brexit will not affect their business negatively within the next 12 months. Just 20 per cent felt it would affect their business for the worse.
Commenting on the survey figures, Zylpha’s head of marketing David Chapman noted: 'It’s fascinating to look at the trends now this survey is in its third year. The results of the survey, from over 200 respondents have shown a shift to client care, enhanced client perceptions and the technology to back these up. This bodes well for clients as many of the changes will make access easier and reduce costs. Other than that, issues such as security and cyber risks are a constant but the potential threats posed by Brexit are not yet registering. However, that’s not to exclude them from the medium to long run. It will be interesting to see how the data has evolved in another twelve months.'