Intellectual property attorneys serve a world of innovation. They protect inventors and businesses seeking to change the way we do things. It only makes sense that the field of intellectual property also has its own innovations. The PCT Network with its one-of-a-kind business model is an example of innovation in the field. There are many other software solutions that offer increased efficiency and enable higher quality services.
Among attorneys, there is also a strain of conservatism towards change. Adopting new docketing software, workforce management solutions, or filing system are drastic changes. These changes should not be made hastily. Hesitation in adopting new technologies is understandable and even wise at times. It is when this hesitation becomes refusal that an attorney can fall behind in their career.
Are you or an associate of yours reluctant to implement new technologies? Below, we discuss several reasons why attorneys are reluctant to accept new software solutions.
A Matter of Faith
Experienced patent and trademark professionals with established careers know what works for them. They have faith in themselves, their staff, and the solutions they used to manage their work for years. The rows of filing cabinets or the complex excel sheets have served them well. After years of use, rarely is there a surprise with their legacy solutions. They know how to use it, and they have faith that it will work exactly as they expect. If it isn’t broken, why fix it?
Asking a professional to try new software is asking them to leave behind solutions they already know and replace it with something they don’t necessarily know or trust.
Why should they have faith in the new docking software coming out? What if the company behind it dissolves? Will they receive support? Could data be lost? Is the provider aware of regulatory concerns? These questions should create hesitation.
However, too much stagnation can be equally problematic. New clients will prefer the high quality of service more technologically advanced firms provide. Meanwhile, those firms can grow faster as they handle more cases using efficient solutions.
How can an attorney balance the need to advance and the need for stability? If an attorney is not looking to take a risk with a startup, there are plenty of well-established services. Established providers have built faith among existing clients. They are able to provide evidence that they are reliable. Researching user numbers, reputation, and history of a service provider can help identify where you can place trust.
Pace of Change
Companies are competing to create the next innovative feature for their solution. With constant evolution, it can be intimidating deciding what features are necessary. There is a hesitation to purchase one service, only to then find a better service released a month later. For some, it is more desirable to wait it out until there is a truly groundbreaking release.
The old model of software, directly installed on computers, has contributed to this attitude. In the past, upgrades would either require picking up a hard copy or downloading the upgrade, usually at an additional price.
With the advent of cloud computing, being left behind minutes after an upgrade is no longer a concern. The best service providers constantly upgrade software, but they don’t leave customers behind. They do so with little disruption, and unless they create a new service, they usually do so with little to no added cost.
The Learning Barrier
As discussed above, many attorneys already have systems in place that they trust. However, it is not just that they trust those systems, they understand them and know how to use them. Adopting software requires an investment of resources into learning the new system. With the pressures of deadlines and a stack of files to work through, learning can feel like a waste of time.
While there is often a learning barrier that does need to be crossed, the fence may not be so high as one might imagine. Client-oriented service providers consider this and will design their software to be user-friendly. Additionally, many will provide support to help a client adopt the software.
More comprehensive software can require a larger learning curve. However, for many firms, these solutions are often well worth the investment. In such cases, it is often wise to have a slower adoption with a point person to learn and manage it first. The point person can then teach the rest of the staff what they have learned.
At times, the cost of adoption can be prohibitive. Some services, especially the more comprehensive or essential ones, can be quite expensive. The hope is that investment would result in an increase in profit and business, outweighing costs. For some firms, those benefits do not always outweigh the costs.
A cost-benefit analysis is an excellent way to determine if this is true. Many services will offer free trials to help in determining the benefits beforehand. In some cases, it may be that adoption would not be worth it. However, this should not be an excuse to forgo technology completely. There may be less expensive or even free services that could fill some of your services.