DPSCloud: Reinterpreting The Cloud with law firms in mind

Jonathan Seaton represents DPS Software

What does The Cloud mean to you?

The Cloud by its very nature is such an expansive and amorphous phenomenon that when establishing exactly what it means for you and your legal firm it can be difficult to know where to begin. However, a logical starting point when looking at the Cloud and its impact on technology in recent years is to define what is actually meant by the term. It is in such common use now that it can often be referenced without much thought being paid to what the audience understand it to mean.

In short the Cloud describes the transition of computing from a product into a service provided to end users from third party servers via the internet. It really is that simple but as we know it’s often the simple ideas that bring about the greatest change, and of course it’s worth remembering that within this concept there is huge scope for interpretation and different models of deployment.

When multinational technology organisations such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon began to pick up on the idea of the Cloud and the potential it held for their business, it became only a matter of time before their combined marketing muscle cemented the term in the public consciousness.

The Cloud and law firms in 2011

We’re now at a point in time where there seems to be a general acceptance of the value of the Cloud to any business where IT systems are essential to operations. There is no doubt that the modern law firm falls within this bracket and indeed there are many high profile examples of law firms looking to the Cloud as an integral part of their future IT infrastructure – Lewis Silkin and Clifford Chance’s efforts to develop document management systems based on the Microsoft Sharepoint platform probably two of the most well-known.

However these are Top 100 firms focusing on just a single element of their IT strategy. For a decade now, since they first provided a hosted solution to a law firm, DPS Software has been exploring the questions that matter to mid-tier firms when it comes to hosted IT. Now, in 2011 the end result of the answers we have arrived at is DPSCloud, the only full-service hosted solution designed with the law firm in mind. So, what were these key questions and more importantly, what were our answers?

What does The Cloud mean to mid-tier firms?

At DPS we saw hosted IT as holding huge potential for the IT at mid-tier law firms as they are agile enough to migrate to a full-service cloud solution yet they have the client-base, business development strategies and infrastructure which enables them to maximise the cost and efficiency gains that a hosted solution offers.

How can it best be leveraged?

We identified a full-service solution as the ideal way for firms to leverage hosted IT. DPSCloud is full-service in the sense that there are no hosting partners or middle men involved – from the DPS datacentre we provide your hosting services and as part of this we provide and maintain your Microsoft and DPS software packages.

In the competitive post-Legal Services Act environment a small number of strategic supplier partnerships will be key to an effective infrastructure and future strategy in key areas. Through DPSCloud you gain a single strategic partnership which covers all elements within the mission-critical area of IT leaving you to focus on the legal work which represents your core business.

And finally, how far can the envelope be pushed?

Well, as mentioned before DPSCloud is a full-service solution and we believe it offers firms a route to using the Cloud in a far more comprehensive way than any other solution does. Through DPSCloud law firms are able to implement a secure Private Cloud hosted IT infrastructure delivered from dedicated servers in DPS’s own headquarters database.

The full-service solution means the latest Microsoft Office suite and DPS case management and accounts systems, along with any other applications a firm utilises, can be hosted on these servers. This means that when the transition to a hosted model is complete staff can begin work in a familiar environment with all their critical applications to hand.

When a solution like this is available why would law firms use disparate IT solutions hosted on different cloud platforms? Hosted email here, spam filtering there, case management elsewhere and so on. Surely a much better way to go is on a comprehensive platform that will host all applications so integrated working and complete mobility are achievable?

Moving to The Cloud

The idea of a smooth transition is something DPS have identified as incredibly important to firms considering a hosted solution. We recognise that there can be a lack of buy-in from a firm’s management who can often take the view of “this will be more trouble than it’s worth”. DPSCloud aims to prove this view wrong.

The DPS Route to The Cloud is a comprehensive strategy for change developed to map out a smooth transition. While we appreciate every firm is different and individual tweaks will be necessary it represents a tried and tested process for a firm to move effectively to a hosted model. You can find out more about our Route to The Cloud including a project plan on www.dpscloud.com. When it comes to experience of working with the legal profession, understanding of the market and expertise in the provision of hosted solutions to law firms DPS simply can’t be matched. We deliver the benefits of the Cloud to law firms without the pain associated with change and we take a look at these in the next section:

DPSCloud – the benefits

  • Security: The Private Cloud hosted model challenges the security worries associated with The Cloud concept. Your data and applications are hosted on dedicated servers in the DPS data centre, never anywhere else.
  • Disaster Recovery: Disasters happen and come in many different forms – just look at the solicitors’ offices affected by the August riots. Although they often can’t be prevented, you can’t let a disaster affect your business and with a DPSCloud solution you benefit from an IT infrastructure which will help you to a quick recovery should the worst happen.
  • Business Continuity: Clients’ expectations of service from their solicitor are always increasing and excuses for delays are less likely to be accepted than they were in the past. With DPSCloud staff can work from anywhere and our high-level SLAs guarantee much greater uptime than you could reasonably expect from on-premise IT.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: DPSCloud helps firms take advantage of a rental model on all of their critical software applications. This scalability makes the model perfect for growing firms or firms that need to add and takeaway seats as they work with certain opportunities or market conditions.
  • Focus on Legal Work: Finally, and probably most important, is this overall benefit to legal business strategy that hosted IT can deliver to a firm. IT is mission-critical but not essential to a firm – by delegating responsibility for their IT infrastructure to DPSCloud, legal firms can focus on the life blood of their business and what they do best – their legal work.

Prepare for the future today

More than 100 UK law firms are now taking advantage of a DPSCloud solution and these significant benefits of the model. This makes DPSCloud the leading supplier of hosted IT solutions to the legal profession and our client base continues to grow as more firms realise the potential hosted IT holds for them.

Further information

You can read some DPSCloud case studies here.

DPSCloud also works regularly with firms who, as early-adopters of hosted IT, have systems in place but are now looking to take the next step with a hosting partner that specialises in the provision of solutions to UK law firms.

One such firm is Wolferstans Solicitors of Plymouth and you can read about their decision to implement a DPSCloud solution here.

For more information on DPSCloud and what our hosted IT solution can do for your firm please visit DPSCloud.com or give us a call on 020 8804 1022.

Jonathan Seaton is Head of Marketing at DPS Software, one of the UK’s leading independent legal technology suppliers. In line with DPS’s core aims he has a keen interest in how law firms can improve efficiency and drive for success through the use of cutting-edge legal technology solutions.

Email JSeaton@dpssoftware.co.uk