Does your law firm need a quarter inch drill?
"People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!"
This famous quote by Harvard Business School marketing professor Theodore Levitt has informed marketers’ thinking for years. People want a particular benefit from a product rather the product itself, so the solution (product design) should be based around the most effective way to deliver that benefit.
The same is true for legal Business Intelligence or Management Information systems. No law firm wants to buy a Business Intelligence system. What law firm management teams need is easy access to timely and accurate management information. Whether that information is provided by “Enterprise level Business Intelligence tools” or a network of Excel spreadsheets is not the point. The point is: how easy do these solutions make it for managers to access that timely and accurate information?
Unfortunately, too often in my experience, law firms wishing to improve their access to quality management information start by trying to identify the most powerful, flexible tool (drill) and then work out how to meet their particular needs with it.
Standard business intelligence software will give law firms basic tools to define a set of dashboards. But such general purpose systems will need building from scratch to rarely do they help to define what information those dashboards should show for law firms, and how to optimise design for users (some of this is covered in my recent post on building an effective law firm MIS, and I’ll be focusing on digital dashboard design soon on the blog).
How to deliver the quarter inch hole:
- Start with the hole, not the tool - let your business strategy define your management information solution, not the other way round
- Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Mixing my metaphors here – if there’s a drill that does the job, use it. Don’t waste time trying to design a new one.
What we deliver with the SmartEye management information system is an out of the box set of dashboards that typically provide for 70-80% of the requirements of our law firm clients. The remaining 20-30% of the firm’s own specific needs are then provided for by tailoring from that out of the box “starting point” – a much faster and more cost effective approach than starting with a clean sheet of paper.
It’s not just about tools, it’s about the overall solution. You don’t want to buy Business Intelligence software. What you want is good quality management information. And the quickest, easiest and most cost effective way to get there is to work with experts in law firm management information solutions.
If you’d like to find out more or discuss improvements to your law firm management information system, contact us by email or call 0845 6806 843.