Below is our comprehensive guide to the cloud installation process for law firms. For the top 4 benefits of Cloud Computing For UK Law Firms please click here.
This is the first survey that is carried out by Denovo Business Intelligence. This meeting takes place after the firm decides that they are interested in what we can offer. The firm has decided it wishes to move on to the next stage, which is discussing how Denovo Business Intelligence can help the firm reach its potential. This initial survey of the firm will aim to ingather enough information about the existing infrastructure, staff numbers, work types, specialisms etc, and will furnish us with sufficient information to enable a quotation to be produced. This quotation which will give the firm an accurate and cost effective recommendation for upgrade to the Cloud based systems.
Once we have understood the client’s aspirations and requirements, Denovo will expertly talk through the features of the software and how it can significantly streamline the firm’s existing working practices. Denovo will outline how our system will help the firm generate more profit and assist the fee earners to be more productive.
We will speak with the Managing Partner or Partner in charge of IT decisions, with a view to establishing what they want to achieve and will discuss how we will manage the entire process seamlessly.
This survey enables us to offer competitive pricing for user licences, any hardware upgrades, additional Intelligent Modules, and additional software requirements. It will also give us an indication of what training and support will be required. We will enquire about the staffing structure, how the Cash Room operates, how many offices/branches the firm has and where they are located.
This will be a fairly comprehensive overview of the firm, although it will not cover in detail any technical specifications the firm presently has as this will be covered in the technical survey.
Proposed implementation / timescales
We understand that timescales are profoundly important as is the notion of any downtime the firm may have as a result of moving to a Cloud based new system. This section will aim to answer any questions the firm may have in relation to timescales.
At the point the firm is happy to proceed with the quotation and the order has been finalised, we will issue the firm with a Schedule of Implementation. The Schedule of Implementation document will form the main project management reference article which will detail all relevant milestones and the dates these will be achieved. We have incorporated an example of this document in this manual in order that the firm can view the sort of information it contains. The firm’s own live Schedule will be provided separately.
At this stage in the process, our Engineers will visit to carry out a detailed technical survey. We will ingather information about:-
In order to competently connect the existing computers, laptops etc to the Cloud, we must establish if the equipment will run under a Cloud environment. It very much depends on the age and specification of the hardware whether it will be able to be used. The alternative solution, should we discover that the equipment does not meet the minimum criteria, is to recommend an upgrade. This may involve acquiring replacement PCs. We usually have a minimum recommended specification for each computer – this is to ensure each machine is Cloud compatible and will run at a reasonably fast speed under a Cloud environment. Any new machine we quote for will automatically meet the requisite specifications. We will look at each existing computer individually and note down the specification.
In addition to looking at the firm’s PCs, we will also check printers and any other devices used to determine if they will operate correctly in a Cloud environment. Again, any recommendations will be made as requested.
Our Engineer will examine the existing Broadband Speed. It is vital when thinking about a Cloud connection that there is a reasonable internet speed. We will carry out a real-time online test while at the firm’s premises to establish if the existing lines/infrastructure can easily cope with a Cloud connection. Should this not be the case, we will discuss what speeds are required, recommend any upgrades to the lines, and will suggest that the firm liaise with its existing telecoms provider.
Existing In-house server
If the existing site has an in-house network server or servers, we will establish exactly what detail is on the server/s with a view to transferring it to Cloud storage. This will include all the existing client case files. We will discuss what this entails and what data the firm would like us to isolate and transfer. We will look at what size the server is in order we can order sufficient storage on the Cloud. We will also investigate what size of Cloud backup storage is required.
We will investigate what software the firm has in situ and whether any local versions are required under the new Cloud system. The firm may require local copies of software for, perhaps digital dictation/voice recognition typing software. Any future software such as Microsoft Office products, will reside on the Cloud, with the exception of the Windows Operating System. However the firm may require additional local copies of Microsoft Office which may be required for laptops/desktops. The Windows Operating System will usually reside on the local computer’s hard disk drive. Sometimes the firm may have a computer which is hardware compatible with the Cloud, however the Windows software and associated components we need to connect to the Cloud may be out of date. We will examine whether the existing versions of Windows are Cloud compatible. We will also note any bespoke/vendor specific software the firm may have such as Client Monies Service, any other banking software, or any specific databases that may ultimately require to be transferred to the Cloud. If Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Powerpoint is used, those would reside in the Cloud. One significant advantage of this is that the firm need not be concerned about multiple versions of Microsoft Word, Outlook or Powerpoint software throughout the office. All software is up to date and the firm doesn’t need to worry about how many licences are purchased or what to do if the software becomes corrupt. We take care of all of the Microsoft licensing arrangements and the licences once they reach their expiry date.
Cash room staff are usually the first people to be exposed to the new system. There are various reasons for this. They require a very thorough understanding of the system with a view to being able to undertake their daily banking and financial tasks. This is crucial for Law Society compliance.
With that in mind, we will quickly ascertain what type of accounting system is in use at the moment and how it operates for the firm. We will obtain a snapshot of the existing system and our Developers will extract data from the accounting system presently in use, with a view to converting it to our Denovo Business Intelligent Accounts. This data is taken away from the premises without interruption to the business and the cashiers can continue working as they would normally. Meantime, our Developers are converting the data to integrate with the new Denovo accounting system.
There may be questions that will arise about how a particular account or ledger is operated, which are easily resolved by discussions with the firm’s Cashiers. Once we are content with the accounting balances we will be ready to transfer the cash room files onto our new system. The Legal Cashiers are often the people who experience the changeover first. This is due to the fact that they need to be fully conversant with the accounting side of the system when the changeover occurs.
The Legal Cashiers will be trained on site at the client’s premises on their own data by our SOLAS Trainer/s. It may be that 2 or 3 training sessions will require to take place as your Cashier/s gets to grips with their new working practices. We train and mentor the Cashiers in every aspect of the Accounts system that they need to carry out their duties. We find that the Cashiers usually feel comfortable enough to work with the new system after they are trained. They are confident in their ability and know there is a safety net of Denovo being a phone call away if they have any queries.
Once the training has been completed for Cashiers, they have full access to the new accounts software via their desktop and are usually the first in any legal firm to have used the new system. Their new system will show live up-to-date balances where the old system left off making the transfer to the new system effortless.
Cloud changeovers tend to take place on a Monday. The reason for this is that we prefer to capture the firm’s data to disc at a particular point in time to ensure that it is absolutely up to date. We find the best way to do this is to copy it to an external hard drive and upload the data to the Cloud storage on a Friday afternoon. The reason we choose to copy the data on a Friday is because frequently little (or no) work gets carried out during the course of a weekend. We would recommend that any work is stored in one location over the weekend and this can easily be transferred once the Cloud storage box is in place. This is especially important with regard to Outlook emails.
In Microsoft Outlook, emails for each person are contained in central files called .PST files. We will transfer these files onto the Cloud Outlook environment. For this reason, there will be a period over the weekend where no emails should be sent or received. We find this system works well with the very minimum disruption to the firm. The emails will be live on the Monday morning once each person logs in.
In terms of any data on the existing server/s, we shall arrive at the firm’s office as near to the weekend of the transfer as possible. We will arrive at the office with an external hard drive called an ICYBOX. It is possible to save large amounts of data on the ICYBOX. The data we extract from the server/s will be encrypted so that it cannot be opened by anyone other than Denovo. We then instruct our secure couriers to uplift the ICYBOX from us and transport it to our secure data centre in England where it will be transferred to the firm’s own dedicated file server. All of this will take place prior to our engineers arriving to reconfigure the PCs to point to the Cloud server. We aim to make the whole process of data transfer seamless.
What takes place during the changeover to the Cloud.
What to expect on the day:
Denovo Engineers will arrive promptly on the day of the changeover. We would strongly advise that in advance of the changeover, the partners inform all staff in the firm that there will be a brief interruption to their work. There will be a short interval where our Engineer requires to be seated at each user’s desk to make alterations to their existing PC, (or where a new PC is ordered, whilst this is being installed). This will result in the user not being able to access his/her workstation, emails, and/or case files during this time. Typically, this will take around 30 minutes per computer, where an existing computer is being used. Where a new machine is being installed, this should take about 40 minutes.
What will our Engineer be doing during those 30 / 40 minutes?
a) Each machine will be configured to connect to the Cloud. This involves our Engineer “pointing” a desktop icon to the Cloud database location. This involves configuring a number of settings on each machine to ensure it connects correctly and automatically every time someone logs in.
b) Setting each user name and password and (if desired) saving these settings on each machine. We also issue a note of every new login and password. This is beneficial for those people who do not wish their machine to remember the login details for security reasons.
c) We will transfer the desktop shortcuts from the old machine to the new machine (if applicable).
d) We will transfer the Outlook Emails and configure them on the Cloud. We will ensure that any shared Outlook Calendar items are accessible and the appropriate permissions set on each one. We will configure any public folders present on Outlook.
e) We will reconfigure all of the network and local printers to work from the Cloud providing they are capable of running under a Cloud environment. We will reload any print macros for each machine. We will reconfigure any multiple tray printers/multi-function devices that are present on the network, again providing they will run under a Cloud environment.
f) We will reconfigure any network or local scanners so they work with the new Cloud environment providing they will run under a Cloud environment.
g) We will reconfigure any Microsoft Word Autotext / Autocorrect settings on the new Cloud version of Microsoft Word.
h) We will set up any shortcuts on the new Cloud desktop to point to the firm’s old data (which was previously located on the local network server/s). This will simply take the form of a desktop icon.
i) We will show everyone how to login to their new machine. We will demonstrate how to operate the Cloud Desktop and explain any changes in working practices that may need to be adopted as a result of the new Cloud system. In-depth training will take place in addition to this short demonstration (see section on Training).
What happens once all computers have been switched over?
All users will now have a new Cloud Desktop and access to the new Cloud Intelligent System. Users will be able to print to all the printers that were previously available, providing they will run under a Cloud environment. Any data previously held on the local server/s will have been transferred to the Cloud server and there will be a shortcut icon on the new Cloud Desktop pointing to the data. The staff can access the data, view, print and save in the usual manner.
We will synchronise the training on the new system with the installation in the firm’s office. See section on training for what will be covered in the training. Members of staff will arrive back at their office after training and be able to use the new Cloud system immediately. For those that are in the office working and not at training, we will advise them when they can go back on to their machines and demonstrate to them how to operate their new system. We will keep staff fully appraised of any progress and will liaise with the nominated person giving full updates throughout the course of the day.
As indicated above, we will synchronise the installation of the Cloud system with when members of staff attend training at our training suite. We have a fully equipped dedicated training suite specifically designed to facilitate bespoke training exclusively to each firm. The first training session will take place whilst our Engineers are installing the Cloud desktops at the firm’s premises. This is to minimise any downtime and to ensure members of staff arrive back at their office fully able to operate their own live Cloud system.
This will be the first of perhaps 2-3 training sessions that will take place, depending on how many training sessions are required. Training is undertaken by very experienced trainers who have in-depth knowledge of the system. Usually, the amount of training will be determined by the types of modules which have been purchased from us. For example, a firm may require training on the Executry or Estate Agency Modules. Training will be given on all elements of the system.
What training will be covered for everyone:
There are areas of the system in which everyone will require training. Training is carried out in groups of 4 or 5 people at our specialist training suite. Training is carried out by our own Trainers, all of whom have had many years experience of demonstrating the system to new and existing clients. Our trainers are highly skilled in all areas of the system and will expertly guide people through the areas needed to operate the new system. Training is carried out on the firm’s own live database. Training will be given with the firm’s own clients and with case files that are familiar to the firm. Each firm will receive bespoke and private training which means that training will not be shared with another firm – it will be exclusively for your firm.
Topics covered include the following:-
- Searching for existing clients using familiar search types/methodologies
- Creating new clients using the Client Creation Wizard
- Creating new matters (cases or case files)
- Linked information used across various matters/clients
- Methods of adding and amending relevant data
- How to use templates to automate processes
- Creation of basic letters, documents and file entries
During the more advanced tutorial, we will demonstrate:-
- How to use/create templates and style letters
- More advanced search techniques to find clients
- How to use time capture/time recording facility
- How to create shell letters and use merge fields
- How to use automation facility such as witness packs etc
- How to create and amend fee notes
- How to use linked companies/linked addresses
- Creation of planned events and actual events
- How to save emails directly from Outlook into the CRM events system
- Different methods of customising the system
Bespoke training is available for an additional fee for firms who wish more in-depth or one-to-one training on any of the above listed points or any other topics.
We realise that there will be a bedding in period as people get to grips with their new Cloud system. During that time we are expecting that members of staff will be unsure of a few things and may need some additional support. We are happy to receive telephone support calls to answer any questions/queries people may have. In addition, if we need to, we are able to log in/dial in to the firm’s live system to help with any problems due to unfamiliarity. There is also a facility through our website for clients to utilise remote dial in access.
We occasionally find that as the client gets used to their new system, they may wish small changes made to “bespoke” or customise the software for them. We encourage clients to discuss any alterations they wish to be made with us. We will probably have been asked the question before by someone else, so we may have a solution ready instantly! Which failing, we will be happy to consider any alterations that a firm may wish to make.
Thereafter, we are of course happy to deal with any ad hoc issues that may arise with the system.
Cloud Computing For Law Firms UK (Scotland, England & Wales, Northern Ireland)
If you wish to set aside the scepticism and embrace Cloud technology, Denovo Business Intelligence are experts at understanding the needs of lawyers. Let us talk to you about a bespoke solution for your business.
Contact Denovo today for a free evaluation of your existing system and future needs to discuss how we can help you take your law firm to the next level. Helping law firms in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Manchester Birmingham and across the UK, we will explain how we can help you operate more profitably – we are not an overhead, we are a profit generator.