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This DLA Piper IT Story Shows What Tech Can Do for Law

Chris Owens

3 min read

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There probably isn’t a better, more concise message about how IT at a law firm can and should deliver value to the business than the one DLA Piper CIO Andrew Gastwirth tells in this Microsoft customer story. It is definitely worth a read to see how DLA Piper IT pulled off a digital transformation.

DLA Piper is a large, multinational law firm. In the course of this project, it moved its 3,500 U.S.-based employees to the cloud with Microsoft 365 in less than a year.

concepts Kraft Kennedy has been emphasizing in our educational efforts in the legal community and in conversations with legal clients over the last two to three years. (While we applaud this technological transformation and work with law firms of all sizes to achieve similar results, I want to clarify that Kraft Kennedy was not involved in this particular project).

IT Should Be a True Business Partner

IT at a law firm should not be in the business of maintaining discrete systems such as networking and email. It needs to understand how each person at the firm affects the business and how their processes and projects solve business problems.

In his article,  Mr. Gastwirth writes:

“Did we want to be in the email business? Did we want to be in the 24/7 support business like network operations or security operations? Our answer to both of those questions was no. Instead of delivering commodity IT, we wanted to embed ourselves in the business and help to further differentiate the firm through technology.”

At Kraft Kennedy, one of our core messages has always been that it is just as important for IT to understand the business of the firm as its technology. We have been working with law firm IT leaders to help them align their work with the business goals of the firm for a long time.

The DLA Piper IT team undertook a project to really get to know the business of the firm, meeting with most of its employees. As a result, the story continues, “we moved beyond emotional discussions about slow connections or misbehaving apps and could present our vision and get feedback.”

DLA Piper IT

Cloud is the Solution, Not the Problem

Cloud is the inevitable next step in the evolution of technology. It allows an entirely new paradigm of capabilities for almost every function within the law firm. The Microsoft article highlights how DLA Piper drew on the power of cloud solutions to increase efficiency, smooth collaboration, and heighten security while also lowering overhead costs:

“By replacing several legacy on-premises solutions, such as Exchange 2010 servers, we’ve experienced direct cost savings from not having to upgrade and maintain older servers. We also phased out many third-party products when we moved to Microsoft 365. Consolidating our environment has given us more time to focus on partnering with the business.”

For cloud analytics, the choice has to be Microsoft Azure. The business intelligence engine dominates the Gartner Magic Quadrant year after year. When your data sets are in Azure, you can leverage the Microsoft BI and Data Analytics engines to gain more insights and understanding than from any other platform. Getting your data sets into Azure unlocks capabilities in business intelligence that are unachievable and/or cost prohibitive with the other platforms.

Image result for gartner magic quadrant business intelligence

Thoughtful Design Leads to Better User Experience and Security

You can achieve both higher productivity and security in an end-user experience by investing time and effort in identifying, re-architecting, and adopting new technologies to streamline and protect services.

For instance, DLA Piper now has Single Sign-On, “giving employees easy access to a number of apps across the business. Additionally, we implemented multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security across these applications.”

The article also mentions how Azure Information Protection has helped the firm automate data retention, which “has traditionally been a big struggle for law firms.”

OneDrive for Business also provides a secure and integrated way to share files with clients outside the firm.

Read the story for full details about the solutions implemented.

By providing a better experience for clients and improving efficiency, DLA Piper’s IT team is directly contributing to the firm’s competitiveness. And, by providing its legal professionals and IT team with cutting-edge solutions, it is also making itself a highly attractive workplace for both legal and IT talent.

Are you ready to transform your business? Get in touch with us to discuss how you can get started.