What is SWOT
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Let’s take a brief look at each component:
- Strengths – These are the strong points that exist within your practice – the assets that persist no matter the outside market. An example would be 20 years of experience practicing law. That is a strength that the market cannot diminish.
- Weaknesses – These are the problem areas or potential problem areas within your firm. Small profit margins, poor cash flow, and inadequate staffing are all examples of law firm weaknesses.
- Opportunities – These are outside market forces that, if leveraged correctly, could greatly benefit your practice. It may be an untapped practice area that looks promising or an influx of new residents (potential clients) into your community.
- Threats – These are aspects of a business that could lead to the closing of your law practice. They often involve or stem from your internal weaknesses as well as external factors.
For a more detailed discussion about the benefits of conducting SWOT analyses within a law firm, click here.
Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise Billing Solutions
Firm leaders can also effectively apply a SWOT analysis when choosing between a cloud-based or on-premise billing solution. Cloud-based billing software uses cloud computing servers to provide firms with on-demand legal invoicing and time tracking services via the internet. On-premise billing systems utilize a physical server located within the law office to provide lawyers with invoicing services.
Though cloud-based billing solutions have been available for years now, many attorneys still prefer the tradition of on-premise providers. However, a quick SWOT analysis demonstrates how much attorneys miss out on when by refusing to make the transition to cloud-based billing. Let’s do the analysis together:
On-Premise Billing Solutions
- Strengths – Most of the strengths commonly associated with on-premise billing solutions have to do with the perceived security of seeing the server physically present within your office. For example:
- Some attorneys take comfort in knowing exactly where the associated router is located. They may still have questions or doubts about cloud-based technologies, so they prefer the ability to see and touch the on-premise option.
- With on-premise solutions, lawyers may feel more empowered to take steps towards physically securing the router.
- Some lawyers just prefer to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors including using the same systems that have been used for generations.
- The potential for a security breach is higher with an on-premise billing solution because most law firms do not have dedicated cybersecurity staff to consistently address these problems.
- An on-premise router may be damaged or destroyed by such physical threats as fire, theft, or natural disaster.
- Maintaining and/or repairing an on-premise router can be extremely costly, potentially leaving law firms with nonworking useless billing systems.
- Many of the on-premise billing solutions are notorious for their elevated learning curves. If law firm staff members do not understand the software, they cannot effectively use it.
- On-premise legal billing service providers typically do offer annual updates and upgrades
- They may also offer features other than standard invoicing options.
- Should an on-premise router malfunction, the cost of repair can be prohibitively high, threatening the ability of a law firm to create and send emails for an extended period of time.
- Many on-premise service providers charge exorbitant fees for annual updates and upgrades. Without proper updates, the software becomes even more vulnerable to breaches.
- Data breaches can prove extremely costly for attorneys from the financial expense to the toll it can take on your reputation.
- Many of these legacy systems routinely receive negative reviews regarding substandard customer support. Without adequate support and guidance from the provider, the software can become useless and a waste of money.
Cloud-Based Billing Solution
- Cloud-based legal billing providers work diligently to create and maintain a service that is highly reliable and available with state-of-the-art security measures.
- The cloud-based model enables providers to offer a variety of complimentary features, such as document storage and expense tracking.
- Cloud-based systems offer advanced mobility that today’s legal profession needs to handle tasks and billing in an efficient manner.
- Cloud-based billing does not require the space, maintenance, repair, or safekeeping of a physical server.
- Many cloud-based billings solutions are far more affordable than their on-premise counterparts.
- Weaknesses – Most of the perceived weakness of cloud-based legal billing stems from unjustified fears about cloud technology. For example:
- Attorneys who do not understand the technology and security involved with cloud storage may fear that their client and firm data is less secure.
- Firm leaders may worry that there will be a steeper learning curve for employees as they try to navigate these cloud-based systems.
- Firm leaders may also fear the transition process, under the belief that they could lose a valuable client and firm data during the move from on-premise to the cloud.
- The streamlined procedures available through cloud-based legal billing software provide law firms with a faster more efficient invoicing process.
- Faster invoices lead to faster and more complete client payments.
- The top cloud-based legal billing providers are constantly coming up with new and innovative features to offer their customers.
- The top cloud-based legal billing providers also offer a structured and secure transition process that takes the specific needs of your firm into account for the safety and protection of client and firm data.
- In the age of technology, the risk of a security breach is always present. While even a single breach can prove detrimental to a law firm, a cloud-based system is still more secure than on-premise options. This is because the most reputable service providers have teams and resources dedicated to constantly identifying threats and preventing breaches.
- Choosing the wrong cloud-based legal billing provider can also prove harmful to a law firm. That’s why it’s important for attorneys to do their homework and look at customer reviews. Pick a software with a proven track record of excellent service.
Cloud-Based Legal Billing Solutions Win the SWOT Analysis
Even a SWOT analysis demonstrates the many benefits of cloud-based legal billing solutions over on-premise options. TimeSolv is a cloud-based solution that consistently provides excellent service and support to its users. To learn more, click this website link for a free, no-obligation trial.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, Personal Touch Edits, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.