More and more you are now seeing IT organisations concentrating and specialising in one particular area; be it digital signatures or ID Verification. Not only are they vying to become the industry leader, but they are also wholeheartedly embracing the now common approach of providing an API; namely a way for other firms to connect to their service offering.
This paradigm of opening the doors of collaboration has even seen the likes of Microsoft over the past 10 years move more towards opening up the secrets, i.e. code, of their products to collaborate more with others in the industry.
So a question arises for other service providers; do they integrate with an existing 3rd party or effectively reinvent the wheel? This can be an easy answer if they simply do not have the in house expertise to develop and provide said service however what if they do have the ability to start the journey with your team? This can then become more of a discussion of whether it financially makes sense to plough in the internal development hours or whether the end goal is bigger and so integrating with others will become a means to an end.
A Law Firm Perspective
As a law firm, you want to efficiently complete tasks and transactions in a cost-effective manner. You’d like one system to do everything but have to balance that with ease of use, cost, and the reality of whether such a system exists. When you do approach legal solution providers you’d like to have the experience of dealing with one firm and not a myriad of firms all specialising in their own areas.
So, what should you expect from your solution provider? As mentioned, they will have a lot of options for each of the services required and should have applied time and thought when considering the 3rd parties they are combining.
It’s a ‘pick & mix’ where they should have considered factors such as:
- The technical prowess of the integration; technology evolves and it is important that we keep up to date with it. A key litmus test is how technically easy it is for disparate applications to undertake the integration.
- The security of the integration; has the relevant security testing taken place and is this regularly reviewed?
- Is the integration constantly worked on so that there is an evolving roadmap which responds to community requests?
- The pricing; is there a transparent and adaptable pricing model?
- How responsive, knowledgeable, and approachable is the support team?
In many ways, the points above are not necessarily the headache for a law firm. You want a solution with a clear statement on pricing and what will be delivered. What is happening behind the scenes may not be your concern or even your cup of tea. Having said that, an argument could be made that asking some questions around the integrations being made in the solution should form part of your due diligence. You will then be looking to see how much due diligence your direct solution provider has made.