Managing technology assets

Originally featured on NatWest Content Live

Ensuring your business has the right technology to remain competitive is a key issue in any industry. Steve Arundale, head of professional services at NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland, looks at the importance for law firms and how the industry will continue to be shaped by IT capability.

Early results from our 2016 Benchmarking Report suggest that SME-sized firms witnessed a further improvement in revenue of 6% during 2015. This, in turn, is supporting improved profits and is facilitating the development of technology investment strategies.

A survey for our report, entitled ‘A Perspective on the Legal Market’, suggests that across larger firms 96% believe that IT systems are a source of competitive advantage and technology related spend now represents over 7% of total overhead costs.

Of course, business efficiency is a critical ambition of technology investment, delivering improved processing capability, case management, client relationship and financial reporting. Additionally we are now seeing many firms looking to update their systems in order to improve security against cyber attacks with many viewing this as a significant future risk.

There is little doubt that a knowledge-based industry will continue to be influenced and shaped by advancement in IT capability, and artificial intelligence (AI) is already predicted to have a transformational influence on the way legal services are undertaken in the future.

Against this background, it makes sense for firms to adopt a rolling and integrated approach when it comes to supporting their ongoing technology needs. An approach that needs to maximise the ongoing benefits of a firm’s technology inventory and a programme that:

  • ensures that technology investment supports the business strategy
  • delivers configured and installed systems to support early go forward benefits
  • is funded in the most cash-flow and tax-efficient way
  • manages, maintains and insurers the technology assets
  • maximises the residual value at the end of the asset lifecycle or disposes of equipment in line with current legislation

The world will continue to see rapid technological developments and firms will need to continue to invest if they are to innovate, grow and become more successful.

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