To Build or to Buy? Finding the Right LegalTech Solutions for Your Organization
OnTask is a workflow automation tool that makes doing business easy for a variety of organizations, including those in the LegalTech industries. We recently partnered with the teams at Accusoft and Law.com to bring you the educational webinar, “Build or Buy? Learning Which is Best for Your Firm or Department”, hosted by editor-in-chief of Legaltech News, Zach Warren and featuring Neeraj Rajpal, CIO of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, and Kelly Wehbi, Head of Product at Gravity Stack, a subsidiary of the Reed Smith law firm.
During this discussion, speakers discussed what elements influence their decision making process the most when it comes to building vs. buying LegalTech software solutions. Here’s what to keep in mind if you’re weighing options.
What to Know Before Getting Started
It comes as no surprise that both Rajpal and Wehbi agree, making the right decision takes careful investigation of the problem which firms or legal departments are trying to solve. This involves asking the right questions to end users to fully define what pain points currently exist and the potential value a solution could bring to a firm or department.
“A lot of the time this comes down to a matter of efficiency,” shares Wehbi. “It’s not necessarily solving a new problem or one that hasn’t been solved, but it’s trying to improve something that is very manual, or requires a lot of people or time.”
During the requirements gathering phase, asking the right questions can highlight whether an organization has taken the time to define what these are. This is an important consideration, notes Rajpal, as issues tend to arise when firms don’t take the scope or magnitude of an upcoming challenge into consideration.
For firms, staying agile and having the willingness to accept change plays a role in the success of technology roll-out. When current processes lack clarity or if employees refuse to consider changing the way they work, a new solution won’t make a difference. Whether you’re buying a new solution or starting with a buildable option, the first steps to take are getting buy-in from leadership and gaining a true understanding of the company culture of the organization in question.
The Pros of Buying
SaaS services tend to be more cost-effective and easier to implement, making them ideal for IT departments with limited resources. Depending on the solution you choose, they come with a variety of different features that can solve multiple problems at a smaller organization. Support is also an important consideration, with most pre-built solutions offering workflow build assistance and troubleshooting when needed.
The Cons of Buying
Buying an out-of-the-box solution can mean less customization options and control over internal infrastructure and data management. Vendors tend to manage security, meaning customers have less insight into how sensitive data is being managed behind the scenes. Further, if your trusted vendor discontinues or sunsets a product, transitioning to a new provider may prove difficult.
The Right Solution When Buying
Not every organization has the development resources to start from scratch and build a solution. For smaller law departments and firms, out-of-the-box cloud-based solutions tend to provide the best experience. Buying an SaaS LegalTech solution such as OnTask can save firms time and money, eliminating common development challenges that come with building a solution.
Simplified Document Management
Legal firms need an easy way to make edits to documents. With OnTask, users can easily create legal contracts and route them to the appropriate parties for review and signature. Documents in OnTask can also feature dynamic fields like checkboxes, data columns, or text fields for easy data collection. All eSignatures collected in OnTask are legally binding and secure.
OnTask allows legal teams to create templates for the forms they use most, eliminating the need to hunt down the right document each time the need arises. These templates can be managed on a section-by-section basis, meaning individual clauses can be edited, removed or added as needed to combat the need to create a new document every time a new client is onboarded.
OnTask allows for redlining and two-way communication on documents, allowing for easier negotiations and contract updates. Documents can be updated automatically, while version controls allow all parties to see any new changes to the document to ensure the most recent version of the document is viewers. Notification tools also allow users to automatically signal to participants when it is their time to review.
Keeping Client Data Secure
OnTask meets data requirements for eDiscovery by keeping data stored for up to six years upon entry. Legal firms also have the ability to set destruction dates for contracts, case documents and more. Our platform is SOC2, HIPAA, and FERPA compliant, making it easy to stay within regulation and safeguard client data. And, all data collected through OnTask can be easily integrated with your firm’s CRM software.
The Pros of Building
An advantage of building your own solution is that your application can be customized to meet your exact specifications. An in-house developed solution also makes integration easier with legacy systems that may be used at your legal organization. And, having the ability to manage your solution end-to-end gives complete control means you can control functionality, data management, and create your own security methods.
The Cons of Building
It takes a lot of time and resources that could be spent elsewhere to build a solution from scratch. In the long-term, building a solution can also create technical debt that must be maintained over time and could potentially create integration issues in the future. Additionally, the heavy cost of creating a solution from the ground up can make it challenging to offset costs and justify spend if it isn’t bringing enough value to your organization.
A Robust Build Option for Firms
For larger firms, or those with a pre-established, in-house document management solution, SDK and API integrations can be the best way to customize and gain greater functionality. Accusoft’s PrizmDoc Suite allows features advanced HTML controls and REST APIs, creating powerful document viewing capabilities, conversion, editing, and assembly capabilities to web-based applications.
For law firms and legal departments, having an automation solution which allows for easy creation and management of complex, multi-part contracts is essential. Accusoft’s PrizmDoc Editor allows legal teams to assemble sections of pre-existing text into new content that is searchable and dynamic. This product easily integrates with existing applications, delivering secure in-browser support for lawyers gathering assets.
With the onset of digital documents, legal firms have adapted new approaches to the discovery process. eDiscovery is a means for keeping client data safe, while making the process easier for lawyers involved. For eDiscovery to be successful, it requires the right features, such as file format support, search functionality, and digital rights management (DRM) tools capable of protecting secure data. PizmDoc Viewer is a scalable toolkit, featuring annotation capabilities for easy proofreading and document collaboration, review, and feedback. Complete with an HTML5 viewer that include whitelabeling support for full integration, PrizmDoc Viewer is an all inclusive eDiscovery solution.
Data capture, optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities, and file conversion make managing and reviewing cases simple. ImageGear SDK was developed to help legal teams skip the hassle of dealing with third-party viewing applications or downloading additional software to access their case data, no matter the format. It can also be used to convert a wide array of file types in PDF/A documents to ensure firms stay within federal regulations. Additionally, converted files are easily searchable and can be easily tagged with identifiable client information.
Listen in on the Whole Conversation
Listen in on the full webinar to learn more about what considerations need to be made when deciding whether buying or building software is right for your law practice. Access an on-demand version of the webinar here. To learn more about how OnTask is helping professionals in the legal space simplify their process, start your free 14-day trial or contact us today to speak with a product expert.