Using data in your PMS system more effectively to manage the firm’s profitability and financial return to owners has always been at the forefront of FilePro’s software development. In 2016, FilePro launched a new feature to deliver timely Dashboards for different roles in a law firm. These have been extremely popular.
To make sure our clients have options to create their own dashboards, we have been working with the team that has developed Practice Intelligence, a customisable management dashboard tool. For those firms who are looking for this, we have completed the integration work and are now looking for firms who would like to help us with the finishing touches. Here is their story so far.
Practice Intelligence – our story
We all know that getting information out of your management system in a timely, meaningful and usable format is the key to understanding how your firm, your teams and people are performing. Traditional reports may give you the data you require but it is very rarely useful at every level. This is why FilePro launched their very popular dashboards back in 2016.
Our journey started a few years ago when we were approached by a law firm who wanted to automate their report writing process and deliver the information in a more visual format. During this journey it became obvious that they wanted a lot more than that. They wanted their whole team on the same page for the good of the firm which meant the data had to tell a story to each person in the firm – this project turned out to be a lot more comprehensive than anticipated.
After almost a year of working with this single firm, our custom report writing team took the data and delivered a more tailored and interactive analysis and in the process, we learned a lot about managing a legal practice. Word spread and other firms soon signed up, so we gave our dashboards the name “Practice Intelligence” and started rolling it out to other like-minded firms.
Practice Intelligence became a series of interactive management dashboards divided up into 2 main sections. The management dashboards are only for partners and management, and there are 3 dashboard pages for individual fee earners that show their own performance metrics. With the individual fee earner dashboards, there were some objections including “management doesn’t want to micromanage their staff” and “we don’t want our team to feel like big brother is watching.” Interestingly, the opposite happened, and everyone ended up on the same page as staff wanted to understand how they are performing with one general manager stating “We hire very intelligent people, and then manage them like they are children. Making the data available largely means that staff understand what is expected of them and are managing themselves.”
Over time, the firms using Practice Intelligence began using data to make better decisions, understand their staff and develop their businesses. This allowed us to put together a user group dubbed Central Intelligence to look for the upper limits of how the data can be used. We haven’t found the upper limit as once firms have a little data, they want more and more, so the journey is ongoing. Interestingly, every firm we have worked with has a different challenge that are all subtly different.
Here is what some firms are already finding:
- Management meetings have changed from discussing the P&L, how the WIP and debtors are looking, and how much money there is in the bank, to engaged discussions about what story the data is telling them.
- One firm reported that their fee earners were now recording an additional 30 minutes per day on average each without doing any more work, due to time recording being front of mind and the fee earners tracking their own progress. For this firm, 30 minutes per day equated to an additional $90,000.00 in recorded time per month.
- Practice Intelligence shows trends and patterns so partners can see the results of the changes they have made in their firm.
- We discovered that some partners were not engaged in the numbers as they either didn’t understand them, or they weren’t in a format they could follow. This meant there was a level of frustration and anxiety around what was happening in the firm. Providing a visual and investigable dashboard allowed these partners to understand what was happening and even ask some insightful questions.
- Staff reviews have become less about performance and more about career development and training opportunities. The performance discussions are more frequent and often instigated by the staff member rather than their manager.
If you would like to see at how Practice Intelligence works, our team is looking for firms who use FilePro and can assist to put the final touches on Practice Intelligence before we make it available to FilePro users. Please register your interest here.
Sam Jones is the business development manager at IT Simply, a technology company that specialise in delivering the right technology to law firms. Sam’s experience in the professional services sector has taken him around the world and his experience allows him and his team to translate where technology works for individual firms. Sam understands how law firms operate to a very high level and enjoys the journey he is on with his clients. To find out more visit – https://www.itsimply.co.nz