How tech is changing the game for legal services

‘Game changers’, an in vogue label for all things new in technology. Whilst much has been made of the near revolution in technology since the millennium bug, some of the issues and concepts have developed to a reality and are anything but a passing fad. Let’s look at four such headliners; big data, consumerisation, cloud computing and cybercrime.

Big data means many things to many people. At one end of the scale is the issue of consumption and manageability and, at the other, it’s high cost data analytics, noises of artificial intelligence and essentially getting this data to work for you. Consumer demand has forced the hand of many businesses to move to an ‘everything online’ digital model. Some businesses have made conscious choices to be more accessible online and others have drifted there unaware perhaps of the reliance on their infrastructures and the consumption of storage. But what to do with all this data you are now tangling with? On the one hand protecting it and staying inside the data protection laws is one headache to treat, the other and for the enlightened, how to use advanced tools to make the most of it using quality business intelligence tools to spot trends and, ultimately, the holy grail of complex algorithms making choices for the business based on years’ worth of data.

Consumerisation has moved the big data subject into another league almost overnight in relative terms. Consumerisation is the term describing the advent of the smart phone, 3G networks, broadband and tablets all landing nearly simultaneously. Access to information and services from any device and any location has driven the business community to build at speed, a digital experience and there have been some notable successes. Allied to the proliferation of the smart phone and tablets, their ability to generate large quantities of multi-media content, such as video clips and photos, has accelerated the corporate demand for storage and, in the process, has speeded up the desire to extract business intelligence from volumes of data.

Accessing all of this data from any device anywhere has re-launched an old concept of cloud computing. Similar to big data, depending on who you talk to you get a different answer. Cloud and its various connotations means not having to worry where the computing and the storage is, suffice to know it is at the end of a URL. The data and the service is important, not the infrastructure. Moving a classic IT operation in a business out into the cloud has plenty of upside and some downside but, in any event, for business leaders it creates the potential for a flexible business model – ready access for customers to products/services and a workforce with geographical freedom. Not being tied to particular locations or technical talents opens the door to endless possibilities.

With all this data available on any device anywhere, cybercrime and issues of data protection and privacy have been all over the press in recent years. Sadly this is unlikely to change as we become more liberated as individuals in readily sharing information about ourselves and too often naively. In an increasingly litigious society, the risks and costs of managing and defending data is growing exponentially. So whilst cybercrime is not a technology we embrace to change the game of business and life, it’s an unfortunate consequence of the other great steps forward for mankind.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

Richard Hodkinson

Chief Technology Officer

I shape the internal IT function at DWF to drive and deliver investments already made in technology. I seek to creatively change the firm’s operational arrangements to enable the business to be competitive and exceed our client’s expectations.