Bringing Legal Services Up To Date

Legal Services Act 2007

legal1The legal industry is going through a period of intense transformation, with profit margins under ever-increasing pressure from clients, competitors and legislators. The Legal Services Act is driving the creation of new entrants and services into the market, with big brands such as the AA, the Co-operative Group and BT now able to own and run legal companies for the first time.

The legal system in England & Wales hadn’t changed for 300 years, the Legal Services Act 2007 introduced a new level of competition within the legal services industry that will increase and result in wider access to justice. With new entrants to the market, the changes will also provide wider access to a commercial environment that is more accustomed to developing cost-effective legal services.

Unique Requirements

The legal profession has specialist workflows, a dependency on paper and unique information processes, which makes its needs very specific. Firms are obliged to keep documents for certain periods of time and are beholden to strict regulations around data protection and storage.

Failure to correctly manage data can lead to heavy fines for non-compliance, reputational loss and legal action from clients. New European data protection laws introduced in March 2015 mean that companies found in breach of users’ personal data rights will also risk heavy fines.

However, by allowing new powerful entrants to the market smaller high-street law firms will be exposed to competition that is already well established with greater capabilities and existing retail presence. It seems that outdated and outmoded business practices will be squeezed out by the entry of new providers, and so traditional firms may use the Act as a catalyst for change to the way they operate.

legal5An obvious sign of change will be the disappearance of clerks wheeling in barrow loads of papers; all documents will be available, on computer through the Digital Case System, to all members of the court. The present, numerous, bundles of documents will be replaced by a single electronic bundle that can be displayed on a large screen in court. The government is pushing these changes by investing £700+ million in the digital system and judges are encouraging documents to be presented in digital form.

It, therefore, follows that both new providers and traditional firms will have to be prepared to present their documentation in the way that will be expected. This will mean having the right systems and equipment to digitise potentially large volumes of documents.

Archiving

Archiving of documents is already a common office function indexing, archiving and ready access to information is a key requirement but it is not unusual for firms to encounter problems with hard copy document storage & retrieval. Many solicitors will be familiar with a story of a missing paper file, the content of which is key to the matter in hand and the implications of non-accessibility are serious.

Large firms may have the scale, volume of work and profitability to create their own technology-led solution to their file archiving requirements. However, many smaller firms continue to rely on the conventional storage and retrieval services that were created before the technology and digital revolution took place The actual cost of these archives is often not fully appreciated, both in terms of physical office space or the resource spent filing, searching for and retrieving documents. Physical archives are also at greater risk of being destroyed or damaged. To move these smaller firms on may require guidance in order to take advantage of modern technology giving them access to the same functionality, efficiency and cost savings of larger firms.

Paper-Free?

Whilst a paperless society is unlikely ever to exist the current initiative will boost the uptake and acceptance of digital documents and firms need to be ready; either with systems to incorporate documents produced digitally or from scanned originals to then create ‘digital bundles’ to present in court.

legal2For more general applications within a legal practice, whatever the reason for requiring the data, instant access to the information and knowledge contained within a file would be an ideal requirement for many firms. Not only would this save time and minimise risk but it would also reduce costs, increase profitability and allow a more efficient service to clients. The latter being an important differentiator in competitive times.


Saving money 

The digital age now allows scanning and imaging of files within the firm with the latest equipment and software. Whilst all the options available can seem daunting, with right advice leading to the right solution many tasks can be simplified and automated.

A digital system will mean you need not be subjected to cost of on-site or, worse, off-site storage with the ongoing retrieval costs.  You will no longer have to wait for files to be collected and sent back to your offices. Even when the boxes of hard copy data are located and delivered back to the office someone still has to go through the box, searching  files and papers to find the required, relevant piece of information.  This compared to the touch of a button illustrates the potential for massive time and cost savings and data security.
Final Note

Many companies that have made the switch to digitisation still believe they are legally bound to archive hard copies when many regulators accept electronic records that are created and stored in-house. These records will also be legally admissible in court if scanned to British Standard BS10008:2008. Firms that keep paper copies ‘just in case’, need to be aware that keeping records beyond the legal requirement is not compliant with the Data Protection Act and exposes their businesses to legal liability.

Here to Help

With a range of multi-functional printers, printers, scanners and various software solutions ITQ have the flexible solutions and the knowledge and experience to help you determine your digital document pathway. Helping you streamline your business taking account of legislation and British Standards whilst making your firm more efficient and saving you money, to find out how ITQ can be of assistance please contact us on 01635 874848 or check out the web.

A Look Back to the Future

A pushy hard sell? That’s so 2000! This humorous take on the old way of selling had folks at a recent Kyocera conference nodding and laughing. The skit perfectly portrays the old mentality of “feeds and speeds” selling in stark contrast to ITQ’s current Total Document Solutions approach. Take a look!

It’s two years later and our friendly Kyocera dealer and certified Total Document Solutions specialist Jerry is on the golf course with his favourite client John, who is facing a tricky merger. It’s a classic dealer/client encounter, presented with a smile. Spoiler alert: thanks to his Total Document Solution training from Kyocera, Jerry hits a hole in one.
Thanks to Kyocera Document Solutions for sharing this.
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To check out the future telephone 01635 874848, or web
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UNIform – From big paper to big data

The change of focus from paper to data should not start with reducing the paper but on how the data can be collected and used across multiple applications.  Collecting data without paper will follow naturally and make the data intelligent in that it connects to your applications and databases. This type of approach to business process is crucial and the adoption of this focus on data will make moving from paper to data a much easier transition. Remember, the easy spaper_to_datatarting point is to consider how to collect the data, the next step is how to use the data and the final process how to manage the process, not a thought about paper.

ITQ were approached by Wellington College (one of the world’s top coeducational boarding schools) with a scenario that fitted this thought process perfectly. Wellington College wanted to manage better and reduce the forms used in the school’s admission process. Previously the process involved the College sending out a pack (by courier) of 28 forms that had be completed by the parents, data was repeated on many of the forms. ITQ’s answer was UNIform a web based data and forms solution designed in partnership with the College.

Parents can now sign in to UNIform’s web portal and complete all the forms, automatically replicating data where required. Wellington College parents are located all over the world and the presentation and user experience of the admissions portal was crucial to the reputation of the College.

Data is now collected easier, the parents only enter data once and can come and go to the site as often as they need as they collect the potential students details. There are no bulky packages to send and return but the paper did not figure in the solution, it was all about the data.

But what makes UNIform unique is its flexibility in that it can be tailored to individual requirement in terms of presentation, collecting data and output options. The flexibility means UNIform can be completely customised for any business or organisation, not just educational; to create workflows, to manage data, to segment and route data to the appropriate administrator for processing. Processed data can then be analysed and exported to an existing document management system, database or electronic folder structure.

This bold example of forward thinking shows how you can move from paper to data, removing data entry, improving the customer experience and creating the ‘paper light’ office.

For more information visit our web site or,

Download a brochure UNIform

What does your Font Cost?

Inside A.S. Watson Fortress And Watsons Stores As Temasek Diversifies From China Banks With Hutchison Whampoa's Retail Arm

One of the most common fonts used in business is Times New Roman, but is it the most cost effective?

A bit of history first.

Times New Roman was designed in 1932. The Times newspaper introduced it in response to a criticism about its newspaper being printed badly and typographically behind the times. In response, The Times commissioned a typeface design company to improve the newspaper’s “economy of space” and “legibility”. The resulting design, Times New Roman, is based on the Plantin typeface redesign of 1913, the original design of which goes back to the 16th century Garamond typeface. Times New Roman is appropriate for reading plain texts such as contracts as it has a firm authoritative ‘look and feel’

The alternative, therefore, is Garamond. The design that is currently in use was originally designed in the mid sixteenth century. This member of the Roman type family has survived the centuries because of its remarkable readability. As one of the oldest typefaces, Garamond conveys a sense of solid tradition, yet is still soft and attractive thanks to its elegantly rounded serifs and its diagonally emphasised strokes.

Whilst what font you use may be a matter of individual taste or company policy have you ever considered the relevant cost of using a particular font? I would guess not.

A recent study in the US carried out by a 14-year-old student details how the U.S. government could save about $234 million a year by simply switching the type of font that is used on printed documents.

In his study, young Suvir Mirchandani, found that Garamond is a more efficient font than Times New Roman for printing. This is because Garamond uses thinner strokes for its letters, meaning less ink or toner is used on each character.

He found that the saving by switching fonts would amount to 29%. Based on his research and randomly choosing an HP cartridge (an HP301XL) with an average page cost of 5p (based on HP pricing and yield), changing font you could save almost 1.5p per page or over £7 for every ream of paper you use.

This research may have been done by a young man with too much time on his hands but it is certainly worth bearing in mind.

If you would like to see how ITQ could make substantial savings on your printing/copying download our white paper.

Streamline Your Scanning

PinPoint Scanning

When it comes to scanning, PinPoint Scan gives users more options and more control when scanning from your ITQ multi-functional device.

This Kyocera-developed business application lets you choose the exact destination for your scan, it’s highly secure, SSL-encrypted, and subject to user-assigned PIN codes and restrictions.

With PinPoint Scan you can define your own scan destinations, whether they are folders on your PC, an e-mail address or even an application that is automatically opened.

PinPoint Scan is remarkably easy to set up: first, install a small application on your PC, then define your personal PIN code and preferred scan destinations. On the MFP simply enter your PIN code and immediately see all your previously defined scan destinations directly on the control panel of the MFP.

  • Scan to folder – Save the scanned file directly on your desktop or in any folder on your PC.
  • Scan to email – Simply send the scanned document in a new email to your email address.
  • Scan to application – Send the document to applications supporting PDF files.

Users can define and change their personal scan settings by themselves in a user-friendly menu. Fast and easy – The intuitive installation and interface guarantee that anyone can operate the application without difficulty.

From Scanning to Workflow ITQ offers a wide range of applications to streamline scanning for any business from small to large. With Pinpoint Scan, users can easily scan to their PC which makes scanning faster and easier. Other solutions offer OCR, barcode recognition and advanced features for workflow automation and full document management.

Talk to ITQ to find out how we can improve your efficiency and save costs.

Tel: 01635 874848

12 signs you should invest in electronic document management

Is this your business?

Is this your business?

Electronic document management has been around for a long time.  In spite of its longevity there are still a large number of companies who have not considered it as a tool for improving their business operations.

This is largely due to an inertia that just leaves companies doing what they have been familiar with for many years.  Unfortunately they miss the signs that point to a need to consider a new way of dealing with their short term and long term records.

Signs that you might be missing in your office.

  1. Paper filing cabinets never seem to get cleaned out.  The need for new ones keeps growing and growing.
  2. Office workers find themselves hunting each day for important files they need to do their work.  They might even go to the step of posting on a white board the      details of what they are looking for to enable others to help in the hunt.
  3. You find yourself looking for new multi form printers.  Even using dot matrix impact printers so you can create paper forms to route to various departments.
  4. The pile of back filing that grows on the filing cabinets never goes away since it is no-one’s job.
  5. No-one is charged with the responsibility to determine when old files can be shredded.  They just get boxed and stuck in the back warehouse with a date on them.
  6. When someone goes on holiday the ability for others in the office to deal with their files is a big challenge.  Often the work just gets delayed till they return.
  7. Shipments get delayed because the paperwork for matching POs and inventory is not available on time.
  8. Dealing with pdf files from outside contractors and suppliers leads to increased print loads so the system can access the information on them.
  9. You are still highly dependent upon fax in your office.
  10. You get daily enquiries from your account reps wanting to know the status of their account deliveries.
  11. You begin to see your customers broaden their supplier base and dealing with competitors on some products you used to supply to them.
  12. You have several employees who don’t regularly come to the office but work out of remote locations while still needing access to client files.

There are probably other signals which you might recognise in your office as well but the above twelve are common ones.  In some offices you will see all twelve while in some others a handful of these signs will dominate your workflow.

If you go down the list and identify with six or more, then you should look seriously at the potential to move your systems over to a structured electronic document management software platform.  The effort to do this will be well rewarded by improved productivity, less risk and happier employees.

Don’t decide based only on perceptions

Determining that there is a need for change is not a big challenge.  With some assistance it is possible to quantify the impacts of your current systems and figure out what the level of benefit that would be required to make the changes viable and cost effective.  Sometimes you may be surprised by the level of challenge that is created by how you are currently working.

The investment level required to be able to implement a move to electronic document management is much less today than most companies will expect.  Hardware and software costs are substantially lower than historically was the case.  Working with ITQ will also help you avoid many of the pitfalls which can be experienced when inexperienced people try to build their own solution.

Original article on Leppert