Lawyers today routinely work off their smartphones and mobile devices to conduct business and yet some firms are reluctant to deploy enterprise systems in the Cloud, preferring on-premises implementations instead. Rightly, organisations are concerned about security, but at the risk of repetition, very few organisations can provide the level of investment in cybersecurity and continued development that the large global Cloud providers are demonstrating on a daily basis.
There are substantial efficiency, functionality and cost benefits of deploying enterprise applications in the Cloud. A number of our clients who have moved their document and email management system to the Cloud have significantly reduced their annual expenditure. Furthermore, the additional functionality that they received as part of a Cloud-based offering – i.e. secure file sharing, mobile device support and collaboration, knowledge management and security and governance – more than made up for the project cost of the migration. The move was well received by the IT department too as they no longer needed to maintain the in-house application or servers. So, why the reluctance on the part of firms to move to the Cloud?
Technology vendors have a key role in educating the market about the true the value of Cloud to firms for their business. The reticence of some vendors to sell applications in the Cloud must be addressed. One of the reasons for the slower adoption of applications in the Cloud environment in the legal market is the sales model – which is proving detrimental to customers. Due to the current sales payment structure, typically executives receive a healthier commission from on-premises sales than cloud sales. This is a myopic view on the part of some technology vendors.
We have been through this type of conundrum before with the battle between in-house developed bespoke systems versus commercial off-the-shelf systems. The argument regarding the pros and cons of on-premises systems versus Cloud-based systems is shaping up to be very similar. Firms deploying enterprise applications will do well to carefully consider both the on-premises and Cloud environments, or even a hybrid of the two, based on their business requirements in order to make the right decision for their firm. The Cloud offers cost efficiencies, security, flexibility and agility that is difficult to replicate in an on-premises environment – and even if achieved, it will come at a significantly higher cost and limited additional business advantage, if any.