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How a Small Firm Should Deal with Software Overload

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 07, 2011 6:47 AM

Have too many software programs? Overwhelmed by what they do and don't do?

Not to sound like an antidepressant commercial, but you may be suffering from software overload. And you're not alone.

Small firms and solo practitioners, like most small businesses, don't have on-call IT support, meaning that attorneys are often engaged in their own troubleshooting. Unfortunately, this often ends in new software purchases, adding to the chaos.

But what if it didn't have to be that way? A new take on software usability can help free you from overload.

There's often no need to take on the expense and time necessary to change or install new software, says project manager Eric-Jan van Alten. Instead, he urges managing attorneys to take a good look at the software they already use.

Oftentimes, the software isn't the problem, but the human is.

In other words, user error is a big component of why a program is not doing as it should, so it's important to work with user support to figure out what's going wrong.

Van Alten also suggests that attorneys consider their expectations of software. It may be not performing as wanted, but that may have more to do with users than actual software design.

And last, but definitely not least, just because there is a tool, it doesn't mean you need one.

A lot of these programs are capable of doing more than it's being used for-many of them are database managers that only need a little tweak.

Basically, ask questions of the right people, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

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