Lawyers losing nearly 25 minutes per day due to poor IT
Fixing outdated and poorly managed IT systems will boost productivity
The average employee in the legal profession is losing nearly 25 minutes per day of productive time because of technology issues, new research has found.
Slow-running systems were the most commonly cited issue (77 per cent), followed by connection failures (65 per cent), and outdated hardware or software (31 per cent), resulting in lawyers losing 24.74 minutes per day, according to a report by Managed 24/7 on the impact of poor IT on the UK's workforce productivity.
One in four also attributed a lack of training to the problems they experienced when using IT software. Legal sector employees had an average of 0.58 days of IT training in the last year while the average worker had 0.85 days.
John Pepper, CEO and founder of IT service provider Managed 24/7, told Solicitors Journal: 'The legal sector has been one of the hardest hit in these statistics. In a sector with a reliance on high-cost staff and a focus on billable hours, it has a significant impact on productivity and profitability.
'It is time to give IT functions the analytical tools to laser focus on improving workforce productivity across the whole and also concentrate on areas that impact on customers directly. In turn, legal firms can expect to bill more, have happier customers, and a motivated workforce.'
Overall, the report suggested that IT failure could cost UK PLCs £35bn per year. In addition to the underlying costs in terms of productivity and the bottom line, the report also found that employees were disgruntled with the impact poor IT was having on their work.
A third believed that their workplace IT systems were damaging their ability to do a good job while 44 per cent said IT problems directly cost their business time and money.
Moreover, 40 per cent agreed that they had better IT systems at home than at work while one in four who had experienced IT issues said it had caused customers to complain.
When issues do occur, more than a third (34 per cent) of all IT users do not feel that they receive sufficient IT support. Large companies (those with more than 500 employees) have the worst record for resolving IT issues, with 15 per cent of respondents finding it can take more than a day for them to be resolved. More than a quarter of staff said they have become inclined to try to fix issues on their own.
Pepper added: 'The UK is facing a productivity crisis. The UK currently ranks seventh in the G7 and 17th in the G20 for productivity per person, and fixing our outdated and poorly managed IT systems and support should play a significant role in closing this gap, especially in the UK legal sector.
'It takes a German worker four days to produce what his or her UK counterpart does in five and this crisis is resulting in the UK lagging well behind other developed nations. In light of recent outages such as at British Airways and the NHS, it is time for the UK to address our IT issues to ensure we aren't left behind by our more technically adept neighbours.'
Matthew Rogers is a legal reporter at Solicitors Journal