Insights from DCS
Knowledge for the information generation

When 21st Century solution providers are asked for 20th Century solutions

By James Howlett - 5 Aug 2019
  • Case Management


Is it a vendor's place to suggest a better solution than the one a business is determined to implement?

That's not a trick question, it's a genuine conundrum. We had a representative from a top tier Scottish law firm call us recently, wanting to know if we could help them implement a "records management system". That is what we do and could definitely help them; however it soon became clear that we meant very different things by "records management system".

The legal firm's requirement turned out to be a tracking system for paper files. They operate a lot of off-site storage and their priority was to gain better control and visibility of who takes out what files and when etc.

All this was painful to hear - like nails down a blackboard - as we do our level best to liberate business processes from the shackles and costs of inefficient paper-pushing. We've even had recent successes specifically in the legal sector which is generally becoming more amenable to the idea of taking case/matter management off-paper.

But given an opportunity to futureproof themselves and inaugurate start-to-finish digital case management, this firm chooses instead to affirm their allegiance to paper processes. In the absence of an existing and trusted business relationship with them, how are we supposed to react without sounding self-serving?

We could, for instance, appoint ourselves to a grandiose duty of care and attempt to stage "interventions" whenever we encounter organisations clinging to paper like security blankets. But potential clients are likely to react unfavourably to this.

At best, we'd be politely dismissed for pushing what is, after all, our agenda - a profit-making business model that promotes paper-lite processes. At worst we would be perceived as obnoxious and pushy along with it.

Or we could passively enable or validate their addiction, in the hope that when digital transformation is not too painful when it inevitably becomes a more pressing issue for them.

In the instance of the Scottish law firm, we simply don't support what they wanted, so we gently outlined what we do and let them know that if ever they reconsidered their commitment to paper, we'd be there for them. It seemed the most appropriate position to take.