When we show Clocktimizer to prospective clients, we end our demonstration with a question: “If you had a crystal ball that could answer you any question about your matters, what would you ask it?” We get many different answers. Some lawyers wonder which people are the most important members of their team. Others would like to know if there are hidden costs that they could identify. And almost everyone would love to be able to answer the simple question: “What is this matter going to cost?”.

We’ve been working very hard to incorporate client feedback into our tool. This has resulted in a new version of our award-winning business intelligence software for lawyers. In this series of five blogs, you will read about how the new functionality will help you make better decisions. This is the first part of this series.

The answers are right there…
The funny thing is that you don’t need a crystal ball for most of the questions. Granted, for some of the love-related questions and all weather and sports forecasts you’ll have to resort to the occult. But the answers to many of the questions we get, are right there, hiding in the time tracking records that are being meticulously recorded by each self-respecting law firm. Of course this begs the question: If these answers have been lurking in the time tracking records all along, why aren’t lawyers using this information yet?

We identify two reasons lawyers are not using their data to make better decisions: complacency and lack of adequate tools. Historically, complacency has been a major factor. Law firms had no shortage of work. With margins other industries could only dream of there was little incentive to innovate. But those days are gone. 95% of all lawyers see that competition on price is an ongoing trend and many identify big data as a possible avenue for innovation and 93% of all lawyers think that focusing on practice efficiency is the way forward [source: Altman Weil 2015].

Beter tools are needed
The lack of good tooling is a bigger problem. It is common practice in that information about key clients is only available in monthly – or even worse, quarterly – reviews. The information has to be compiled by hand. This can be time-consuming. Even worse, the information already is out of date when it reaches decision makers.

Some firms use the reporting tools of their time tracking software. In theory, these tools could provide some great insights. Unfortunately, they are so cumbersome to use that special knowledge is needed to get any kind of insight out of the system. Time tracking software was never designed to provide business intelligence – and it’s showing.
Conversely, other firms use stock business intelligence tools like Tableau and Qlikview. Although flexible, these tools were not designed for the legal market. The only way to get any insights is by customizing these tools. This can take a lot of time and money. It is no surprpise that most BI vendors provide consulting services at steep fees that would make many lawyers proud. Clocktimizer can provide these insights out of the box.

There is no justification for using manually compiled spreadsheets in this day and age. It should not be necessary to learn SQL (a database query language) just to get some basic insights. Neither should lawyers be forced to pay through the nose to get answers that are already present in their data. If everyone is able to analyse web site statistics using Google Analytics, there is no reason any lawyer should not have access to a tool that is just as simple to use to analyse their own work.

Stop guessing, start using Clocktimizer
When we were creating the roadmap for the new version of our award-winning business intelligence software for lawyers, our challenge became to create a tool that would allow each lawyer to get the answers they so desperately need. In this series of blogs, we will highlight some of the new features that will allow every lawyer to make decisions based on data and not on guesswork.