Green revolution in legal practice management systems

Businesses (including Lawyers) need to support a green revolution

If you had told me 5 or 6 years ago that our company and our software were becoming disruptive I may have not taken too kindly to your opinion – on the face of it anyway. I would have at least asked you to explain yourself. A green business bureau article that I read recently describes this this wonderfully and I have taken the liberty to refer to it and apply it to us and the industry that we serve.

Lawyers in general do not take kindly to anything disruptive of the status quo and, as a loyal and long standing supplier to the industry we would strive to disrupt as little as possible. Respect the tried and tested systems, procedures and practices – don’t upset the apple cart as it were. My mistake, of course would have been my assumption that to disrupt is always a bad thing. We now know that to disrupt to change things for the better is the new application of the word.

As it turns out when we decided at the time to invest heavily in redeveloping AJS web (aka cloud), we were becoming part of a completely disruptive movement without actively intending it at the time.  The proverbial apple cart desperately needed to be upset but we were just focused on creating better, cheaper, faster systems that are accessible from anywhere. These were the main drivers and the “disruptively green” benefits of web based technology became the fortunate, wonderful, feel good, sweet cherries on top of the cake.

So how did this come about? By now we all know that Covid was a catalyst for the exponential increase in the use of remote work software systems.  AJS Web and Xpressdox enable remote work easily and elegantly. Strangely enough, quite a few of the systems that have now become essential to us have been around for years. They were just never used to their full extent. Think about Skype as an example. The pandemic forced most businesses to start using what has actually been available for quite some time and, for the most part, these systems have been applied very well – and they can only get better over time.  I am amazed however, to still hear the question, quite often actually, of whether remote work, and its supporting software are here to stay?

I, for one, am convinced that the start of the remote work revolution, hastened in by the pandemic, is behind us and that businesses in all sectors have moved on to a level of consciousness that simply was not there before – or certainly not to any meaningful extent and now, with the pain of the initial learning curve behind us, I see no reason whatsoever, to revert to old practices.

These remote work systems are cheaper, better and faster so, in a nutshell, you can do more with less and become more profitable but we must never forget what has been recently learnt, that they are much, much better for the environment – and as ongoing refinements are made,  this will become an ever improving trend. We are on the right path ladies and gentlemen.

So firstly what is remote work software?

By definition remote work software is a tool that supports teams that are not co – located. So, on line communication systems such as Zoom or Skype as well as operational applications such as Microsoft 365 are prime examples. Industry specific systems such as what we offer the legal industry in AJS web or Xpressdox also fall into the remote work software category. 

These systems are typically able to be installed on remote data centres such as Teraco (probably the best data centre in SA at present) thus eliminating the need to employ on site resources to look after on premise servers. Systems that cannot be installed remotely and accessed from a remote location via an Internet browser should not be termed as remote work software. (Look out for a later article that goes into this in a bit more detail as well how remote work software can save you money).

Lets look at a few reasons why remote work software systems are much better for the environment

1. Remote work software reduces GHG (green house gas) emissions (some of these numbers are staggering)

  • GHG’s were down 17% in early April 2020 and Europe is expected to emit 388.8 Million tons less of carbon dioxide than it did before Covid.
  • Air pollution in the UK halved on the first day of lockdown. Similar results were reflected in many major cities.
  • Work related travel accounts for 37% of all passenger transport in the UK. 
  • A Sun microsystems report indicates that energy consumption at the office is nearly twice as high as at home.

To address climate change global emissions need to be reduced by 7.6% every year for the next decade. It stands to reason that remote work will be favoured by policy makers and Governments globally in the fight against climate change.

2. Remote work software conserves biodiversity

  • Staff members working from home are less likely to use throwaway coffee cups, dishware and excessive packaging because they will more often than not eat at home.
  • On line work eliminates the disposal of 246 trillion sheets of paper each year in the USA alone. That’s “trillion “ people!!!
  • With less office space being needed land will become available for environmental restoration projects. Firms are predicted to require 20% less office space.

3. Working remotely reconnects staff to nature

Studies have found that during enforced work from home conditions, individuals underwent major behavioral changes and sought out nature related activities. Much more time was spent on gardening and outdoor sports and people are now enjoying a rediscovered connection with nature. Research has shown that we require this connectedness as an essential treatment for the environmental crises. I believe that we don’t really need studies to prove this to us. It is pure common sense that if people are more connected to nature that they will naturally want to care for it more and more. Besides this – it’s healthy and recommended as a treatment for anxiety – and this all leads to a happier and more productive workforce.

So when we made the difficult decision to rewrite our legacy AJS systems we had some very good reasons for incurring that huge expense. We wanted to continue our trend of always leading the way in the legal technology space. We also wanted to ensure that our customers have access to the very best and that most of their subscriptions are reinvested into vision, research and development. What we did not expect, during those initial years, was that our company and its systems would become part of a disruptive movement that is and will continue to be part of the fight against climate change. That’s’ the really cool part!!

Look out for the next article on how “Disruptive remote work software saves money” and how to ensure that your system or the system you might buy is truly Web based. There are a lot of misleading factors out there.

Contributed by:
Digby Vickers
Director at AJS

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