Creating the digital legal firm of the future using Microsoft Cloud
Schüler Heerschop Pienaar Incorporated Attorneys (“SHP”) is a dynamic law firm specialising in litigation, commercial and banking law, conveyancing, insolvency proceedings and legal collections, with regional offices across South Africa. It had a simple business requirement: “Can we use our business systems in the cloud and improve our team’s productivity.” To meet this requirement, SHP appointed 4Sight AccTech to implement its ‘Modern Digital Productivity’ managed service and solutions, which leverages Microsoft Cloud, including Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure.
Traditionally, legal firms have been old-fashioned in the way that their business and communication systems have been implemented and managed. “We had to modernise our firm. It is simply no longer feasible to continually travel to and from offices and clients, and not to have a centralised, live and secure data environment,” says Rudi Heerschop, a director of SHP. “We required an improved and more efficient business environment to be put in place in order to track our data, communications and legal collaborations.”
The team at SHP required a higher standard of data and communication between all offices, team members and clients, and so it was time to reassess their methods to operate more efficiently through a modern digital workplace.
4Sight AccTech was appointed by SHP to assist, provide and implement its ‘Modern Digital Productivity’ managed service and solutions, which leverages the Microsoft Cloud platforms. By providing SHP with Microsoft 365, Azure Identity Management and Analytical Monitoring through Managed Services, 4Sight AccTech was able to modernise SHP’s business operations, transforming their legal firm into a new modern digital enterprise.
4Sight AccTech utilised a rapid deployment methodology to migrate all existing on-premises data and modernise SHP business tools using Microsoft 365. A key component of 4Sight AccTech’s methodology is the seamless migration of business processes and data to Microsoft Azure. “This migration was so seamless our staff didn’t even realise that we had moved to the cloud,” emphasises Heerschop.
Coupled with the solution implementation, 4Sight AccTech also ensured a flexible new licensing model through the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider model, which ensures SHP will always stay up to date with the latest security enhancements and features from Microsoft when they are released. “We are now able track and record all our communications and documents, which in itself sets our clients at ease, especially in times where Internet fraud is prevalent,” Heerschop adds.
As part of the change management and adoption of the new solution and products from Microsoft, SHP has started to be exposed to all the other Microsoft products that are now available to their team members. This includes advanced collaboration features from Microsoft Teams, storage solutions with 1TB personal business cloud storage with OneDrive, Microsoft Planner and advanced security. This empowers SHP to transform its way of thinking, working and doing business differently, delivering improved value and results for its clients. “Every day we increasingly make use of the features included to benefit of our team and clients,” says Heerschop.
“As an added benefit, and due to our modernisation and implementation of Microsoft 365, and other Microsoft products included, the announcement of the national lockdown by our president did not pose any threat to our business operations, as we were and are able to continue with our operations on a 'business as usual' basis, without any downtime. In fact, our staff seems more productive operating from the comfort of their homes. We have conducted various consultations and arbitrations during the lockdown period using Microsoft Teams. We have recently also conducted a hearing, which was set down in the High Court of South Africa, Local Division, Johannesburg, via Microsoft Teams, ultimately to the benefit of the legal system and our client.”
Heerschop concludes by stating: “We no longer have to physically be in the office to sustain our business operations. We have transformed and modernised our firm to allow our staff to perform their responsibilities remotely. Our database is always live and just a click away, and our team is able to collaborate and communicate effortlessly and remotely via Microsoft Teams. Our clients have also benefited from our modernisation as consultations are no longer dependant on flight schedules or traffic congestion.”
Aldo van Tonder, Chief Digital Officer at 4Sight AccTech, emphasises: “Now, more than ever, businesses needs to consider how to continue operating in a digital economy and this is one example of how companies can transform quickly, safely and easily without business disruptions.
"The implementation of our Modern Digital Productivity solutions with SHP further showcases the cutting-edge 4IR focused solutions we have built using the power of Microsoft Azure. We are pleased that we have played a key role in transforming SHP into the modern digital legal firm of the future,” concludes Van Tonder.