What we do during the Needs and Cost Assessment Process
When evaluating a move to a SaaS/Cloud environment, the first questions from our law firm clients often relate to cost.
- Will the new SaaS design cost more or less than their legacy IT systems?
- Will the change be worth it? Are the applications more functional, more integrated?
- Are the SaaS systems more secure?
- Is disaster recovery included?
- Will the new system scale as the firm grows?
- How will the new design work with the firm’s remote users or offices?
- How will the new system promote collaboration with outside counsel or clients?
Selah’s goal is to understand the Firm’s practice area requirements and cultural preferences. This process will typically uncover all of your current legacy system costs and provide a comparison with the possible SaaS alternatives. Comparisons are made on both the cost and functionality levels. An internal law firm administrative team, often a technology committee, composed of attorneys and administrators are assigned to work with Selah’s consulting team.
Selah schedules recurring weekly Web meetings to help understand and to uncover the needed information about both the legacy systems vs. the SaaS alternatives. Each potential SaaS software product is reviewed in these meetings to be sure any replacement of a legacy product meets the needs of the Firm. On the Legacy Side, all financial reviews, product by product, are examined in the following detail: software licenses, software maintenance, server requirements, server maintenance and middleware. On the SaaS side, not only is the functionality reviewed, but the subscription fees are annualized plus the cost of retraining is compared to staying with the current legacy solutions. SaaS is not necessarily less expensive, even though it may be, but it may be more cost effective for other reasons:
- Disaster Recovery
- Security, virus protection and encryption
- Scalability and growth
- Cost and ease of upgrades using multi-tenant technology
- Frequency of software refresh
- Superior application functionality
- Multi-location access
- Less management oversight required
- Predictability of costs
These and many other technologies are evaluated using these questions and a series of Selah designed spreadsheets. This information is updated during periodic Web meetings with the client and are compared in terms of cost, functionality and overall short and long-term strategy:
IT Staffing Requirements:
- What are the IT staffing requirements for the legacy system vs. the IT staffing requirements when using a SaaS-based IT design?
Telecommunications / Bandwidth Requirements:
- What is the availability of superior fiber optic telecommunications, which is often a requirement when moving to a SaaS/Cloud design?
- Superior bandwidth is typically needed when moving into a SaaS design.
- How does the telecommunications cost compare between a legacy IT design and a SaaS-based design?
- The telecommunications costs will typically increase using SaaS, but will other savings make the increased costs of bandwidth acceptable?
Telephone Switch / Phone System Requirements:
- What are the current leasing or purchase agreements for the firm’s phone systems?
- Are these systems VOIP (Voice over IP)?
- Are these Void Systems SaaS-based or are they on-premise?
- What are the budgets for the current phone systems vs. SaaS versions?
- How old is the current phone system and does it need replacement?
Email / Groupware Requirements:
- How does the cost compare when using internal servers for Outlook/Exchange vs. using SaaS-based versions of Outlook/Exchange?
- How do the other factors compare related to uptime, disaster recovery, security and remote access?
Time & Billing and Financial System Requirements:
- How does the overall costs compare when using an internal MS SQL based system vs. using SaaS-based Time & Billing and Financial Systems?
- What level of functionality is available on the current internal MS SQL based system vs. what functionality is available using a SaaS vendor and how does the cost compare?
Document and Email Management Requirements:
- How does the overall costs compare when using an internal MS SQL based document management system vs. using a SaaS based document management system?
- How does the functionality compare?
- How about the other factors considering disaster recovery, data encryption and security factors compare?
Server Budget Requirements:
- How new are the firm’s existing servers and what servers could be repurposed for a new SaaS design, i.e. authentication or print serving?
- What internal servers and middleware will need to be upgraded if the firm stays with a legacy design vs. going with a SaaS design?
- Is the timing appropriate for going with SaaS vs. staying with the legacy design? For example, has the Firm just completed a total hardware refresh?
PC Desktop Requirements:
- What PCs can be maintained in the new SaaS design?
- How will the Firm’s PCs be serviced?
- What should the new replacement budget be for the legacy system vs. in a SaaS design?
Printer/Scanner and Fax Unit Requirements:
- How are these units serviced and how would they need to be serviced under a SaaS design?
- How will these budgets compare for an internal legacy design vs. a SaaS design?