Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, the best deal we see this holiday season comes from the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) with their annual report, ILTA's 2014 Technology Survey. This granddaddy of legal technology deployment & usage benchmarks has it all ... 454 law firms (33% of the ILTA membership representing more than 106,000 attorneys and 217,000 total users) responding to almost 200 questions about what technologies they are using to run their firms; expert commentary by ILTA staff and member firms to support the findings and useful technology trending and 'un' trending info based on 'compare and contrast' exercises with previous survey editions. And, oh yeah, if that hasn't sold you already, the entire 300 page PDF 'opus' is free of charge ... a more than gracious ILTA legal technology community service gesture.
While we have not had the chance to dive in to the freshly published (released to ILTA members today!) findings, we did receive some survey themes from ILTA's executive director and tech survey 'MC' Randi Mayes worth sharing here:
Security: ILTA has seen a strong trend in security over the last few years, and it continues in 2014. Initiatives like security audits and web filtering have become the norm (now at 73% and 81% of responding firms, respectively,) and hard drive encryption (now above 50%) are becoming much more common. As the survey executive summary notes, to a large degree, firms' security agendas are being pressed by clients and regulators, and the recent government privacy and security sanctions of blue chip financial services and telecommunications companies will only accelerate security as priority #1.
- Mobile Device Management (MDM) is up 12 points over two years. Per Jim McCue, Director of Information Systems at the Rodey Law Firm and contributor to the final survey findings ... "with 54% of our firms not using a third party MDM and no product dominating market share, what a great opportunity for MDM vendors in legal right now. "
- Multi-factor authentication: Up 5 points to 29%
- Ethical wall protection this year broke the half-way mark to 55%
- Encryption technologies are up across the board as well, from intrusion prevention to data loss prevention, to some of the second generation security solutions like AppLocker, Bit9 and FireEye (up 4% as a class.)
- Information Governance continues to be important to firms, appearing as the second most popular response to our security challenges question, along with "Archiving, retention, retrieval" and other records policies appearing as the second largest concern as an email support challenge (29%).
Simplicity/fy: Based on survey findings, in particular the slowing of technologies the survey analysts thought would continue to rise like VDI solutions , the 'secret sauce' might well be the move away from complexity toward technologies that are easier to support, train, and maintain. Tasks or functions are also easier to outsource if simple, or at least standard, which could also be a driver.
- While new Enterprise Search solution deployments are flat, many more firms are targeting SharePoint repositories, a 30% rise to 59%. This may be a function of simply leveraging tools and features firms already own and in the case of SharePoint 2013, leveraging the enterprise search functionality of the FAST search integration.
- Litigation Support technology continues to grow with a 5% increase and in particular hosted (vs. on-premise) offerings are in high demand (up 16 points over 3 years)
- Legal project management tools are still not being fully adopted with only 19% of respondents citing a specific solution.
- Over a six year period, email management & security provider Mimecast has captured 85% of Google Postini's market share in legal and it's the new standard, with a whopping 48% of the overall market.
- Laptop use is at its highest level ever with a median of 35% of attorneys using that technology in place of a desktop. Although Dell and Lenovo command a combined two-thirds of the laptop market, HP made strides this year and is up to 25%.
- Since 2012, support for a single standard has risen back up to 34%, with another 15% looking for a single platform. The platform of choice today is ActiveSync, which provides a single connection technology for a variety of smart phones.
Save(ings): Cost reduction, or at least cost containment are still front and center. Budgets are still recovering from pre-2007 recession times so there is greater adoption of native utilities and slower migrations to the latest versions of main stream applications such as Exchange (2013) and Office.
- Migration to Matter-Centric workspaces: After a steady rise to 64%, it seems to have hit a wall this year and remained flat.
- Dictation technology: Nuance's Dragon's desktop installation had a huge year, rocketing up 12 points to 52% of respondents.
- Air Cards are on the way down and Mi-Fi devices are ascending.
Top survey responses to the question regarding future trends, and 'game changing' technologies included cloud computing; "X" as-a-service; consumerization/mobility, and security/regulation. Many of these have already caused CIOs to scramble and re-prioritize while topics like mobility and security continue to simmer with the acknowledgement that the boiling point, although not reached yet, is not far off.
To summarize, ILTA's 2014 Technology Survey and its countless pages of statistics, analysis and trends is too important to ignore. Randi Mayes notes that the survey publication offers "a fairly good snapshot of where we are as an industry, and it provides useful insights into the direction particular technologies are trending." I think Randi and ILTA are too modest ... these findings are an invaluable resource to anyone serious about engaging in our legal technology world. Let us repay the hundreds of law firm technologists who spend on average 1.5-2 hours to complete this survey, and the ILTA staff and member volunteers who spend hundreds of additional hours on analysis and narrative, by making the time to digest this report and engage our staff, clients and the legal community as a whole in an ongoing legal technology conversation. Time to unwrap. Happy Holidays!
Other related ILTA surveys: