DWF LLP is one of the UK’s legal industry success stories, having rapidly grown from a four-person practice into a business employing over 2,300 people in 13 international offices. The company aims to build on this success by climbing the legal rankings to become a top 15 firm – a goal which is about much more than just financial performance.
For Andrew Leaitherland, Managing Partner and CEO, “Our big opportunity is to do things differently.” This philosophy informs the company’s three strategic aims: to deliver better client service, to work more profitably, and to provide an environment that attracts the best staff, and enables them to work to their full potential. In an industry dominated by paper-intensive processes, the digital management of print and information is crucial to achieving these goals.
“The industry is steeped in traditional working methods,” explains Janice Moores, Service Delivery and Procurement Manager at DWF. “Overcoming the time and resource-intensive processes that exist within the legal industry gives us a significant competitive edge.” DWF therefore decided to digitise its core business processes and create a more flexible working environment. In practical terms, it needed to manage the cost and complexity of producing up to 57 million printed pages every year. And the company also needed to comply with the industry’s strict regulatory demands to safeguard sensitive client data.
Working closely with DWF, Canon devised a new document strategy, overhauling its business-wide print infrastructure. It introduced mobile document access, mobile printing and a digital mailroom that automatically digitises and delivers all posted documents directly to the recipient’s inbox in email form. Designed to help staff work flexibly – whether travelling or working from a hot desk in a different office – the document solution also included a secure identification and job release system to bolster information security.
Perhaps the greatest impact of the company’s digital transformation has been felt by DWF’s employees, who now have the tools to work efficiently no matter where they’re working. This differentiates the company from its competitors in terms of the customer service it can provide, as Moores explains: “By empowering our users to access essential information and business processes wherever they are, we’re encouraging efficiencies and a spirit of doing more for our clients.”
Closer to home, DWF’s office space is now a more collaborative environment, since the new print infrastructure allows clients to work remotely and print from DWF’s offices. Moores comments, “The fact that our clients are able to come to any of our offices and operate as if it were one of their own is something that almost no other law firm can offer.”
The benefits of Canon’s digital mailroom have been similarly impressive. As well as allowing information to flow more seamlessly throughout the business, DWF anticipates that the solution will represent a return on investment within two years and ongoing cost-savings of up to £1m annually.
With documents digitally stored, backed-up and secured, the way that people search and archive information has also been completely transformed. Employees can now work faster and more efficiently, and the reduced need for paper documents has led to huge savings in office space – with physical storage costs cut by over 50%.
Innovation doesn’t come at the cost of security, however, with the entire solution suite certified to the strictest international standard in information security management, ISO 27001. By supporting the tracking and reporting of environmental targets, it even helps to reduce DWF’s carbon footprint and ensure the company’s overall ISO 14001 accreditation.
The approach is clearly working: in 2014 The Financial Times recognised the firm as one of the most innovative in the whole of Europe. As Moores concludes: