migrating data

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Ryan Sparrow

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Does your practice management software struggle with routine actions, wasting valuable time you could be using productively and billing to clients? If you can make a cup of tea in the time it takes your legal software to process essential tasks, perhaps you need to get ready to upgrade.

We’re living in turbulent times, when working from home is a necessity for many people, and cloud-based technology is essential to business continuity. If you’re finding that your practice management software isn’t delivering the accessibility you need, you may find that you need to migrate your data to a new system sooner than you’d expected. In this article, we identify the key considerations you need to think about before you upload your data to a new system.

Make a plan and create a backup

The first thing you need to think about is having a clear data migration plan. Start by working out exactly what data you need to move, pinpointing which systems you’re currently using (to make sure you don’t miss anything), and identifying all your confidential and client data. Think of it like a stocktake – you need to make a comprehensive inventory of all the information you need to migrate, from client contact information to case files.

Another useful aspect to consider at this point is time – how soon do you need your new legal software in place, and how many hurdles do you have to jump (such as management sign-off and approval) before you can go ahead?

Before you move any further forward, make sure that you create an independent backup of your data – every invoice, document and email. While data migration should be a smooth process if you prepare well and work with a reputable software service, it is always best to be safe, not sorry.

Remember: If you have been using some rather antique software, you may need to convert your data into new file formats. Look out for any outdated formats that won’t travel well!


Choose your new legal software

This stage may run alongside compiling the full inventory of your data, and it should involve all the key stakeholders in your law firm so that everyone involved can ask necessary questions and identify potential issues, which should minimise problems further along the way. If you’re upgrading to a cloud-based system for the first time, this may also be a good time to start the staff training process – ask your software provider to explain all the products they offer and the security features that apply. This way, you can be sure that your firm will receive everything it needs to run easily, efficiently and, above all, securely.


Spring clean your data

While it’s important not to miss any essential information as you transfer, you may also find that you don’t need to carry over everything. For example, you may have old client contacts that go back years, or clients who’ve since closed down, or you may have duplicate records saved in different parts of your dataset. Now is the ideal time to ensure that your data is lean and clean.


Work with your service provider to migrate your data

When you and your new software provider agree that your data is in the right format and ready to migrate (and your backup is ready for emergencies), get ready to make your migration happen. Consider running the actual migration during a weekend or evening to minimise disruption, and monitor your migration closely so that you can recognise and resolve any issues as they arise.


Train your staff to make the most of your new software

As part of your plan, you should be preparing to train your staff on how to use the new system, as well as how to maximise its potential for collaboration and communication. If you don’t get the entire team on board from day one, you may hit roadblocks that have little to do with the software and everything to do with the people using it.

One key way to engage your team is to highlight the benefits of using your new legal software – for example, its cloud-based accessibility from any location, its ability to transfer documents securely, and its capacity for providing clients with regular updates. When they understand the time-saving benefits – especially where the software makes short work of mundane, routine tasks – you should have no trouble convincing your colleagues to embrace your new legal software’s potential.


If your firm is in need of up-to-date legal software that is secure, cloud-based and capable of integrating with services such as Office 365, contact DPS Software today. We can support your firm with migrating your existing data, as well as training your team so that they can make optimal use of our software.

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