By Tom Lambotte, GlobalMac IT

mac_deskOver the past 3 articles, I shed light on the IT options available to small law firms. We've addressed the most common ways of managing IT- taking care of it yourself, using an hourly consultant and managed services. We touched on their pros and cons and provided you strategies for each.

In this final article we discuss how our service differs from all other options. Although we only support law firms using Apple computers, learning about our model can provide value even if you have zero interest in switching to Macs. The love of our service offering is not the Apple computers, but the service level. You'll see differentiation in how our services are delivered compared to the majority of IT providers.

So how are we different from other IT providers? I realize that’s a big claim. First of all, we do not charge for labor. Ours is a TRUE flat rate model. The reason is that we don’t want to be rewarded for doing sub-standard work, or rewarded if we don’t complete the job or, if we need to address an issue more than once. We think if we don’t do it right the first time, it should cost us, not you. This also includes after-hours and emergency support.

While many IT companies claim to be ‘flat rate,’ these claims come with disclaimers and fine print. Project work and training is rarely included. In comparison, our service includes unlimited time for support, project work and training. Let me elaborate:

Unlimited Remote, Phone and On-Site Support

Our clients receive unlimited time for remote, phone and on-site support. This is simply unlimited support for any IT issues that arise.

We are based out of Cleveland, Ohio. The second I mention this, everyone's mind goes to: 'How do you provide on-site support?' We locate a sub-contractor ahead of time, in most cases an Apple Certified consultant, who we can call to be on-site and be our boots on the ground when needed. The truth is, only 4 times in our history have we ever called upon this person. This is due to the high level of service we implement in terms of stability, backups, etc. We support clients nationwide and we have developed mature and fine-tuned solutions that are ultra-reliable. If we ever do need to call this person in, we take care of their bill which is included in our fee.

Unlimited Project Work 
In addition to unlimited support, our clients receive unlimited time for project work. The overwhelming majority of companies bill this separately, so you never truly know what your IT budget will be. This includes, but is not limited to, computer and server upgrades, office moves, email migration, case management system implementation & migrations and all major operating system upgrades. If it is technology related to your business, it will be included.

Unlimited Training

In addition to unlimited support and project work, we also provide unlimited training. This can be delivered one-on-one, in a group, or through our MacLaw U Portal. Our clients gain access to our Monthly Training Webinar Series and our growing Training Library. All this content is tailored specifically for the staff of Mac-based law firms.

We believe very strongly that most people's computer training goes like this: “congrats you're hired, here's your computer, get to work”. We are huge proponents of skill development and investing within your existing staff. We are constantly investing into our teams' skills and do so for all of our clients. The more comfortable and confident you and your staff become in using their computers, the more productive they will be. This also lowers stress and increases job satisfaction. The impact here is increased profits as your team members become more productive.

We also offer a Mac educational course which walks your team members through several training ideas we created with basics of using a Mac.

Unlimited Nature
I want to expand on the impact of the 'unlimited' nature of our service. Take for example a typical web design company. The majority nickel and dimes for everything: for spelling errors, they will bill 30 minutes of time or more. This often creates a culture of delay - when something needs to be addressed, it is added to a list that will ‘eventually be all addressed in one shot,’ to get the best bang for your buck. The problem is this leads to lost clients, uncaptured leads and other negative impacts to your practice. If a webform is not working properly, delaying fixing it could cost the firm thousands of dollars in lost revenues through lost leads. The same thing occurs with IT when it is billed hourly. Many things that should be addressed are ignored or put off, which lead to bigger problems. Small issues end up turning into big issues that may create a firm-wide impact.
On the flipside is our current web design company. For a flat fee of $250 a month they take care of everything. Updates, changes, new pages. If I wanted them to super-impose my head on a pink flying elephant on my homepage, they'd do it and I wouldn't pay a penny more. In addition, I also wouldn't spend time reviewing an estimate for what it would cost to do, approve it, or ask questions for clarification. In many cases, they end up going over the estimate anyways, leading to more frustration. The mental impact with the fixed fee is that my entire team feels increased confidence in reaching out to the web company if we need a change made or a page added. Problems are resolved much faster and I always know what the bill will be.

Suffering in Silence
One hundred percent of the time we assume the IT role for a law firm, people step forward with issues they have been silently dealing with for years. That's not an exaggeration. If you are taking care of IT yourself or you do not have a flat-fee arrangement with you IT provider, I guarantee you that your staff is suffering in silence with IT issues. They either don’t want to incur a bill for the firm, don't want to bother the head attorney asking if they can call I.T. or they just decide it's not that big a deal. However, something that's not a big deal and only costs them 5 minutes a day adds up to 18 hours per year, per person. Do the math, it does matter.

The biggest impact of unlimited is it allows us to focus on what is best for our clients and empowers their staff to reach out to us for help unencumbered. Whether it is a simple support request, a big project or training. These areas create a massive lever that when compounded, have a major effect on the bottom line for your firm.

Implementation of our Mature Best Practices
We have built a set of Best Practices that all firms need to have in place to convert their IT into a revenue multiplier. These Best Practices focus on your Network, Security, Case Management, File Management, Server, Email, Backup, and Legacy Items.

In our 1st month we complete a comprehensive Diagnostic process. We gauge where the firm ranks in terms of these Best Practices, creating a complete 360 view of the firm. We then work with our client to determine the order of priority. We first address the highest agreed upon points of concern, the bottlenecks in the firm that are causing lost productivity, as well as added security concerns, and then implement the solutions that will increase your staff's productivity.

Annual Strategy Roadmap
Although we implement an overarching set of Best Practices, our solutions are not cookie-cutter. We don't force what we think is the best solution and make our clients change their solutions to our 'favorites.' Our Annual Strategy Roadmap is a custom-tailored document process that drives the direction for the solutions we bring to our clients. This unique process allows us to gain a deeper understanding of where we create value for our individual clients. With this, we further align ourselves with the specific outcomes and challenges of their firm.

By defining our clients' perceived dangers, opportunities and strengths, we build the custom Roadmap which becomes our guide for our Quarterly Business Reviews, where we define the top quarterly objectives. This allows us to custom-tailor our solutions and recommendations which will add the most value for our clients based on their direction.

Ultimately, this lets us provide our clients with a custom plan and path to help them navigate through what can often seem to be a confusing and overwhelming world of all the computer stuff. By providing this leadership, relationship and creativity, we provide un-paralled value when compared to other firms. Unfortunately, we don’t work with every firm out there. If your firm is Mac-based or if you’d like to make the switch, there is literally no one who comes close to our level of depth.

I didn’t touch on all the geeky things we do such as Mobile Device Management, maintaining the network and software updates. We offer the best-in-breed solutions that help keep our clients up to date and minimize risk. There are a few all-Mac Managed Service Providers that use some of these tools, but none have the vertical experience with the legal industry as we do.

If you'd like to find out more about our services, please reach out to me at tom@globalmacit.com or call me at 440-941-1622. You can also sign up for some free reports I have written on our website.

Yours truly,
Tom Lambotte

TomLambotteAbout the Author: GlobalMac IT was founded by Tom Lambotte – renowned nationwide as an author, speaker, trusted IT advisor, and cutting edge, successful provider of the #1 complete end-to-end IT solution for Mac-Based Law Firms in the world. Private firms from throughout North America – and as far reaching as American Samoa - running with a staff of 5-50 - have relied on his expertise to help them put their IT headaches behind once and for all. Using his real world experience, where results rule and dollars can't be wasted on negligent computer consultants, he wanted to help managing partners and office managers of Mac-based law firms to put an end to wasting their time and money on IT support that does not work and rescue them from the frustration. Our unique “TotalCare” approach integrates classic IT support with proven proactive support that truly converts IT from something to be dealt with, into a tool that truly increases law firm profits, increases staff productivity, and provides piece of mind that firm and client data is secure and that their security is never at risk.