11 October 2019

The race on features is tough. You have to offer superior features - or at least they have to be better than your competitors.

That's what we've gotten used to. Cars are sold with the best performance and additional features or with advanced environmental friendliness. Your choice of a computer is either the highest-performing machine, the hottest novelty, or the best value for money. Similarly, different systems are compared based on their functionality, even if most of it might be unnecessary.

What is good enough?

We at CSI also took part in this race for years, mainly against ourselves. We compared our legal project management software with the competitors'. We struggled with missing features and a slightly outdated user interface. We thought we would not be good enough to succeed on the international market - despite the fact that we had a strong position in Finland and satisfied customers also abroad.

In order to do better, we started racing. On request from our customers, we added one feature after the other to the system. The stories of our competitors still looked better and we always seemed to be one step behind.

Heureka - we came to our senses!

Our reasoning began when a couple of new customers said our product was much more than promised. Neither one praised the individual features of the software. Instead they talked about the impact the software had on the overall operations and their effectiveness in the company.

The final impulse came from our advisor, who reminded us that instead of comparing ourselves to the competitors, we should keep in mind Simon Sinek's core question, "Why". What is the reason that CSI exists at all? Fortunately, there was no need to ponder on that. After coding the first software for a law firm, we were already hooked on the complexity of the industry and the idea that we can play our part in promoting the quality of legal services and legal security in the society.

Indeed, our most valuable feature is the industry expertise accumulated over 34 years and hundreds of deployments. While new features are important, the software itself is rarely the solution to a customer's problem. The key is in tailoring the tool to support the customer's goals. It requires both a system that is flexible enough as well as industry expertise: experienced specialists to support deployment.

From needs to deployment

The goal of a deployment project is to get hundreds of software parameters - and, if necessary, customized features - to support the customer's chosen business model and eliminate the issues identified. Once the current situation and the desired end result have been understood, the software and the customer's business model can be matched in a way that enables efficient execution of legal cases. The clearer the customer's processes from sales to invoicing are, the better the support that CSI Lawyer provides.

Based on their experience, our experts are able to question inefficient processes and share best practices and ideas that the customer may not have thought of. Although the busy daily life of law firms makes it hard to find time for system projects, the customer's commitment to the project is essential to ensure that the end result is in line with the client's ideas and not those of the supplier.

Of course, to maximize benefits, the customer must have both the willingness and the readiness to take advantage of the opportunity that a new system provides for renewing their business model and processes. If you want to do things exactly the same way as before, you can't expect much added value from a new system.

Development does not stop at the implementation

The legal industry is undergoing constant change, and also CSI Lawyer is being developed every year to offer new performance enhancing features. The most enthusiastic customers test every single new functionality, the majority selectively picks up some of them, and there are also customers who deliberately "freeze" their model of usage for years at a time.

Whatever the development cycle is for CSI's customers, our industry expertise is at their disposal when it is time to consider the applicability of new software features and how to implement them.

And that user interface we mentioned before... We're just redesigning it, so soon it won't look outdated either.

Taina Malmivirta

CSI Helsinki, Business Development Director, Partner

Devoted to marketing, communications and development projects. Gets motivated by continuous development of customer experience. Believes in the power of customer feedback and light processes that support a company's agility and innovation.