How Are the World’s Most Innovative Law Firms Using Internal Communications Apps and Why?
We’ve analyzed the importance of apps in law firms extensively in 2017. As our report on the status of mobile apps in the legal industry points out, the growth of internal, external and client facing apps has been unprecedented. However, as we also highlighted in said report, we suspect that law firms are utilizing mobile apps internally to a much greater extent than the app stores might suggest.
Many firms are already using mobile device management platforms like MobileIron, which in turn give them enterprise app stores that they can use to distribute internal apps securely only to employees. Others are releasing secure internal apps directly onto the app stores, since there isn’t really a downside to doing it that way.
These internally based apps are the discussion point for this article, where we’ll outline:
- the key benefits of internal communication apps
- features that are commonly used in them
- examples of how some law firms are currently using them (from the public app stores)
The benefits of using internal comms apps in your firm
We’ve already written a lot about the general benefits to using an internal communications app. But with legal, there are specific benefits we like to highlight, because we’ve seen them ourselves first hand.
Making your firm more cohesive
Global law firms have to work across borders and their teams often tell us they have challenges getting other teams on board with campaigns, and making them feel as one brand. Mobile apps enable more efficient communication across global firms ensuring that all employees are kept up to date with information that impacts them and the wider company.
Reaching your cross-selling potential
Modern law firms often service so many different sectors, practices, hot topics and jurisdictions that it’s easy for people to lose track; cross-selling is probably the top point of optimization that law firms can make, and apps make it simple.
Simplifying common daily tasks
We’ve seen how law firm intranets function, and they can be confusing and unorganized to say the least. Most of the time they’re complex systems that are quite hard to navigate. So it can be a good idea to simplify common tasks like:
- browsing the latest news (which many times could really do with the extra exposure!)
- requesting vacations
- submitting expenses
- seeing the cafeteria menu
Or any other tasks that are high profile in organizations.
For example, firms that use apps built with Fliplet internally, can often use an app instead of their intranet because all the usual features are available. However, they often choose to use them to complement or support specific campaigns, publications or teams, or make access easier.
A great example would be a firm moving offices or being acquired by a larger firm. This can be quite a confusing event for employees, but an app can be used to ensure they navigate and settle into their new environment as quickly as possible. Simple things like floorplans, guidance on new technology and resources available and similar things all help employees feel at home again and increase the perception of progress taking place for the better.
Most common features in an internal communications app
One of the most commonly used features in any internal communications app is to distribute content, and share news instantly to colleagues’ devices. Provided employees have an internet connection to load new content, they’ll see the changes in seconds without a disruption to their experience.
Apps can be very engaging content sharing channels: video, sound, animation, visualised data, and interactive features all help make the message more engaging than it could be otherwise.
Do you know that feeling when you forget somebody’s name or suddenly need someone who speaks French? A colleague directory is the easiest way to find exactly the person. Many firms already have colleague directory apps (aside from their intranets, of course).
With Fliplet, it’s as easy as doing an export of the intranet directory and linking it to an app. It automatically becomes filterable, searchable and portable.
Because RSS feeds are easy to integrate with apps and don’t require effort duplication by the content creators/app editors, many firms have apps with Latest News screens and other useful external news feeds.
Here at Fliplet we’ve seen many firms use push notifications internally to send reminders, important news and disruption information – it’s a useful and timely feature that we’re sure many other firms outside of our customers use too.
Chat & Messaging
Communication on-the-go is one of the most in-demand features of any app for law firms. Adding a chat feature enables your users to talk to each other instantly, plus send files, share photos, and more. And, it’s a lot safer than using WhatsApp or a retail alternative if the app solution has encrypted communication enabled.
A company portal is essentially an app marketplace for your employees. It allows firms to put all of their apps in one place and allow colleagues to download just what they need.
This is common with Event portals, which we have seen in at least 30 different firms. It’s not restricted to events though – company portals come in many flavors, from the very general ones to client portals, knowledge portals and more.
Examples of internal comms apps in the legal industry
So, the benefits are clear, and the features sound great – but what are a few examples of how law firms are currently using internal communications apps?
As we mentioned, some of the best examples will be private apps, but some law firms have published their apps onto the public app stores and used a protected log-in. Here are a few examples that we’ve selected.
King & Wood Mallesons’ Connect app (iOS)
King & Wood Mallesons’ ‘Connect’ app is a fantastic example of an internal staff directory and services portal. As we mentioned in the above features list, having a directory can be incredibly useful, particularly as part of a global organization.
Fenwick Mobile allows Fenwick & West attorneys, staff and clients to take the best of the Fenwick intranet with them wherever they go.
Skadden’s Associate Life (iOS)
This app was developed to connect employees with their peers, learn about the Skadden mentoring program, browse opportunities to get involved in the wider office and read about the firm’s resources and upcoming events.
Starting building your firm’s internal communications app today
There’s no easier way to improve your firm’s internal efficiency and processes than by integrating an app across the business. With Fliplet Studio, you’ll be able to create, publish and maintain your internal communications app to ensure all your firm’s employees are:
- Kept up-to-date with the latest company information
- Able to find and contact colleagues
- Instantly access all other internal apps in seconds
If you’d like to find out more about how other organizations have used Fliplet to build internal communications app, just check out our app gallery.