ALA Legal Management: 2017 Legal Cloud Forecast: Change Is Constant

Here’s to “Thinking out Cloud” in 2017, year two of musings on all things legal and cloud computing. Since it’s that time of year, take a look at some 2017 legal cloud trends and predictions in the latest column from Jobst Elster, Head of Content and Legal Market Strategy, Inside legal.

According to the most recent ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey, short(er) term cloud adoption might finally be on par with other industries, an opinion some of our soothsayers share. Statistics indicate that small firms (with fewer than 50 attorneys) are the most aggressive regarding cloud adoption. Of these firms, 61 percent of respondents indicated that more than half of their software/service offerings could be cloud‐based within the next one to three years.

While large firms are not as optimistic statistically speaking, much of what drives their cloud enthusiasm is still being dictated by clients — their technology requirements and security demands. Alvin Tedjamulia, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for legal cloud pioneer NetDocuments, believes cloud technologies will start moving from “early adopter” to “early majority” (upward of 40 percent) adoption, resulting in a mad vendor scramble to offer truly native cloud‐based technology, as opposed to hosted and other bolt‐on options.

Mark Garnish, Development Director for global technology provider Tikit Ltd., offers up a bigger picture perspective. “If firms truly believe in cloud first, they must, almost by definition, start adopting products based on platform rather than functionality,” says Garnish. “We haven’t seen this since Microsoft SQL Server was first introduced in 1989. Cloud is a technology change. Software needs to be rewritten to work in the cloud, and not all firms and suppliers recognize that right now.”

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