What is ‘new found time’ and why is it so important?

In the preceding blog, Peter Zver, President of Tikit North America, noted that firms need to focus on mobile timekeeping’s impact on revenue to understand its value to the firm, rather than on how much it gets used. In this second blog on measuring mobile time capture, Peter explains that the revenue impact comes from a thing called ‘new found time’; and what’s more, the impact is considerable.

As I pointed out in my last blog, when firms go looking for the impact that mobile timekeeping technology is having, a lot of the time they look at how much it’s used. A much better measure is how much it earns for the firm.

However, the emphasis on how much it earns can lead people to focus on the total amount of time that is being captured on mobile devices. This is a reasonable approach, but not a watertight one.

The fact is that some attorneys might be using a mobile device to capture time that they would have captured anyway using the technology they’ve always used at their desk. In other words, this isn’t ‘new’ time. It’s the same old time, captured in a different way. There’s no additional contribution to revenue. Which is what we’re trying to measure.

The point of mobile timekeeping technology is that it generates additional revenue for the firm by capturing time that would not otherwise have been recorded. So we call this ‘new found time’ (or NFT). In Tikit’s experience, what’s more, NFT can make a startling large contribution to revenue.

Explaining NFT and how you find it

NFT generally comprises what I call the ‘crumbs’ of time. This is incidental time, found in small increments that occur outside standard work hours. In fact when I work with firms, I tell them that they need to decide for themselves what NFT means to them. It will vary between firms, depending on how and where their attorneys work.

That said a typical NFT definition is time captured before 8am, after 6pm and on weekends. That is to say the times when attorneys are not usually at their desks. As well, NFT is typically of short duration: 15 minutes or less. It’s at this point that the sheer usability and convenience of mobile timekeeping tech becomes a factor. If it takes an attorney ten minutes to record five minutes of time – a five minute call, a brief email – he or she likely won’t do it. If it takes them five seconds, they probably will.

Likewise, if you draft something in a cab on the way to the airport, you may make a mental note to record the time it took you when you get back to the office. But in truth by the time you do, it’s probably forgotten.

And almost certainly, 20 or whatever days later when you’re completing a monthly timesheet – well, you’re generally trying to re-construct time based on substantive blocks of work. So 20 minutes in a cab gets completely forgotten, and it’s lost forever. Alternately, if you can tap it into your ‘phone then and there in the cab, the time is recorded. It’s not lost, and because it would never have been there otherwise, we can call it NFT.

Worth adding up

The thing it’s really important to know at this point is that ‘crumbs’ – my word – might be a misnomer. Because ‘crumbs’ implies that it’s an insignificant amount. Not true. In my experience, when firms start calculating NFT, it really adds up.

What’s more, it’s easy to calculate – firms just need to run a simple query on time logged based on their own definition of ‘new found time’. When they do the results are eyeopening. I’ve known firms report a 1,000% ROI in Year 1 when they do these sums. I’ve seen revenue gains of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One firm increased its yearly revenue by over seven figures, entirely from NFT originated through mobile timekeeping. I could hardly believe the impact myself. What’s even more shocking was that this ROI lay undiscovered and only surfaced when the firm began questioning whether it actually wanted to renew its support contract. Just think what they would have missed out on had they not done those simple calculations.

In the third and last blog in this short series on measurement, I’ll conclude by looking at the flawed logic that firms use to decide who gets to use mobile timekeeping and why it can lead to a very expensive mistake.

Click here to read Peter’s next blog.