5 min read

How to Embrace Software or Technology Platform Change

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Change is constant, and switching away from technology you already know is challenging. Think about the last time you got a new phone or laptop. There are days of frustration updating passwords, hitting the wrong app icon because it’s in a different place, or being unable to easily find the ‘share’ button or one of your files.

Change happens - whether it's because you dropped your phone in the pool or because the software you’ve used ‘forever’ is being sunsetted. While you don’t always accept change willingly, it does happen, and determining the best way to handle change - in advance - sets you up for the most possible success.

Factors to Success

Change is most effective when there is a balanced and thoughtful blend of communication, planning, and establishing appropriate expectations. Possibly the most important aspect - and the most overlooked – is adapting workflows, processes, and protocols that embed changes as the new standard in company practices. In an industry (like legal) notorious for resistance to change, this can be the key factor that makes or breaks the implementation of new technology.

So, with various obstacles to conquer, is it worth going through the trouble? This is a good question and one that requires careful consideration. It’s the first step in the change management process, and we’ve broken it down into phases.

Phases of Change

1. Thoughtful Analysis

The first phase of change typically starts with a bothersome issue and gets you thinking about alternatives – this is the “should we?” stage of the process. Using the phone analogy above, maybe it’s a terribly cracked screen or a persistent slowness that rises to a level of frustration. With eDiscovery software, perhaps it’s how your current software handles common file types in your litigation, or maybe it’s explaining to clients months of larger-than-expected bills. The “should we?” question is often shared with others and is the source of active discussion.

Analysis of a problem includes buy-in from other stakeholders. If change is necessary, how will you present the problems and solutions to gain acceptance?

2. Evaluation

If, in Phase One, you’ve determined you need to investigate alternatives and you’ve obtained initial buy-in, it’s time to move forward. This phase involves investigating and researching other eDiscovery offerings and comparing them to identify what suits you best. Depending on your firm or company size, this could involve drafting a request for proposal (RFP) or interviewing solution providers to determine the range of suitable options

3. Preparation

Armed with viable information, the next step is discussing the feedback/proposals with your stakeholders. It’s critical to involve management, those who will be paying for it, those who will be implementing it, and engaging the everyday users early to ensure everyone’s concerns are addressed, and their needs are met.

Another vitally important part of this step is determining the resources available to you for user and administrator training. How will providers of the products you’re considering help you and your team get comfortable with your new solution?

4. Action

This is the stage where the rubber meets the road, a decision is made, a contract is signed, and a new solution is implemented. The vendor’s service team and your information technology personnel play a critical role in ensuring the new system setup and the previous system data migration are properly handled. Important criteria to consider include:

  • Can you get started with a single matter before making a long-term commitment?
  • What to do with open matters in your legacy system?
  • Deciding which matter(s) will go into the new system first.
5. Maintenance

The last step is critical to your success. This is that tricky time early in adoption where the changes need to be baked into your organization's practices and culture. Who is the internal champion? The person embracing and leading the change that can identify and address users’ needs early in the rollout process. Additionally, will the champion maintain that role ongoing, or will another person or team take the reins to provide the foundation for lasting success?

Identifying Pros and Cons

So how do you weigh the pros and cons of change in eDiscovery?

First, ask around – have any of your colleagues made a change recently? What worked or didn’t work for them? What steps from their process would work for you in your situation?

Second, go through each of the steps listed above and list the positives and negatives for your specific situation.

  • What do you (and your users) like about your current tech?
  • What features can’t you live without, and which features are just ‘nice to have’?
  • Where do you see hang-ups or issues? This is where you can put on your catastrophe hat and consider what could go wrong.

Then, go back and list all the ways you could mitigate those possible adverse outcomes.

This is where the solutions start to coalesce.

Now take a look at the entire process again.

  • Can the issues you’re most concerned about be avoided or contained?
  • Do any of those negatives rise to the level of curtailing the process of change?
  • Or are the benefits of what’s next after a change is made – or, more importantly, the drawbacks of doing nothing – a catalyst to say, “ok, it’s time to do this.”


Avoiding change because that’s how you’ve always done something isn’t good enough in today’s world. The amount of change we’ve seen in the last ten to fifteen years in consumer electronics, litigation technology, and artificial intelligence means that if you aren’t changing, you are already way behind. That’s not to say that it’s easy – but with a thoughtful approach and careful planning using the steps outlined here, you can evaluate, decide, and enact change, making it less daunting and a more deliberate process that positions your organization to produce its best work.