Posts tagged ‘VoIP’

Digital Dictation Costs

As with all considered purchases, there are costs of purchasing and opportunity costs of NOT purchasing. Building a business case will require an understanding of both.

What does the tape system support & maintenance cost?
It is no doubt increasing each year as spare parts become obsolete.

What is the cost of floating typists?
A well designed and implemented digital dictation system can replace the majority of this cost.

What is the cost of temporary typists?
This is a tough one – partners are loathe to relinquish typist support. Do you need to replace a secretary who is on holiday?

What is the cost of the late return of transcripts?
An unhappy client is a poor chance of repeat business.

What is the cost of the lawyers having to redo dictations because of poor quality audio on tapes?
Doubling up on a lost or inaudible dictation is expensive. You have the direct cost of redoing the dictation as well as the indirect costs of time that should be spent on something else, as well as the delay to client service.

What is the cost of interruptions to the lawyer when they are asked to clarify what was said and who said it on multi-attendee conference recordings?
Digital dictation systems were designed for close-to-mouth audio recording. They were not designed to be set in the middle of the table to record a conference of people. They are 2 very different things. It takes 5-8 hours to transcribe 1 hour of conference audio, and it is a difficult task for the typist resulting in fatigue, incomplete transcripts and frequent interruptions of the lawyer to seek clarification as to what was said and by whom. Using a specifically designed conference audio recorder will lower the amount of time required to transcribe conferences, decrease the number of interruptions of lawyers, as well as provide a more acceptable situation for the typist from an occupational health point of view.

Does every lawyer dictate?
This is an important licencing consideration… no sense in buying dictation licences for lawyers who do not dictate!

Does every secretary type?
Again, this is an important licencing consideration.

What is the cost of support & maintenance for the digital dictation system?
Ensure performance is measured as well.

What does the S&M charge include?
Version releases, Point release, bug fixes, email support, telephone help desk, 24×7, follow-the-sun… Get the vendor to document the S&M protocol, including response times.

How does the vendor licence its solution?
Is it by fee earner or by secretary or by both or by PC or by concurrent fee earner or by concurrent typist or an enterprise licence? Is there licence control built into the system to prevent inadvertent surpassing of the licenced number?

That brings us to the end of our 7 part series on Selecting a Digital Dictation Solution. We appreciate all the email communications to date and welcome further questions as they arise.


January 21, 2008 at 10:24 am 1 comment

Digital Dictation Infrastructure

Naturally, digital dictation by its very nature will be running on the firm’s network infrastructure, so an understanding of that infrastructure and the various internal and external access points to it will be needed to ensure the contemplated digital dictation business process will run efficiently.

Is the infrastructure, including its support, outsourced to a 3rd party?
Working with a 3rd party infrastructure provider may introduce both complexities and opportunities. Seek to understand their position on, and perhaps experience elsewhere with digital dictation.

Do the lawyers carry Notebook PCs?
If so, the remote access options are greater in number.

If they use laptops, how do they connect – VPN / Citrix / WTS?
A thick client connection will afford more options, whilst thin client architectures will restrict the number of options.

If a thin-client architecture is in use, what exact “flavour” is it?
Some “flavours” are supported, some are not.

Do lawyers carry PDAs / Smart Phones / Blackberries only?
If so, this will restrict the number of options.

Is there a full-time Wide Area Network connection between the offices? Or is it dial-up network only? Or is it dial-up internet access only?
Both speed and connection type between the offices will have an effect on the way a digital dictation system can be deployed, and the vendors differ in their approach to this aspect of the installation.

What operating system is in use?
Windows Vista is not yet supported by all digital dictation developers. Windows NT or 98SE will cause limitations – in 2006, the author called upon a law firm that was still running 98SE…

What eMail system is in use?
Microsoft Outlook will provide more vendor options.

Is Microsoft Active Directory directory service (or Novell) in use?
This can present both opportunity and issues.

Is document management in use, and if so, is it integrated with any digital dictation system?
By its very nature integration is bespoken. Seek to understand the exact nature of the integration both from a functional point of view and costs when either system is upgraded.

Is Microsoft SharePoint in use?
If so, it can provide some interesting workflow possibilities.

What Microsoft SQL licencing implications will there be?
A potentially expensive trap to fall into… Get each vendors position in this aspect of the installation.

Is VoIP in use?
Some vendors have integrations for this, but check the details carefully.

In our next post, we will be looking at the digital dictation needs of the Lawyers and how the way they work has an enormous impact on the design of a digital dictation solution… especially in the larger firm where there can be many different working styles dictated as much by the practice group in which they work as their personal preference.

October 23, 2007 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment