How Akerman Senterfitt Achieves Mobile Time Entry Success in a BYOD Environment

Implementing a software solution that integrates with the firm’s existing infrastructure and BYOD policy isn’t easy – see how it’s done.

The Challenge

The world is going mobile, and legal work is no exception. More and more, attorneys find themselves completing client work on the go – on the way home from work, at their kids’ soccer games or in between meetings. Like most other professionals, attorneys rely heavily on their mobile devices to complete their work. It’s actually quite difficult to remember what life was like before iPhones and Blackberrys.

While technology allows attorneys to truly work from anywhere, there are challenges. For example, perpetual connectedness allows clients to have constant access to their attorneys, which often takes place in five- or ten-minute increments. Those short conversations or activities add up – but they often slip through the cracks of a busy day. Remembering that a client interaction took place is virtually impossible when time entry is delayed until later in the week or month. “Some folks are better at it than others,” said Danny Rhinehart, Chief Information Officer at Akerman Senterfitt, “But nothing is as good as being able to, on the spot, enter time and provide a description about the interaction with the client.”

Realizing this and hoping to prevent future mistakes related to time entry, Akerman Senterfitt wanted a solution that would allow attorneys to enter their time contemporaneously from their mobile device.

BYOD and iTimeKeep: A Match Made in Mobile Time Entry Heaven

In the firm’s recent history, Akerman Senterfitt has been proactive about technology and has taken several steps to upgrade their environment. In fact, the firm recently implemented a BYOD policy, allowing attorneys to use the device of their choosing for official legal matters.

“We’ve made multitudes of upgrades and technology advances,” said Rhinehart. “Not unlike other law firms, we are focusing on mobile. More and more attorneys are carrying iPhones and iPads and Android devices. So we want to be sure that we get the tools in their hands on these devices that they carry day in and day out.”

While BYOD provides attorneys with freedom to choose a device that meets their needs and preferences, it is not without complication. At Akerman Senterfitt, there are a range of devices in use at the firm. The BYOD policy requires the firm to support each of these devices. While the majority of attorneys are iOS users, there are significant numbers of Android and Blackberry devices in use as well. In seeking a mobile time entry solution, Akerman looked for an application that would allow them to build upon the operating systems of the future: iOS and Android.

Due to iTimeKeeps compatibility with a range of devices, iTimeKeep became the clear choice for Ackerman’s mobile time entry needs. Other items that factored into the decision-making process, were:

  • Legacy solutions are geared toward legacy devices. Many iTimeKeep’s alternatives are geared toward Blackberrys, which of course, have the least amount of usage among today’s professionals compared with iOS and Android.
  •  Everyone says it, but Bellefield actually means it: it’s simple. Akerman was drawn to the architecture behind the iTimeKeep solution. While iTimeKeep is to some degree a hosted solution, there’s no real data that lives on Bellefield’s environment. It is a simple pass through from Akerman’s mobile devices to the Bellefield environment and back again. “The architecture was simple,” said Rhinehart. “It was easy to set up. It was easy to support. It’s easy to use.”

For Akerman, it was an easy decision.

How Akerman Carried Out a Rock Star Implementation

Akerman’s strategy for introducing iTimeKeep to the firm was flawless – one of the best that Bellefield has ever seen. And, it showcases the fact that IT as a support function has a profound effect on the firm.

iTimeKeep’s implementation started with a brief pilot, but then became available to the rest of the attorneys at the firm. Due to the fact that contemporaneous time entry was such a high priority at the firm, Akerman made a bold move and purchased licenses for the entire firm. Without knowing who might take advantage of iTimeKeep, Akerman wanted to make it available to anyone who might want to try it.

In addition to the technical implementation of iTimeKeep with Akerman’s time and billing system, the IT department focused on cultural buy-in. There were a series of steps involved in the roll out aimed at empowering attorneys to be successful with practicing contemporaneous time entry on their device.

“We didn’t expect everyone to jump onboard right away,” explained Rhinehart, “so we took a series of steps to make sure that certain specific users were onboard who we felt would benefit from iTimeKeep. Our next move is to push the application to all the devices so that the attorneys don’t have to download it or set it up themselves.”

Akerman’s approach to rolling out iTimeKeep:

  • Pilot program to test software and engage key employees.
  • Announcement of iTimeKeep, including user IDs/passwords and instructions for all employees.
  • iTimeKeep launch.
  • Ongoing internal promotions of iTimeKeep.
  • Standard software for new employees.

With any new technology, it is important to consider the human element. After all, no matter how efficient the software is, if it isn’t being used, it isn’t adding value. Akerman understands this, and their ability to build momentum for iTimeKeep benefits the entire firm.

What surprised Akerman most about iTimekeep?

Danny Rhinehart shared what was most surprising about implementing iTimekeep at Akerman. Here’s what he had to say:

“It was so easy. I do keep going to that. It was just easy. It’s easy. I know that seems to be a reoccurring theme, but it’s really not a maintenance or a support strain on us in any way.” He added, “It’s refreshing when you have a system that provides value like this does to be as easy to support. I wish all my systems were like this. “

See for yourself how easy it is to launch, maintain and use iTimeKeep. Get started here