New perspectives on mobility and productivity

It has become a “do-it-yourself” world for many people, and attorneys are no exception. The concept of dictating and relying on transcriptionists simply does not seem necessary – especially for younger professionals who are very much at home typing their own documents and emails.

So, why dictate? The answer to that question lies in two words:

Mobility and Productivity

All across the corporate landscape, professionals now are expected to sustain productivity no matter where or what time they happen to be working. Whether from the office, the courtroom or the board meeting, it is critical that lawyers have the ability to respond quickly to evolving client needs.

There is little question that an increasingly mobile work force has raised expectations of everyone – clients, employers and lawyers themselves. In the past it may have been acceptable to wait until returning to the office to create or send messages and documents; now, such delays may potentially cost a client.

Because the use of keyboards is so ubiquitous, many lawyers are tempted to peck out a quick email or letter on their own either on a smart phone or on their own computer. However, studies show that professionals speak seven times faster than they type. Furthermore, the advent of smart phones means that attorneys now have the ability to take advantage of voice technology regardless of their location. Combined, these two factors create a new perspective on mobility and productivity.

Merging mobility with traditional workflow

For many attorneys, mobile technology has begun to complement office dictation systems. Voice technology applications for smart phones can be used to quickly create and meeting recaps, emails, instructions for the office or short documents. On the other hand, a litigator might find it easier to dictate a lengthy report using a familiar, intuitive hand-held dictation recorder which are also fully WiFi-connected these days.

Either way, many firms now are incorporating speech recognition software into their dictation workflow solutions. Traditional “transcriptionists” are evolving into “correctionists,” which provides not only faster turnaround time, but more time for staff to perform other mission-critical duties.

Evaluating mobile capabilities

Just as with traditional hand-held dictation devices, a good mobile dictation app should be intuitively easy to use. Here are a few other key capabilities legal firms should consider when evaluating dictation apps:

  • Security concerns: It is important to understand that not all mobile voice technology applications are suited equally to the legal environment. There are hundreds of mobile dictation apps available, but only a few are created with an acute awareness of the legal profession’s high security standards. Apps that create files in Digital Speech Standard (DSS) format, for example, can provide built-in encryption and other security features to help protect client confidentiality.
    Professional mobile applications allow to be securely integrated into a firm’s enterprise-wide dictation solution to increase workflow efficiency. Truly topnotch mobile dictation apps also make it easier to share data with other productivity tools as well, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs.
  • File format flexibility: Apps that can use the DSS file format created by the International Voice Association tend to be more robust than those that create other file formats, such as MP3 or WAV. That is because the DSS format was specifically designed to record the human voice and compress voice data for easier file storage and transfer. That said, there may be times when an MP3, WAV or other formats are preferable, so flexibility is key.
  • Automatic categorizing and prioritizing: Professional voice recording apps boost productivity by being able to separate every file by category and priority level. For example, when a transcriptionist receives a voice file, it automatically can be categorized in the dictation inbox.

Moving into the mobile age

By sending voice files rather than text, attorneys can delegate tasks more efficiently and achieve faster turnaround. New mobile apps further help lawyers harness the power of voice productivity from any location.

Mobile dictation tools already spur greater productivity in many professional fields, such as law enforcement and Healthcare. There are a dizzying number of applications out there, however, so be cautious. Make sure to select a voice technology solution that understands the unique security and workflow issues associated with the legal profession.

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