2018 – Will the robots take over?

It’s hard to grasp that we are saying goodbye to 2017. It really has gone in a flash. I think the pace of business life is getting faster each year and it’s harder to predict the environment in which we operate. At a macro level we need to get our heads around the uncertainty and opportunity that Brexit presents. At a technology level, we are seeing tech advancements at a pace I have never known.

If I listen to the commentators, then we are all soon to be replaced by robots. While I am not sure I believe that, I do have a strong conviction that new developments in cloud and machine learning will fundamentally change the business of law. As a close Microsoft partner, I benefit from real insight to what is coming down the line. I would put money on the fact that in 5 years’ time, or less, every business will be in the Cloud and all our software will be delivered like a utility service. We will buy our software and compute power as a service from the big tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Oracle and IBM. You will simply plug in and pay for your usage and the role of IT will fundamentally change. Firms will hire people who can understand business strategy to help firms “engineer” how tech can optimise ROI. This will be business and strategy engineers, not hardware and network engineers, as that will all move to the Cloud Utility companies.

What about the robots? Well, if you start to think of all that data in the Cloud then you have an amazing data set which you can mine and learn from. Microsoft alone have 5000 people working on AI/Machine learning and we will start to see solutions that can understand data like no human. In the business of law that will help lawyers identify trends and apply this logic to cases and workload. This will transform the quality of legal advice and change the role of the lawyer. Their focus will be on relationships, service and human judgement. It will be a different world.

When I founded Peppermint 7 years ago I could see some of the early signs of these developments and for that reason I just knew we had to be on an industry platform (in our case Dynamics), to allow us to keep up with the pace of change and technology advancement. Going into 2018, I am so pleased we made that strategic bet. None of us know what the future holds but we can all be sure it will be tech centric. At least I have the comfort of knowing that our clients will be able to stay ahead by leveraging the huge investment of Microsoft in the Cloud and AI.

On behalf of all the team at Peppermint, I wish you and your families a happy and restful festive break and best wishes for the year ahead.