Judge’s Spotlight – Nigel Redwood
CEO at Nasstar, Nigel Redwood, is on the judging panel for the upcoming British Wills and Probate Awards.
In this interview, he discusses what initially inspired his interest in technology as well as the key challenges facing the sector.
Nigel, please could you provide us with an overview of your background and your current role?
I became CEO of Nasstar plc in January 2014 when my previous business e-know.net reversed into Nasstar plc. Nasstar is an established and well-regarded IT services provider to the legal sector with more than a decade’s worth of experience supporting barristers, solicitors and legal professionals with their IT needs. Our legal team has worked with a large number of law firms and chambers to deliver cloud based IT solutions that are specifically tailored to the legal sector.
I then became Managing Director of e-know.net in 2003. As MD, I grew the business by adopting a consultative approach to selling managed and outsourced IT solutions to legal and professional firms seeking increased operational efficiencies whilst lowering the risk associated with their IT systems.
What initially sparked your interest in technology and innovation?
As a technology business, innovation is at the heart of everything we do. Technology moves at such a fast pace that innovation is crucial to achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage in an ever-changing marketplace.
Having worked strategically with law firms since 2002 focusing on the use of technology in the sector, I have a keen interest in how firms technically innovate to drive efficiencies and improve client service. By utilising a cloud solution like Nasstar’s, firms can remove the IT headache and focus on adding real value to the business by positively embracing change. Nasstar counts over 60 law firms across the UK as clients, equating to over 3,400 legal end users accessing services and being supported by the business daily.
How do you think greater use of technology could benefit the Wills and Probate sector?
In most firms, the probate department is the last area to become automated as it is often viewed as being slow or not as profitable as other areas of the business. There is also a concern that the personal touch needed when practising this area of law could be lost through utilising technology. However, innovative technology can help firms to carry out complex processes efficiently and at a low cost to help improve the service delivered to clients and improve efficiencies.
Also, adopting a cloud-based practice management solution or hosted desktop means solicitors can access all their data in one place, securely 24/7, wherever they are and on any device, enabling true mobile working and improved customer service.
As a judge of the British Wills and Probate Awards, what will you be looking for in a winner?
A firm that has shown great initiative and an innovative use of technology to improve client service and drive efficiencies. I’m also interested in seeing firms that demonstrate forward thinking when it comes to technology and that are constantly striving to stay ahead of the curve.
How important do you think it is to recognise achievement in the sector?
It’s extremely important, the legal sector is constantly changing and becoming increasingly competitive therefore, recognising achievement and positive contributions to the sector can really boost a firm’s standing within the market. A firm that uses technology to manage customer service can make a tangible difference to levels of satisfaction and can mean the difference between repeat business and not.
What are the most prominent challenges the industry is facing at present?
Arguably the biggest threat to the legal sector today is cyber-crime. Firms that utilise a cloud based solution benefit from a third party managed service provider taking on responsibility for keeping the firm as safe and protected as possible against security threats. Law firms are amongst the most targeted company types for cyber-crime as they hold large amounts of sensitive data and it’s not just the large firms that are at threat. Forget loss of earnings and civil cases if you get hacked, the loss of reputations across your customer base could be the final nail in the coffin. A private cloud solution wraps your data in the most secure blanket possible with constant monitoring, penetration testing and deployment of the most sophisticated cyber-crime countermeasures available.
What advice would you give to Wills and Probate professionals who are seeking to take greater advantage of technology?
Always do your due diligence before choosing an IT provider or software vendor; after all, technology is the lifeblood of your organisation and it shouldn’t be handed over lightly. Look for the right fit of culture, people and processes between your firm and the third party, you want to make sure you are aligned as closely as possible in order to create a partnership and not just a passive agreement. Always begin by analysing the issues you are experiencing that have led you to looking at a new piece of technology, rather than starting with the product you think you need. By doing this you may discover that the technology you had in mind actually isn’t the right fit for your business.
The British Wills and Probate Awards will take place on the 18th October at The Palms Conservatory, Ardencote, where the winners will be announced and rewarded with a sumptuous gala dinner. There’s plenty of time to enter, and it’s free, so make sure you put your firm forward to be in with a chance of winning!
You can also be part of the awards if you’re looking for a unique way to boost your company’s brand exposure – why not take a look at our sponsorship opportunities – click here to find out more.