Steve Irons is the Founder and CEO of DocSolid, a legal technology company that creates enterprise scanning, workflow and paper reduction solutions, i.e. DocSolid’s Paper2Digital® solutions. These patented Paper2Digital solutions are enterprise-level implementations deployed with unmatched consulting expertise to reduce the costs, risks and inefficiencies of paper records for leading law firms and corporate legal departments.
In an interview with IndustryWired, Steve explains how DocSolid swiftly created new software for the market during the onset of the pandemic to help law firm clients digitize daily mail and records room operations, mission critical functions in a law firm or legal department. The new software is DocSolid’s Airmail2 Digital Mail + Records Suite, and it transforms a firm’s paper-based mailroom and records room functions into streamlined, digital operations supporting work-from-home and return-to-office strategies.
Transitioning Law Firms: A Paper2Digital Transformation
DocSolid is an 11-year-old company that focuses on one mission— to help law firms through a Paper2Digital transformation. Historically, law firms are an entrenched paper-based operation because paper has long been the preferred medium of its producers of work product: the attorneys. Transitioning away from this long history changes the relationship to their craft. DocSolid provides the change management required to gain the buy-in from the attorneys, which is pivotal, as well as patented methods to manage scanning, printing and shredding in law firms, all tightly integrated with leading document management systems.
An Entrepreneur with a Digital Mindset
Steve Irons is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of DocSolid. He started DocSolid with the intention of addressing the burden of paper for law firms and, to date, the company has accrued 14 patents on the methods that the team uses for managing paper digitally. The most important thing about DocSolid’s patented technology is that it innovates in its marketplace to fix real problems. Over the years, the team has learned a lot about how to help law firms by building innovative technology that helps to eliminate paper from their existing processes.
Early Success and Driving Market Demand
Prior to the pandemic, DocSolid drove much of its own market demand by evolving a broad set of technologies and Paper2Digital solutions for law firms. At that time, it was a truism that about half of the attorneys still preferred working with paper. DocSolid’s methods were generally about changing the operations behind, underneath, around, without asking the firms to change personal behaviour— and the company has had success with that approach. Four of the top ten law firms in the US have Paper2Digital projects with DocSolid, as do many, many others. However, it was a highly bespoke business proposition every time. The team was capable of repeating the solutions but were tailored for each law firm, sometimes to each office.
Paving the Way During the Pandemic: WFH Solutions
The pandemic sent the law firm workforce into home offices and, initially, everybody worked hard to make that process stable, secure, and productive. DocSolid quickly realized that the only efficient method was to go digital, as it was critical for the attorneys to receive sensitive client information that was arriving by postal mail to their home offices.
Law firms had started to address this by building own makeshift digital mailrooms— scanning mail and delivering it as email attachments, which is unsecure and time-consuming for the receiving attorney. DocSolid has core expertise around helping firms manage the transition from paper to digital and this now includes building a new standardized digital mailroom for the law firms. The team went to work on it aggressively and delivered its market leading software in record time. In addition to the digital mailroom, the company has now launched a companion digital records room. The digital records room lets firms digitize their records rooms to enable removing paper footprints in each office as firms are now shrinking their offices in conjunction with the permanent work-from-home (WFH) posture that’s settling in.
Understanding the Target Market: A Drive to Success
Steve Irons is proud of how the company was able to pivot during these tough times. The team was able to completely change the business focus and create an impact solution for the target market. DocSolid went through a rapid, formal product management process, talking to the customers, prospects and partners. In a few short months, the team had its first version of software rolled out by working on that for about two months, then released the second version as MVP (Minimal Viable Product). The company listened to customer feedback and really stepped up their game, and the solution is evolving quickly as the company builds its base of customers and feedback loop.
Innovating with Expertise in the Normal Now
Airmail2Digital Mailroom and Digital Records Room were born in the pandemic. DocSolid saw what was happening and reacted by applying their expertise and courage. The company was remarkable in its ability to create a new solution as the team was dodging the COVID-19 bullet and suffering the same business slowdown as many small companies. The team envisioned that law firms would start believing that a large portion of the workforce wasn’t going to return to the downtown office, even in the post-pandemic times. They would need permanent digital mailrooms and the floor space dedicated to paper records would become an intolerable expense as they started to shrink their offices and their real estate budgets. Firms are making decisions about sustainable new operations adjusted for what DocSolid calls the “Normal Now”.
Losing Our Religion to Create Something New
Steve Irons does not give up easily. Before the pandemic, the company was experiencing incremental– but not breakthrough–success and he kept grinding. The team had to change their previous belief system in order to put forth a new category of solution that was much more targeted and tactical and back office. It was a big change— the team called it “losing our religion”— but the DocSolid team had to turn all efforts from concentrating on traditional solutions to create something new and risky.
A Paper2Digital Future
DocSolid believes that approximately 40% of the law firm workforce will work from home moving forward. New productivity methods, staffing models and standards will emerge and have to be built into best practices and sustainable solutions. Right now, law firms need to pay increasing attention to security and information governance. DocSolid is perfectly situated. The company jumped into that pool and started swimming with their law firm customers, helping them to digitize their records rooms and stay digital going forward. All firms were running paper mail rooms. Most firms still have records rooms but the intense need for real estate compression and distributed workforce won’t allow either anymore.
Every day is fun for DocSolid and another opportunity to innovate. Steve Irons looks out and observes a tremendous digital wave and the company is riding it forward. DocSolid intends to use their new solutions to be the innovative technology partner a law firm needs for its paper-to-digital transformation.