top tech of 2020

18 Pieces of Tech that Saved 2020

With the many disruptions brought by the events of 2020, our reliance on tech was made more evident than ever before. In light of this, we asked our community of industry leaders to share the piece of tech that made the biggest difference to them this year, professionally or personally. Here is the top tech of 2020 according to our community:


1. Cloud computing

– Philip Woodgate, Partner at Goodman Jones LLP



2. iPod, iTunes, Apple Music and Deejay2.

Music is the answer! – James Pellatt, Director of Workplace and Innovation at Great Portland Estate

3. Dragon Professional Anywhere

Professionally – Dragon Professional Anywhere digital dictation/voice recognition software. It means that I do my own document production without being hampered by my abysmal typing speed. It makes it easier for me to get my thoughts down and then edit them in something approaching real-time. There was an upgrade to the software at some point earlier this year and that triggered some problem which meant that I had to do without it for a couple of days. I found that I had almost forgotten how to work without it, relying on a secretary for longer pieces of text and my own typing for shorter ones. I don’t want to go back to that anymore. In all other areas of my life, my phone has effectively changed everything – it is utterly invaluable. – Chris Wilkinson, Partner at Maples Teesdale

4. Smartphone

Roblox to keep the kids entertained during lockdown?! In all seriousness, my smartphone and a really decent speaker have been my desert island items this year.  – Joanna Kingston-Davies, COO at Jackson Lees Group

5. Xero

– Lisa Leighton, Partner at BHP Chartered Accountants


6. Machine learning, predictive analysis

– Maurus Schreyvogel, Chief Legal Innovation Officer at Novartis


7. Microsoft 365

Particularly Teams. This enabled us to keep ‘face to face’ contact with clients during the lockdowns. – Chris Madden, IT Director at Kreston Reeves


8. DirectAccess

It’s probably DirectAccess in Windows 10 – when the firm switched from conventional VPN’s to DirectAccess on all our laptops it saved maybe 10 minutes per day of fussing around getting connected. Over the course of 2020 that time saving has added up, and I haven’t had to deal with any VPN connectivity or stability issues all year. It’s been the unsung hero of remote working for me! – Sam Moore, Innovation Manager at Burness Paull


9. Slack

This year – Slack has helped my team communicate effectively and maintained the ability to ask ‘over the desk’ questions of each other.  Teams too from a looking people in the eye perspective. Away from work, I don’t know how I got by without contactless payments – I can honestly say I’ve made a single cash payment in 2020 (that was in January). – Steve Dalgleish, Head of Technology at Shepherd and Wedderburn


10. Teams/Zoom

The first time I used slack, about 7-8 years ago, I realised the mind-boggling disadvantages of corporate emails and the inefficiencies, confusion and boredom it brings to the traditional workplace. Now we are all on MS teams and my email inbox has reduced by at least 90% which makes for a more enjoyable life. – Rickard Warnelid, Partner at Mazars

Tech or software would be Microsoft Teams as this has made a huge difference in our business in 2020 (albeit we had it in place since May 2019).  The best kit is the walking boots, the ability to escape the bombardment that tech and software have enabled should not be underestimated.  Whilst Tech and software offer so many opportunities we need to be careful to ensure it does not start to control our lives. – Edward O’Rourke, CEO and Partner at Ashtons

They have revolutionised our client interactions, Software – CCH and it’s client portal although we were already using it remote working has expanded our use- Rachel Skells, Partner at Whittles

Not because of the software itself.  As somebody who worked from home 2 or 3 days per week before the pandemic when most people were in the office, I was often excluded from meetings held in person.  Now nobody is in the office and all meetings are remote so I am not disadvantaged by working remotely. – Richard Thompson, Senior Legal Counsel at SimplyHealth

Whilst we were using it before, it was limited. This has been a massive game changer and I envisage zoom being the preferred choice of meeting for the foreseeable future. – Zahid Hussein, Managing Director at ZGRP


11. Airpods

With spending so much time on screen and the phone probably Airpods, which were a lockdown tech gift.  A hand-blender for soup is a close second. – Helen Archibald, Chief Operating Officer at Thorntons Law LLP

top tech of 2020

12. Wolters Kluwer CCH product suite

– Isla Mayfield, Business Advisory Senior Operations Manager at Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP


13. Novell

I had worked with IBM mainframes and Unix servers before that and never really got to grips with NetWare so it was less of a wrench when I moved into a management role which ultimately led to me becoming a consultant.  Over lockdown I would have to say Teams, not for the obvious video conferencing but because we had the time to understand its file storage capabilities and now fully embrace it. – Paul Longhurst, Consultant and Owner at 3Kites


14. Google

– Jonny Woodward, IT Director at PKF Francis Clark


15. Plexus Gateway

It’s our legal matter and contract intake platform, which contains contract automation and self-service tools for the business.  We now have heaps of data relating to what the legal team is doing – something that a Legal Ops practitioner craves! – Amy Brookbanks, Head of Legal Operations, Ocado


16. Teams, Zoom and a Bluetooth earpiece.

The ability not just to meet virtually but to share screen, documents and information in the meeting not after has been invaluable.  My old tech “bean to coffee” machine has been a good friend during lockdown. – Attilio Morosini, IT Director at Chestertons

17. Kim

It has changed my life, literally. Commercially and personally, it is the most fun I’ve had, and I’ve learnt (and am learning) so much. Emotionally, I am very invested – for our team, our customers and all our stakeholders. – Karl Chapman, Chief Executive Officer of Riverview Law

18. iPhone.

It’s a double-edged sword – I have all the information to hand, or can find it, but I find it hard to leave the phone at home and enjoy life. Top tip – go to the Yorkshire Dales where there is no signal. – Dan Mitchell, Head of IT at Clarion Solicitors

top tech of 2020

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