Corporate legal departments should upgrade their technology while being careful and well-informed.
This recommendation comes from a recent report issued by the Corporate Executive Board, which offered advice on how corporate legal departments can improve their efficiency.
The recommendation acknowledges the value of new technology while reflecting the importance of making technology investments with adequate, expert guidance.
4. Invest Selectively in Legal Technologies – Matter management and e-billing technologies are becoming more commonplace across large legal departments and members express relatively high levels of satisfaction with those solutions. Document management solutions, more prevalent across departments, have less satisfaction (that may be because we don’t want to change our habits, not because the technology is poor.) The moral of the story – push forward with technology initiatives, but demand more from providers and don’t underestimate the workflow and change management requirements.
These conclusions are consonant with our own observations at Kraft Kennedy.
We’ve seen and worked with many clients implementing matter centricity, and lots of firms have become more organized and efficient as a result.
At the same time, technology is never more than part of the puzzle. Enterprise content management systems can be immensely valuable, but only for those who know how to use them. At the end of the day, a document management system is only a tool. Firms and legal departments need to adapt their business processes and workflows to take advantage of their tools.
This is similar to a principle Peter Schmidt covered on this blog in a recent post on CRM: CRM systems can be highly rewarding or highly frustrating, and the difference can be traced to good planning.
Law firms need to look carefully at what their needs are, how new technologies might fulfill those needs, and how their workflows can be adapted to get the most value out of new, hi-tech tools. Investing in technology without this sort of forethought would be a huge mistake.