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Implementing a technological solution for a process as complex as legal requires a defined strategy and roadmap while keeping in consideration the past experiences, challenges and solutions that are fit to the diverse legal departments and its functions.

Every corporate legal department is unique in its size and the way it operates, and entails an approach that supports both the legal processes and business objectives of the organisation, while delivering solutions each to its own challenges.

“Where Do I Start?”

The in-house counsels are a mix of both novice and experienced users in legal technology. While the former are oblivious of the impact of technology on their functions, others are discontented with the outcomes from adoption. Disillusionment hangs over the head as on one hand expectations rise within the industry to evolve while on the other hand, a defined approach is absent on how to select the right technology.

GCs are often seen asking the question, “Where Do I Start?” in terms of implementing technology for their departments. Whether they should start with the people first, or the processes or the technology?

Following the cue from agile legal departments, the ideal approach to tech adoption has been identified as putting all, the people, the processes and the infrastructure, together when creating a roadmap towards implementation. The approach is steered towards identifying firstly a robust and scalable platform that is fit with the need for today’s features.

The Platform-First approach is a strategic roadmap which transforms the existing legal processes from “As Is” to its target operating model, reflecting legal’s end-to-end processes and address ways in which technology can help, including solution implementation.

Sans the platform, the collaboration between various data sources; coming from contracts, compliance, its consequent risks, and litigations, can go haywire if not captured in an orderly manner. Looking at the current scenario where legal departments are struggling are capturing risks and mitigating them, only last minute. Having an integrated platform will enable the data to flow in an orderly manner and allow for better seizing, leading to better insights and ultimately perceptive decisions that can be taken proactively, making risk mitigation a pre-emptive practice.

The processes which are currently manual, with numerous excel sheets and emails to be maintained and tracked can become a tiresome activity to follow through with very high incidents of information getting lost in the process. It is only necessary to have an automated solution which brings all the legal functions on one integrated platform to capture data incoming from various sources and allow for enhanced analytics. The platform eliminates the need for a haphazard upkeep and search for hidden data between multitudes of excel sheets and emails, when risk is knocking on the door. The value of adopting a Platform-First approach is in capturing analytics in a structured and orderly flow in real time providing insights to deliver data-enabled decisions. The legal function’s position will change; it will become an integral part of the business as an effective business enabler, and by analysing the information in its own expanding data lake it should offer great insights.

What agile legal departments need is a platform which is built on a fluidic architecture where the processes and data flow across functions and departments to capture the right information in real time providing informed insights to proactively mitigate risks before they turn into legal matters. A fluidic platform is opposite of the current systems which are disparate and siloed. It is an integrated platform which interacts with various functions across legal and other departments to not just automate but also streamline the entire workflow.

Choosing a tech-enabled solution from among the extensive choices can be a painstaking task and might result in a choice that is unfit for your department. A key consideration to keep in mind when adopting the right solution is to select a technology which is easily adaptable to your current processes and workflows. Reports have suggested that in-house counsels’ aversion towards adopting new technology has been because of their unpleasant experiences with technology in the past. Historically, tech solutions for the legal market were bulky and disintegrated from their existing processes, and concentrated only on the particular task it was meant to achieve rather than taking into consideration of a broader context in which counsels use the product.

Therefore, it is only imperative that legal departments should select a system which is not only adaptable but also configurable to their current infrastructure. Being able to make changes without dependency on others and the handling of impact by the system due to architectural capabilities is imperious. The platform should be both a flexible yet scalable model that allows it to be elastic in its workflows while delivering value to the legal department.

The transparency achieved through the process is the fuel that is driving this revolution. By establishing a common platform that captures critical business information, it will create one robust repository for templates, precedents and knowledge-sharing across the organisation. Greater analytics of data will engineer further efficiency improvements across the organisation and taking on board feedback is essential. The information that the legal function gathers can help understand and support the pain points and speed up processes.

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Insights for General Counsel