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Business beyond COVID 19: Building resilience as we move along

From cutting down on extraneous costs and additional human resources to mindful legal technology spends, the plausible option for businesses is to have a healthy contingency plan with technology at its core.

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In the context of legal departments, business continuity is about having a firm contingency plan to ensure that they continue to provide unhindered, quality service to their organization, even in the face of crisis. As we continue to navigate the unprecedented challenges with COVID19 pandemic, there is mounting pressure on legal departments to increase efficiency, deliver prompt services, and yet, keep costs under control.

1. Integrating resources as things pan out in the future

Transformation is the key. The roadmap for building resilience involves a phased approach that aim at:

  • Building agile teams based on the change in attitudes and beliefs and
  • Mitigating the overall risk impact with proactive response.
Integrating-resources-as-things-pan-out-in-the-future

2. Identification and evaluation

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and Google Docs as well as products like matter management tools and contract management tools also rely on the cloud to provide global access to their users and allow for those same users to work with others at the same time on projects without needing to be in the same physical location. To put this into perspective, consider this anecdote. I was working on a big project on my laptop. I had it saved and was ready to send it off when I spilled vitamin water on my computer, essentially rendering it useless. However, thanks to the cloud, I had the document saved to my Google Drive and was able to access it and send it along without a hitch using a backup computer I had available. Hence, I now save everything to the cloud – for easy accessibility no matter where I am or what devices I have available to me. You also can share links to such documents with others instead of sending an email attachment and/or as mentioned earlier work on such documents with others without much work at all.

3. Communication Tools

Assessment of the workflow process, reporting methods, and present allocation of resources can ascertain the areas that need focus. To this end, companies in the manufacturing, real estate sector may face challenges for contract management and litigation, while the pharma sector or FMCG may have concerns about their IPR or compliance-related matters. Accordingly, determine the ability and inefficiencies in your department with the involvement of the key personnel, end-users and decision makers of the organization.

4. Preparedness

Preparing the teams for contingency, ensuring the remote operations are unhindered, access and control over the documents, is not as complicated as it may seem. Your preparation should address all these areas. As business leaders world over unequivocally endorse "embracing technology" to prepare for the future, legal functions cannot be left behind at this moment of transition. Use of Legal-centric-Technology platforms for resource utilization, work allocation, timekeeping functions; and contract management, matter management, IPR management may prepare the legal teams for the future.

5. Responsiveness

The outcome from the above two stages will determine the how legal teams will respond over time. At this stage, collaboration and communication play a vital role, both within internal teams and external personnel. Collaborating on work, sending updates, access to all information you may be relying on; they all have to be available at your fingertips.

6. Business Recovery

Planned recovery is possible through a concerted effort, critical analysis and adoption of the right tools, and mechanisms to increase efficiency in workflow. Since, most of the tools are designed to reduce cost of services and drive scalability, they justify the cost based on economics-of-scale. The focus now shifts to getting business back to track and bouncing back as we navigate the crisis.

“Legal Technology is not just a solution; it is an enabler for operational and organizational efficiency.”

At the outset, this is arguably a transformative stage for legal departments. We have mentioned in our previous issue on how justifiably, legal departments have moved on from being cost centers to profit centers. In the face of the pandemic, the stage is set right and legal technology can enable efficiency, reduce costs and regulate work flow for all legal functions.

"Does legal need technology at all?" "Will having a legal technology platform justify the ROI?"- These long-term assumptions have to be upended to enable legal transformation not just from business continuity perspective, but also to ensure that organizations catapult forward-swiftly without any hindrances as things pan out in the future. To this end, the four-stage risk mitigation and recovery cycle not ensures that risks are averted, but will enable businesses to remain efficient, productive and collaborative.