[The second in a three-part series on getting started in Experience Management by Rachel Shields Williams – Director, Knowledge Management Enablement & Insights at Sidley Austin LLP:]
Part Two – EM Use Cases Within Your Organization
An enterprise experience system may be used to satisfy many business needs. The full range of modern use cases goes beyond the traditional, marketing-driven uses of experience by aggregating firm data in a user-friendly format, allowing key business functions to efficiently tackle firm challenges where previously a team may have needed multiple data exports from various departments to conduct the same analysis.
...an organization should first identify which use cases resonate most with their operational challenges
Before deploying an enterprise experience system or engaging a business partner (such as an implementation or technology consultant), an organization should first identify which use cases resonate most with their operational challenges by discussing the impact this product could have on the organization with a broad array of stakeholders.
Experience data may be most commonly used for pitches, proposals, league table submissions, events, lawyer biographies, website, content development, public relations, among other marketing activities. Information within an experience system may be used to answer questions from internal interested parties (such as lawyers) and clients.
For example, what is the most significant matter the firm has handled in the last three years? Can the firm use a client’s logo on its website? Where has the firm used a particular experience for marketing purposes? In what industries do the firm’s clients operate? What kind of work is the firm doing for its top clients? Is this type of work cyclical? Are there other clients with a similar profile who could benefit from those services as well?
An experience system enables pricing experts to identify matters similar to work that the firm is pricing, typically in connection with pitching new work.
Rather than depending on a lawyer's knowledge of similar matters, pricing experts may use the experience system to efficiently identify a broader range of similar matters to create a pricing proposal that is evidence-based, compelling and mutually beneficial.
Precedent Matters & Documents
A common and well-known use case for an experience system is to enable users to find precedent from previous matters a firm has handled. For example, a lawyer may locate a precedent deal based on characteristics of a matter or client not typically stored in other enterprise systems, such as industry, location, or recency.
Many firms have joined experience system data with DMS data in enterprise search platforms to enable lawyers to find precedent documents based on matter-level metadata.
An experience system can turn previously anecdotal-based advice into data-driven market advice. For example, parties often spend months negotiating various legal issues related to a transaction. Often, the client will ask, "what do you see in the market for this provision?"
...certain market-related questions may become more data-driven than anecdote-driven
Historically, the response to that market inquiry was a "gut check" of the lawyer on the call instead of actual market data. However, with a detailed matter profile, certain market-related questions may become more data-driven than anecdote-driven. Even when a client's question involves an obscure topic, well-designed matter profiles can inform the analysis.
The data in an experience system may also enable those charged with the firm's administration to more efficiently understand in a quantitative manner the business of the firm. Such understanding can lead to actionable insights that can be used to answer previously challenging questions.
For example, are there themes in the data across types of clients grouped by different characteristics? Is a client relationship growing or remaining consistent following feedback conversations? Are a firm’s key clients growing, are they holding steady, or are they declining?
Today’s client-centric relationships require lawyers to have information about their clients available at the click of a button. An experience system can enable lawyers to access information related to the whole client relationship in one place, or easily integrate with other systems, so they can understand everything about each client and the work the firm is doing for the client, the work the firm is pitching for, and other relevant details about the client.
For example, what marketing events did a client attend? Which client employees attended such events? When was the last client service meeting? Does the client arrangement have specific details that need to be shared consistently with others (for example, billing guidelines)?
An experience system enables a firm to quickly identify in what areas it has a significant amount of expertise and which lawyers have that expertise.
For example, who at the firm has worked on M&A deals over $50M in the last two years? Who was the local counsel retained in Kentucky? Who at the firm is fluent in French? Who has appeared before Judge Smith in the last year?
Increasingly, legal organizations have an interest in quantifying the diversity demographics of their personnel, whether to support and measure procedures that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion reduce bias in the workplace, to meet reporting obligations established by clients, or for other purposes. When experience data within an experience system is paired with timekeeper demographic information (often within a human resource management system), firms can efficiently report on various diversity criteria on the firm, client and matter level of the data structure.
This helps the firm measure progress and address many otherwise challenging questions, including, is the diversity the firm promised to a client in the pitch reflected in the team doing the work? Are we staffing inclusive client-service teams that deliver the best quality legal services we can provide? Are we maintaining a culture of inclusion and collegiality in which we help each other to best serve our clients, each other, our profession and our communities?
Experience systems can also help ensure that recruiting efforts are staffed with the most appropriate personnel.
For example, expertise and previous work experience can be leveraged to make sure that potential lateral lawyer hires are interviewed by lawyers that have similar expertise to the candidate and are in the best position to evaluate the candidate.
An experience system can help accelerate the integration of a newly-hired lateral lawyer into a firm by helping promote the expertise of the lateral lawyer and helping the lateral lawyer better understand the expertise of the longer tenured lawyers of the firm.
When a new lawyer joins a firm, their experience (related to clients and non-clients alike) may be added to the experience system so their experience can be quickly identified and leveraged across the firm. The experience system also provides lateral lawyers an efficient platform to understand the expertise of their colleagues.
An experience system can help track the journey of alumni from in-house positions to other firms and beyond as the relationship between the firm and its alumni evolves.
Storing such information can help efficiently answer questions that are otherwise difficult to answer, including, do alumni appear across the table from the firm? Are they now in a position to refer business to the firm? Are firm lawyers going to go pitch a potential client at which alumni occupy influential positions?
Practice and Matter Management
An experience system can also be used to support practice and matter management.
For example, aggregating experience information simplifies the identification of capacity issues and the creation of real-time dashboards for key matters, clients, and practices. experience systems can help identify when a matter is trending towards the limits of a fee arrangement and answer questions such as, what matters, or clients are keeping people busy this week? Is the work on track within the pricing arrangements?
The past performance and past trends of firm practice areas may provide helpful insights into future situations. By investing in the collection and structuring of data about the work a firm does and for whom, a firm may begin trend spotting.
For example, trend analysis may enable a practice to identify when revenues and profits related to certain lines of business within a firm are increasing and when others are decreasing. It may also allow a practice to collect intelligence regarding which firms are often across the table from it in a variety of different types of work, which could further inform the firm’s competitive intelligence strategy.
An experience system may be integrated with an enterprise search product, which allows users to leverage the various client, matter, and people data points to search for multiple pieces of information across the firm (including documents, clients, matters, and people by expertise and experience).
Upcoming: Part Three – Integration and Taxonomy. Previously: Part One – Building the EM Business Case