Companies both large and small have increasingly been turning their attention to digital transformation for legal departments, with an eye toward implementing new initiatives and pursuing innovation that will help increase efficiency and improve the legal function. However, it can be challenging to know where to start and how to keep yourself on track.
Brad Rogers, Onit’s SVP of Strategy & Growth, headed up a CLOC Ask the Experts panel that offered some valuable advice for companies looking to implement legal transformation projects. Here are the top five considerations to keep in mind as you pursue legal transformation at your organization.
1. Remember that digital transformation is a journey.
No matter how prepared or dedicated you are, the transformation won’t happen overnight. You need to think of it as a journey – and one that’s disruptive and often messy. You might not be able to plan precisely where you’re going, but you should know where you want to get goal-wise. Just be prepared for the path there to zig and zag along the way. Too many people think of legal digital transformation like building a skyscraper with square corners where you can count all the nuts and bolts you’ll need to get the job done. In reality, transformation is more like building a city, where many people are involved, and some neighborhoods will go faster or slower than others.
2. Know the primary goals of your GC.
It’s essential to keep your GC’s primary goals in mind as you implement legal digital transformation and align your strategy with those goals. Most GCs have the same priorities, namely to protect the company, have a team of highly engaged, top talent, and boost efficiency to be a world-class legal department. Keeping these goals in mind at all times will keep your GC engaged in your transformation efforts and lead to a better outcome.
3. Know the primary reasons why you’re transforming in the first place.
No transformation initiative will be successful without a concrete plan. It’s not only important to have a plan, though – you also need to be able to articulate it. Successful digital transformation requires buy-in from all the stakeholders in your organization. If you want to secure that buy-in, you need to be able to adequately explain the reasons behind your transformation in your company’s town hall, in team meetings or even in the elevator.
4. Understand why data is important.
Data plays into legal transformation in a number of ways. First, a data-driven staffing model is the only way to fully understand how many and what type of resources you’ll need to make your transformation initiative succeed. Second, you need to present data on matters, risks, legal spend and more to help your GC and your company’s leadership team understand your organization’s legal exposure. Finally, you need to give your leadership and your lawyers data on the legal function to help them manage the business better.
5. Foster a process-based mindset.
It’s not always easy to get your lawyers to think about processes. The way you think and speak about digital transformation may not line up with the way your lawyers think. To overcome the gap, you should start with a high-level process map that your lawyers can follow. It shouldn’t be overly detailed, but simply create clarity around roles and responsibilities. Another helpful tool is a dashboard that provides key operational metrics that break down the process in a way that’s easily understood.
You can listen to the entire panel here for more insight into best practices for pursuing legal transformation.