Obtaining an understanding of the return on investment (ROI) that technology can bring to a corporate legal department is key to creating buy-in for the investment. Implementing a legal management system, including matter management and e-Billing, is a big decision for any enterprise, as it represents a change in the day-to-day operations of both the legal department and their business partners. In the August edition of InsideCounsel, Brad Blickstein provides a great summary of the factors to consider when attempting to measure the ROI that the department can expect. I have assisted many organizations, moving from Microsoft Excel or a home-grown solution, that are attempting to measure this return by providing the data necessary to build a solid business case. What’s interesting is that while most legal departments looking to implement these solutions for the first time rely on reduced legal spend to make their investment case, the value created through productivity, efficiency, and legal outcome improvements is just as high and quite frankly, more strategic in the long-run.
The reduction in legal spend and invoice processing time provided by e-Billing and spend management technology has been long promoted and accepted by the market, but some of the benefits tied to matter management and compliance systems are less understood, even to organizations that have deployed this technology for many years. However, we’ve discovered that the business value created by successfully leveraging a strong matter management system to its fullest extent is far greater than the spend reductions created by using a simple e-Billing system.
The best matter management systems create productivity increases through well-defined process and data-driven decisions. These systems transform the legal department into a true strategic business partner to the rest of the organization. Matter management benefits may be more quantifiable than one might initially assume, including: a reduction in the time spent performing repeatable tasks, optimization of outside counsel selection to not only reduce costs but drive better matter outcomes, reduction in infrastructure costs by consolidating systems, increased capacity to generate reports and legal documents, automation of docketing, reduction in the time spent approving and realizing revenue from contracts, and a reduction of regulatory compliance incidents. As legal departments become increasingly responsible for risk and compliance issues, proactive identification of risks and strategies to mitigate them, along with the increased agility of the whole organization that business intelligence can provide, are real, tangible benefits that having a robust matter management system can provide.
Once the complete benefit set of an integrated legal management solution is understood, it will be easier to have the discussion around the change that this technology will represent. The goal of the department to spend more time on higher value work and less time on administrative tasks is very achievable and proven. Legal groups wishing to measure their own expected return on investment can learn more by requesting a value analysis on our website.