Smart phones have nearly ruined the experience many of us had while taking summer road trips. With a gigantic paper map that would never return to its original compact shape once unfolded, we would work backwards from the final destination to plot out our course and plan for the inevitable stops or sightseeing opportunities to come. It was nice to see, from a bird’s eye view, where we were starting, where we were going, and all of the obstacles we may face along this journey. Those days might be behind us now. With a few commands of our phone, we are on our way with a clear ETA. Building a technology roadmap is not that simple, but an experience more akin to the golden age of road trip planning can facilitate investment decisions with efficient execution to ensure maximum return.
So, how do you create a roadmap? It’s best to start by visualizing the future state goal of this overall effort. In this case, let’s say that you are looking to leverage technology to create a proactive atmosphere in your organization to mitigate risk and handle legal operations in the most efficient way possible. At the risk of sounding like a marketer with fluffy language, I’m going to call this a Utopian Legal, Risk, and Compliance ecosystem. Once the vision is in place, there are a handful of items to put down on paper:
- High-level current state of process and technology improvement areas.
- Are there redundancies? Are there gaps? Is there something that can be put into place to make life easier?
- A list of qualified vendors that could potentially provide software for legal, risk, and compliance processes to meet your needs.
- Mitratech. Done. Kidding, kind of. You really do need as few solutions as possible. If there are multiple solutions, they need to be able to speak to one another to centralize the information in one location which brings me to the last point of preparation.
- Current KPIs your team is measured against, and some wish list analytics your team would love to provide.
- How are we measured? What do we need to measure? Prioritize all, and consider that the output of data and analytics should meet or exceed the input required to extract the data.
- No one likes to bring up past mistakes, but in this moment it’s important to be honest about failed implementations, lower user adoption with current technology, and any identifiable risks.
- For a project like this to be a success, you will need to break the rule about the number of cooks in the kitchen. Connecting the legal, risk, and compliance landscape in your organization will look different for each company, but it is crucial to include anyone that may touch the new Utopian ecosystem in order to ensure maximum return. You’ll likely want to rope departments like legal, compliance (could be a function of the HR department), Risk, Accounts Payable, IT, and key leadership members. As one of our clients advise, “It’s important that leadership is on board with this investment. They need to be supportive, and willing to dedicate their time and effort. It’s really hard to implement a new solution without the support of leadership”.
From here, your team can begin building the business case, create a plan to measure ROI, map out the buying process within your organization, and get to work on the roadmap realization. Bear in mind that there will be shifts and changes throughout the journey that you will have to adapt to. You must maintain a steady cadence of monitoring these changes throughout the process, and it’s a good idea to have contingency plans in place. The project timeline depicts the cadence, but we would suggest a quarterly review at a minimum.
I can imagine that this could feel like a daunting task. I can’t reassure you by saying that this will be easy, but the road less traveled provides a wealth of reward. The purpose here is to avoid the hidden costs of status quo, avoid investment mistakes by looking at the long term vision versus short-term goals, and ultimately land in a position of an efficient and defensible legal, compliance, and risk ecosystem for your organization.