I’ve spoken with a number of folks recently on the topic of using data and analytics strategies within the corporate legal department. Many people have expressed a huge interest in better leveraging the treasure trove of data they’ve built up over the years, but it sounds like many are still trying to figure out exactly how to take advantage of it. It’s definitely a macro trend. Both Gartner and IDC, respected technology analyst firms, predict a growth rate within the analytics space of nearly 10% compounded year-over-year for the next few years. Clearly, the corporate legal space has begun to take notice.
While the data that corporate legal is sitting on may not be as massive as some of that which the buzzword “big data” typically describes, it is still easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. There is immense value to be realized in harvesting and analyzing the data at your disposal, as one client recently described to me. By analyzing nearly 10 years’ worth of matter management and e-Billing data, they were able to reduce spend by nearly 60% over a three year period. For most folks, that amounts to millions of dollars that can be used to justify other expenses, such as new headcount, infrastructure or needed technology investments. There is rarely a market survey or client discussion that goes by without at least some mention of the need to reduce spend or gain better insight about the team operations. With the right planning, skill sets, and tools, general counsel and legal operations directors have at their disposal many years’ worth of data to learn from and possibly even predict future scenarios.
In order to harness the power and savings potential of your data, you’ve got to start somewhere. Often, getting started can be the hardest part. At our upcoming Interact conference James Partridge, Director in the Legal Management Consulting team at Duff & Phelps, and I will be discussing how to start figuring out what is most important to measure. With the right frame of mind and necessary planning to define your approach, you could quickly find yourself on a path to sift through the muck and analyzing the most important data you have available, hopefully finding the savings gold just waiting to be uncovered. And that could be a very big deal.