Corporate Counsel has published a lengthy profile of NetApp, highlighting how they’ve extended Legal Ops transformation outside of their own department, and even beyond the boundaries of the enterprise.
One of the best things about the story? How it leads off with a quote from one of our favorite people at NetApp, Emily Teuben, offering her POV on how a legal team should go about embracing technology to drive Legal Operations transformation:
It’s not about leaping before looking, though. We can absolutely vouch for that: NetApp went through a long and stringent evaluation process before it decided TAP was the legal workflow automation solution that suited their plans.
But as Emily explains in the article, too much caution can put Legal Operations increasingly behind the curve when it comes to utilizing new tools and driving positive change.
“A lot of people in other legal departments are afraid to move forward on something, or think they need to completely map out 100 percent of their process before the move,” she tells Corporate Counsel. “Grab anything. Find something and move on it.”
Declaring “a war on paper”
The push forward at NetApp can be traced back to when Matthew Fawcett joined as General Counsel. One day, he “entered the legal department each day to find three-foot-tall stacks of contracts to be sent off to Amsterdam.”
The paper glut was wasteful and costly, he knew, and contributed to long delays in getting international contracts produced, delivered and approved, cutting into revenues. His department then “essentially declared war on paper,” Matthew Fawcett says, and part of the strategy was to hire Connie Brenton to build and lead a tech-focused Legal Operations team.
Legal workflow automation was key to that. Corporate Counsel details how TAP was put to work streamlining processes such as those ensuring compliance with the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation:
The department also used TAP to facilitate compliance with the GDPR’s Article 30, which says data controllers “shall maintain a record of processing activities.” The team created an intake form that captures information on all of the company’s existing data controllers and processors, establishing a collection of information on what data’s being stored, where and for how long.
Extending Legal Operations transformation…everywhere?
Connie’s Legal Ops team has subsequently worked with other departments within NetApp to identify TAP workflow use cases, and Emily even trains other teams ibn how to use TAP. “Legal is in a unique position where we collaborate with the entire company,” she tells Corporate Counsel. “When Legal’s meeting with HR or engineering and hearing about a process and they think it might be a good use case, they’ll connect me with that team, who will work with me on training.”
Some of these recent TAP converts at NetApp? Emily worked with the sales and marketing department in crafting a partner risk assessment and due diligence workflow. TAP let them design an electronic questionnaire allowing them to grade potential partners for risk, then routing the questionnaires to the right individual to perform due diligence.
When NetApp’s sales department switched to a platform that would have required authorization forms to be scored manually, Legal Ops built a TAP workflow with automated scoring in less than a week, saving over a hundred expensive work hours.
It’s easier than ever to open new frontiers
There’s a lot more to the article, and while it’s very generous about TAP and what we can deliver, it’s mainly a testament to how a team like the one at NetApp can seize the initiative, drive innovation, and deliver Legal Operations transformation capable of impacting an entire enterprise.
One thing about pioneers? When they open a frontier, they make it easier for others to follow the same path. Now that TAP is integrated into Mitratech’s TeamConnect ELM platform, it’s even simpler for Legal Ops teams to follow NetApp’s example. How? By introducing legal workflow automation efficiency, accuracy, and acceleration into every corner of their organizations.
When you’ve got the right solution in hand, there’s no reason to put off Legal Operations transformation. As Connie Brenton concludes, “You have to start. That’s the most difficult piece. Start. And once you start, it begins to self-perpetuate.”