Three C’s of digital transformation for law firms
Digital transformation is a tired and undefined term. The main aim is to use technology to transform your business for good; supporting competitiveness and the bottom line. But where to start, where can you make the most difference? Collaboration, compliance and cyber security.
Legal is a people business, it’s all about teams of people solving complex problems. A large organisation that can operate efficiently and effectively as a single unit is more efficient than one broken down into departmental silos and regional units, but it’s also a rare thing. One key factor in improving agility and efficiency is to embed collaboration into the way your business works. Creating one true version of what’s going on, one place to go to and find out. This approach means you get to leverage the experience of everybody, to the benefit of the greater whole. With everybody, no matter what location or specialism, working with the same tools and accessing the same data – you’ll also enable and encourage collaboration and innovation. The power a global working view brings shouldn’t be underestimated, it can create huge shared benefits and encourages innovation across an organisation.
Companies like NetDocuments are using technology to help firms simplify the way they share documents inside and outside of the organisation with the assurance of control over who has access to the content. With technology, collaboration can be simple. When law firm content and data is locked away inside the NetDocuments cloud, it’s also secure.
Automating compliance via data classification
Beyond and below the global view of course you need to consider and adjust for regional and client level context, rules and governance. Not least compliance with client specific requirements but also, of course, with regulations and legislation. You may have to restrict access depending on security measures or even citizenship, there may be rules about sharing across certain geographical or political locations. All of this matters a great deal and can devour resources. These, often competing, rules create complexity and a challenge – it can become difficult to ensure that people within the firm don’t make mistakes and delay client work.
This is where automated data classification – the process of organising data in categories so it’s easier to locate and retrieve – comes in. It’s essentially governance at the document level. By choosing technologies that automate compliance and governance you create freedoms for your fee earners, who can focus on client service and high order tasks, knowing that the compliance tick is firmly in the box.
The risk of cyber-attack today is omni-present from nation state attack to vengeful data misuse from within the organisation. This means training your people to be vigilant and take ownership of their role in cyber security and to also adopt technology innovations on offer today.
Law firms need to create their technology portfolio with excellence in security top of mind – clients demand it so ultimately it’s a requisite for business success. Create a security posture where as far as possible risk is mitigated automatically. Technology in this area is constantly evolving and solving new threats because external risks are becoming ever more competent at penetrating the perimeter defences of any type of a company or any industry. Successful law firms will be looking to the horizon for new innovations that will help going forward. Some of these innovations might sound like sci-fi – such as Quantum tunnelling, using factors like whether an odd or even amount of subatomic particles passed through a barrier – but they’re actually part of the reality of meeting the cyber security challenge!
Guy Phillips, NetDocuments