If you’re reading this, there’s every chance you’ve experienced pain points in your legal operations, and perhaps you’ve even begun identifying the right legal tech solution to overcome them. Congratulations on taking this first step!
But just like any other business function, it’s likely that you’ll have to prepare a business case to help influence stakeholders on why the tech you’ve chosen is the best option and, ultimately, to get sign-off for the investment.
So, to help get you started, we’ve created a handy blueprint to guide you through building a business case in six easy steps. With a guide in hand, along with this free business case template you’ll be even closer to getting the green light.
1. Showcase the problem
Identifying with clarity the current situation, pain points or problems that you need to solve is crucial to getting business buy-in. And while anecdotal and qualitative information will be useful, it’s important to rely on numbers, metrics or statistics where possible.
For example, a legal efficiency and savings calculator can help quantify the time and money spent on manual administrative tasks by the legal team. Such tasks then become focus areas for the proposed legal technology to support or combat. A legal waste calculator can also guide your assessment and ability to communicate the status quo of your legal operations to decision makers.
Relevant industry statistics are also helpful to showcase things like important priority areas for legal teams in the following year or trends affecting teams that need to be mitigated, and benchmarks for similar legal teams. There are some great reports out there, such as The 2023 In-house Legal Technology Report, which identifies inefficiencies with certain ways of working and the latest trends. The problem section of your business case becomes the ‘backbone’ and the ‘why’ behind the technology you’re proposing.
2. Identify the requirements of your legal tech solution
As you evaluate solutions in the market and consider your pain points, you’ll want to create a list of critical vendor capabilities. These capabilities then become requirements in your selection process, helping you to narrow the playing field and choose the best solution.
You’ll want to consider both feature functionalities and more broad characteristics that impact value, adoption and your overall experience, such as:
- The ability to seamlessly address multiple pain points and workflows (such as contracts and matters, spend management and e-billing, and reporting) from a single source of truth or system
- Contract automation
- Document management
- Configurability of matter fields and legal request (intake) forms
- Easy for team members to quickly adopt and use
- A portal that enables the wider business to self-serve, access information and engage the legal team directly
- A guided implementation service rather than doing it yourself
- 24/7 service and support
- Helpful self-assist resources or learning academies to help you get the most out of the system
- Reputable references from existing customers
Aside from functionality, you’ll also want to consider higher-level requirements such as time to value, ROI, security requirements, IT impact, and total cost of ownership. But don’t worry, if you aren’t so familiar with those terms, we’ve got you covered with this whitepaper, A workspace approach to legal operations and digital transformation. You can see a table excerpt from the paper below:
3. Propose the recommended solution
Key details – who are they?
Provide a quick overview of your recommended solution. Key stakeholders might be interested to know:
- Company name and what the solution does (eg, is it just a CLM solution, an e-signature tool, or a legal workspace?)
- Headquarters location and company size (headcount or revenue) and any market signs of stability (eg, just been through a significant fundraise backed by a renowned VC). This helps to showcase the vendor is an established company that you can rely on and trust
- Data storage location and provider (eg, AWS in Sydney)
- Security credentials – is it SO27001, SOC2 and SOC1 certified and HIPAA compliant?
Showcase the benefits it will provide
The next step is to outline how your preferred supplier or proposed technology solution solves your problem and meets your requirements (as previously outlined). How will the tool help your legal team achieve its goals or key priorities in your strategy? And don’t forget benefits for the wider business. For instance, are there efficiency or velocity objectives that this solution should align with?
A good place to start is by referring back to the problems you identified earlier, and how the proposed solution addresses them. You can also ask the proposed vendor to provide some ROI statistics to bolster your case. For example, how much time could it save your business from manual administrative tasks, or how much faster would contract turnaround time be? Customer testimonials will also support these numbers, and are also helpful in gauging sentiment on the unmeasurable, such as whether the customer support is responsive, helpful and timely; was implementation fast etc.
It’s important to not just focus on the benefits to your legal team. If you’re trying to get buy-in from the wider business, positioning the solution as providing them with value too will only help your case.
This could look like:
- Faster turnaround times for sales contracts
- Easier to send requests to legal and receive real-time updates
- Transparency into legal team performance and costs with better reporting
- Don’t need to hire more headcount, relying on tech to automate certain tasks instead
4. The costs
Considering fees and structures is important. Is there an annual subscription, a one-off implementation fee, are there per user charges? It’s also useful to consider whether there are add-ons or upgrades you might require in the following 12-24 months that you want to account for.
Does the vendor provide opportunities to save on subscription fees, such as referral schemes you could leverage?
Creating an accurate picture of the cost to your business will help make the decision-making process as fast as possible.
5. Outline what implementation looks like
Your proposed vendor should be able to provide you with a timeline of implementation and a list of responsibilities/deliverables for the vendor as well as for you – inevitably there will need to be some time input from your internal project sponsor.
Think beyond the legal team too. Will your IT team be required to help with setting up single sign on for example?
Being able to anticipate the effect on the wider business is important to the full picture, but equally to prompt you to consider whether you want a tool that is burdensome on the business or has a relatively light impact.
6. Executive summary
Last but not least, we suggest going back to the beginning and completing your executive summary.
This is where you can tie in the problems you’ve calculated, the impact they have on your team’s performance and the objectives of the wider business, and summarize your proposed solution.
If you’ve done all the other parts well, the executive summary should be quick and easy to write succinctly, putting across a strong case for the business to make a decision.
So you’ve sent the business case to the business and they’ve made a decision. What’s next?
What to do if you’re successful
If you’re successful and the business approves your proposal, you’ll need to get ready for implementation. But because you’re so onto it, you’ll already have an outline of the implementation process from building your business case!
Here are some considerations when getting ready for kick-off that will likely be taken on by your project leader/sponsor:
- Bring the legal team along on the journey with any other affected stakeholders
- Communicate why this change is coming
- Communicate the benefits
- Ensure everyone knows what’s required of them
- Communicate what to expect during the implementation process
Once the software is live, the change process doesn’t stop there. Here are some further considerations:
- Onboarding commences after implementation – this is when any training needs to be done, and a good vendor will have a learning platform or academy to help with this process
- You’ll want widespread adoption of the tool by your legal team to ensure you get the expected return on investment, so just leaving it to onboarding might be insufficient. Regular check-ins to ensure people are completing any learning required, using the product and able to provide feedback will encourage usage
- If you want the business to use the tool for legal requests and updates, starting a communication plan on how to bring them into this as well will be important
- Communicate your success at key milestones! The business has approved a key piece of technology, so communicating back to those decision-makers things like:
- When implementation commences
- When onboarding commences
- Once live, what wins you’re seeing like time savings or faster processes and quantifying them in ROI terms
- What’s next? After a period of embedding, a good vendor will encourage you to make a plan for what success looks like in the next 12 or 24 months and help you get there
What to do if you’re not successful
On the flip side, if you’re not successful in getting your proposed legal tech solution approved by decision-makers, it’s not the end of the road. Ask for feedback and find out:
- Was it pricing?
- Was it timing related – eg, there isn’t budget now, but might it come later?
- Was there another tool being implemented instead?
- Do you need to adjust your approach and do a better pitch?
With the feedback you receive you can create a plan B! It might just be that you need to wait until the next financial year when budgets and priorities align better.
So, there you have it – a blueprint for preparing a business case for legal technology. Good luck on putting your best foot forward.
Ready to build your business case?
Start quantifying time and money spent on manual administrative tasks with this legal efficiency and savings calculator, so you can get started on your business case with this free business case template! Remember to also check out The 2023 In-House Legal Technology Report to help discover inefficiencies with certain ways of working and trends that may be affecting your team. In no time you’ll be influencing stakeholders with your business case on why investing the right legal tech solution will solve inefficiencies for your team.