You may have heard the words ‘single source of truth’ thrown around, especially if you’ve been on LinkedIn recently. And you might even be wondering what the phrase means. Sadly, it’s not a magic piece of technology that will immediately solve all the ambiguity you deal with in a workday – although that probably isn’t too far off.
To clarify, a single source of truth is achieved when you consolidate all your data, emails, documents, and other important information in a single place or legal platform (a legal workspace, if you will). The legal workspace becomes the single source of truth and reference point for all the things that matter the most to your legal function.
The problem with relying on disconnected systems
The alternative to a legal workspace is typically called a point solution; where an in-house legal team relies on one or a range of point solutions each providing an individual solution. However, the drawcard with point solutions is that they’re disconnected, which means you lose valuable time switching between systems to get a full view of your work. This very problem is emphasized in The 2023 In-house Technology Report, where legal teams on average are using four different technology solutions, while their biggest pain points are inefficiencies caused by using multiple platforms and the integration between those platforms.
To make matters worse, The 2023 In-House Technology Report also revealed that 61 percent of in-house legal teams spend more than one hour per day jumping between systems to gain a complete view of their work, which also emphasizes how relying on disconnected systems is one of the leading causes of legal waste. It results in lost time, wasted effort, distraction, and frustration for in-house counsel.
You may also be surprised to learn that relying on disconnected systems opens your organization up to significantly more risk with crucial documents and key pieces of information scattered across a multitude of systems.
Why it’s worth implementing a single source of truth
Implementing and relying on a single source of truth such as a legal workspace is the only way in-house teams can combat these issues and enable a connected, efficient, and unified way of working. With that said, let’s take a closer look at why adopting a single source of truth is so important.
When it comes to the bulk of in-house counsels day-to-day work, relying on just one legal workspace reduces time spent switching between systems and hunting down information. It also allows for more seamless engagement within the organization as a whole; collaborating meaningfully as opposed to solely through emails and Slack messages. And if we place our data security lens on, you can be confident that all important files and documents are securely accounted for in one location, reducing the risk and vulnerability of any data breaches, errors, or frustratingly, things getting lost.
Better yet, chances are you haven’t considered what happens when you or another team member goes on leave. What kind of shambles is your team left with? With a single source of truth, it’s considerably easier for others to pick up work and collaborate when others are absent. You can say goodbye to scouring email chains for information; instead, it’s all there in a single legal workspace, meaning you can sip cocktails on the beach knowing your team will be ticking along just fine!
We’re not usually ones for hyperbole but relying on one legal workspace as a single source of truth makes your legal function work better, perform better, and most importantly feel better. All while lowering your organization’s risk and increasing usability.
How to capitalize on having a single source of truth
Hopefully, you’ve decided to go on the journey of implementing a single source of truth to your legal function, so we’ve compiled a few tips on how to capitalize and supercharge its value-add:
- The legal team needs to actually use the tool. Expectations should be set around how the team will use the tool and store the required information. A single source of truth gathering dust is of no use to anyone.
- Matters should be used as the nucleus for all legal work, related information, and documentation. Having matters as the nucleus of your workflow will supercharge your collaboration.
- Integrate your knowledge base into your single source of truth. What this means is housing templates, guides, and FAQs in the right place so the legal team doesn’t need to start from scratch each request, and if your other functions are really switched on they can begin to self-serve.
- Migrate historical documents to your system of record. A single source of truth doesn’t mean a single source of truth for all documents created after we started using the solution, it means a single source of truth for all documents.
If you follow these few short tips and considerations, you’ll notice your days getting longer (in a good way we hope). Tasks that took whole afternoons will be handled far quicker, the collaboration will be seamless, and your General Counsel might even manage a grin!
Have we piqued your interest?
Join many other legal professionals who are already learning about the great benefits of connected ways of working in our course Unifying Systems, as part of the Connected Legal Certification. Learn where to begin with unifying your systems and how to build a single source of truth. The best part is that it’s all on-demand, and you can gain CDP/CLE points in doing so!