Embarking on a legal tech journey generally means taking one of two paths – either working with a connected platform approach or managing one or more point solutions.
Point solutions offer an immediate solution to a single problem, but are limited in their capacity to cater for further problem solving down the track when the next problem arises. This necessitates the implementation of yet another point solution, until the legal department is juggling several software products and vendors that all need to be managed.
The other path involves a more deliberate journey to becoming the ultimate legal function in a business. This is when digital transformation is data-led, based around a robust and connected operating system that manages all legal work in an organization.
We’ve put together some of the most common questions on the platform approach, along with some answers that may just entice you to change your ways of working!
How are legal departments currently managing their legal functions?
In many legal departments work is contained within emails and spreadsheets, with files distributed throughout local drives, shared drives with no connections or visibility between the workflow or the documents. Working in this way increases risk across the legal department and the business, and doesn’t provide a system of record for all legal functions.
As a result, legal operators and legal leaders are often looking for a software solution that connects the in-house legal department to the rest of the business, providing one source of truth. A solution that uses the platform approach is the answer.
What’s the difference between a platform approach and a point solution?
With a point solution, you’re using separate software to address individual problems. For example, using one vendor for matters, another for contract management, and another for spend management, meaning you don’t necessarily receive any value beyond the software itself. With this approach, you often then need to embark on a complex journey of implementing custom integrations and Business Intelligence (BI) tools to report across the separate tools.
A platform approach is a single cloud-based system where you access multiple tools and integrations, collaboration and community, providing a robust and holistic foundation for managing all legal department work. The approach is also referred to as an ‘end-to-end solution’.
Are all platforms created equal?
No they’re not, and this is because there are essentially two different types of platforms. Some platforms have merged with or acquired different point solutions over time. Often they are separate user interfaces despite being provided from the same company, or the user experience is clunky because the products were never designed to work together. On top of that, many weren’t designed specifically for in-house.
Others, such as LawVu, are holistic and built from the ground up for in-house lawyers, offering a unified and connected platform where you have the option of selecting individual modules or working with several of the modules within the one In-house Legal Workspace.
Doing a bit more research to determine the type of platform you’re considering will enable you to choose the best option for your business – holistic or ‘patchwork’.
What are some ways a platform approach brings value to a legal department and the wider business, compared with a point solution?
While point solutions can be a secure software option, dealing with multiple vendors means dealing with a wide range of security status changes, bug fixes, and software updates, introducing an element of risk.
However, with a platform approach, all business processes are integrated and consistent throughout all modules in the platform. This means there’s only one vendor to deal with, streamlining the process of managing changes and updates.
Customer support and training
If you’re using multiple point solutions, then you’re naturally having to deal with multiple vendors.
Consider the benefits of having a single technology partner for all aspects of training, onboarding, troubleshooting and maintenance, compared with having to maintain and upgrade multiple point solutions.
As your legal team grows in size, your work also scales in volumes, and even the data you store scales up. Having multiple vendors makes scaling more cumbersome, as it’s difficult to grow with all of them at the same time and pace. With a platform approach, there’s just one vendor to deal with, meaning the scaling process is streamlined and more straightforward.
How will having a platform assist me in measuring and reporting on the value of the legal department to the C-suite?
There’s an increasing need for a legal team to have the ability to report on key metrics and make data-backed decisions. With a complex collection of standalone point solutions, it becomes near impossible to integrate them to firstly collect structured data, and secondly to report across the different tools in a meaningful and easy way. Third-party BI tools can do this work, but they require a lot of configuration and also add to the point solutions tally.
However, with a platform approach, there’s seamless data sharing across the platform that’s easily surfaced for metrics, reporting and better data-informed decision making.
Can using a platform approach save my team time and improve productivity and collaboration?
As a legal operator or General Counsel, it’s essential to have a 360-degree snapshot of all your team’s work, giving you complete oversight of all matters, contracts, documents, knowledge base, spend, outsourced work, data, and reporting. Checking individual tools in order to do this is time-consuming, especially when that time could be better spent on more valuable tasks such as advising and supporting key business functions.
Outside counsel and key business partners can also keep up-to-date more easily, as they’re able to locate all the details they need on one platform instead of having to check multiple software.
How do I know which solution is right for my team, my department, and the wider business?
To achieve a successful digital transformation for your legal team, consider what your end goal is. A platform approach will enable you to gain true oversight over the workflow and organizational and legal risk, in addition to unifying your legal operations, empower your team, and start the process of building a high-performing legal machine that’s a key driver of positive business outcomes.
LawVu’s In-house Legal Workspace is the first truly connected software platform for in-house legal teams, delivering matter management, contract, and spend management in one cloud-based and secure platform.
Using LawVu means you work more efficiently, are better connected with the rest of the business, and can focus more on creating successful outcomes for the wider organization.