Onit

Oct 5, 2011

5 Things to Consider When Evaluating Legal Process Management Tools

Process management is inevitable when it comes to managing companies of all sizes. Consider all the processes that your employees deal with on a daily basis – accident/incident reports, contract review, employee termination, ethics violations, service mark/trademark registration, IP infringement, etc.

Process matters and process management tools can reduce costs, drive efficiently and enhance overall performance. Selecting the right legal process management tool requires evaluating several criteria. Careful analysis of these following 5 factors will ensure you select the optimal tool(s) for your company’s needs.

1. Deployment Selection: There are two basic models to consider; the traditional or enterprise model, or Software as a Service (SaaS) also known as the cloud model. Both have advantages and drawbacks to consider. Enterprise systems are customizable, have a high degree of complexity, while SaaS systems are ready made, and thus are much simpler to deploy. The complexity of an enterprise solution requires dedicated or virtual server space, and annual upgrades. SaaS solutions come with upgrades and maintenance included in the subscription, so there is no need to involve the IT department.

2. Cost: Enterprise solutions carry higher costs; they are purchased with licenses and require annual upgrades and maintenance which averages between 18-22% of the initial cost of the solution. SaaS subscriptions are much less expensive to purchase and maintain. Long term cost analysis should be conducted to determine the best fit.

3. Company Requirements: Assuming that your company recognizes the need for a legal process management tool, and has committed to the purchase, it needs to determine its requirements. At the very least, an automated solution needs to support process and workflow management across various departments and stakeholders with attention to deadlines and budget.

4. Integration Process: Carefully consider your company’s IT structure and area(s) of practice to ensure that the solution or combination of solutions you are considering are compatible with what is currently in place. Any good enterprise or cloud solution should offer availability, reliability, and security.

5. Consistency of Your Selected Solution: Process management involves numerous steps so it’s best to tie in with a reliable legal project management tool. This consistency ensures the scope of the project is clearly defined and the expectations are transparent. As part of this process, it is critical to have a centralized repository for documents, notes and relevant conversations related to the project. Your tool should be capable of managing all these aspects along with managing legal governance, risk and compliance.

An effective legal process management tool keeps everything flowing in a coherent, manner so companies can run smoothly and efficiently. Budget constraints and security concerns can be a roadblock to implement this type of tool but the benefits far out weight the cost. The right automated solution can drive costs, increase efficiency, and improve your company’s performance by streamlining workflow and increasing your legal team’s accessibility to information.

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