Considering an Enterprise Legal Management System? Four Phrases to Fear

Much of the software labeled as enterprise legal management (ELM) are simply souped-up matter and spend management systems that only effectively tackle one side of the problem: the database. What’s important to note is that these systems don’t address the other side of the problem, what Gartner defines as “the automation of manual processes through methods such as workflow and collaboration functionality.”1 Moreover, how the software addresses workflow and collaboration determines the software’s long-term benefits to your team, department, and larger business.

The database-centric philosophy of enterprise legal management will inevitably be supplanted by intuitive, process-centric Apps that have already become the norm in many other markets. Enterprise Apps address both sides of the enterprise legal management need (matter management and spend management), are simple to deploy, intuitive to use, and evolve with your changing business needs at a fraction of the cost of the “old” ELM systems.

How can you determine if your software is a truly holistic enterprise legal management solution versus a repackaged matter and spend management system?

Here are four key phrases that should make you wary:

1. “Senior management has to champion the idea.”

Translation: People won’t use this software unless they are forced to.

2. “Change management is essential for success.”

Translation: The benefit to your business and legal users is illusory.

3. “Strong training program is critical to adoption.”

Translation: This software is exceptionally hard to use.

4. “We release new versions once or twice a year.”

Translation: Plan to spend a lot of time and money staying current.

More is not always better when it comes to feature-rich ELM systems. Adding new tools and functionalities onto existing database architectures achieves little more than to complicate the implementation and does not support the reality of the way lawyers and law departments work and support their business. This architecture also comes up short in supporting the transactional kinds of legal services requests and processes that are the primary focus of corporate legal departments.

Traditional matter management and spend management solutions, repackaged by marketing departments as “ELM solutions,” simply can’t support the integrated, collaborative workstreams that law departments increasingly are required to achieve their goals and support the overall enterprise’s business goals.

To learn more about the future of spend and matter management, download our new whitepaper: A New Approach to Enterprise Legal Management.

More about enterprise legal management on our blog:

The 4 Axioms of Enterprise Legal Management

Pioneering a New Legal Technology Curve and Modernizing Enterprise Legal Management

Ten Things You Need to Know about Enterprise Apps and How They Relate to Enterprise Legal Management 

1 Gartner: “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Legal Management,” 23 Oct 2013

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