Some companies struggle with their current enterprise legal management (ELM) systems that focus on just core matter and spend management. But when the day comes that they discover there are other business processes that also need automated solutions, it’s time to issue another RFP and undergo another long, expensive and drawn-out path to implementation.
But we’d like to offer another solution. We believe we should be looking at the elements of enterprise legal management as processproblems instead of data problems. When we do this, we’re clearly taking more ownership in business process management (BPM), even though we may not immediately realize it. And in order for corporate legal to be a true corporate citizen, it needs to have a deeper stake in business processes. If you already use automated process solutions, congratulations. You already have a stake since business process automation is inseparable from business process management.
Again, ELM systems that are only capable of core matter and spend management have a clear disadvantage. But on the other end of the spectrum are systems that are loaded with features that will never be used; either because the company doesn’t need them or they don’t want to use them. These solutions were likely an outsize investment to begin with, which already puts the company at a distinct disadvantage. But the situation needn’t be so bleak, and it’s not even necessary to proceed on a quest to find a happy spot somewhere on the spectrum.
The ability to scale your Enterprise Legal Management System in a manner consistent with operational requirements is your key to success.
Seems simple, but how do we do it? By breaking up enterprise legal management into discrete, individual task-based processes, it becomes clear that an “app-based” solution is the most logical way to go. With these, users have the ability to develop and incorporate these discrete process capabilities into the larger enterprise system as they are needed – a la carte. The old “ELM as monolith” approach is, for the majority of legal departments, obsolete. The resounding answer is that we should be looking at ELM as a process problem, rather than a data problem.
Smart companies are now seeking core matter management and e-billing functionality that can be augmented with other process solutions as they are needed. With such systems, scaling could not be easier. In many cases, a company will already have an existing ELM installation, and augment it with process solutions from other providers. These add-ons will be completely compatible with their existing ELM system. There are off-the-shelf, focused solutions as well as platforms on which the company can build their own custom solutions. In any case, the ability to enhance and optimize your system without going the painful RFP route is always a good thing.