Legal spend management technology generates savings for in-house teams in many ways. We wrote a blog on six of these ways. The most obvious is cost savings, whether through a greater ability to ensure firms adhere to billing guidelines, have spend visibility, or use data to make future budgeting decisions. Time savings also come through the automation of laborious tasks like invoice review and reporting, which get calculated into monetary amounts.
Using these savings areas, different eBilling software providers will estimate savings from $46,000 to $800,000 per year for a “typical” legal department. However, to truly know the financial impact, consider the investment cost; this is typically less publicized!
Below are some cost considerations to consider when planning your legal spend management project and selecting a vendor.
PRICE OF LEGAL SPEND MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
This is usually a fixed subscription fee per annum and may or may not include hosting, training, and maintenance costs, so look out for these in the proposal. The first year may be higher than subsequent years due to initial set-up costs. Subscription fees may come from a few factors: legal spend, number of users, volume of matters, and number of law firms. Consider the best pricing model for you now but also bear in mind your department might grow; how long is your subscription price fixed for, if at all? If you grow, how does the price increase? Also, consider the cost of additional features not included in standard packages.
LEGAL SPEND MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION FEES
Unlike ongoing subscription fees, these are one-off costs payable to the software vendor and/or consultants you may have involved, usually in the first year, but you may have requirements further down the line that add a cost. These fees cover onboarding internal users and law firms, integrations, and customizations such as reports, data migrations and add-ons outside the basic package. Be sure to find out the charges for these.
Most modern solutions are now cloud/SaaS based. Security concerns were the main reason for housing software on-premises when e-billing first launched, but cloud security is far more robust these days. If this is a concern, ensure your vendor has the appropriate certifications, like Onit’s European legal spend management solution BusyLamp eBilling.Space, such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013. SaaS solutions carry a much lower internal IT cost than on-premises solutions. However, you may still have to factor in contractor or project team costs.
TRAINING AND SUPPORT COSTS
A user-friendly, familiar, and easy-to-learn legal spend management interface reduces the training required for your in-house teams and law firms, but it will still be necessary. Consider what level of support and training you need at implementation and beyond, as these range from online help only through to fully managed services and the costs vary considerably.
Do you need to pay to upgrade to future versions and updates of the software, or is this included? If the upgrade cost is prohibitive, you could fall behind on the latest legal spend management features. Consider the internal costs and impacts of these upgrades, which are lower with SaaS solutions.
While you don’t have a crystal ball, anticipate potential integrations or features you might need and ask a) if they’re available and b) what these will cost. You want to avoid migrating to a different legal spend management solution if your current one no longer meets your needs or becomes too expensive to do so, so try your best to predict this; ask the vendor about the typical growth pathways of their other clients. A factor that affects most legal departments is cost increases as you add more users, spend and/or firms. Familiarize yourself with the pricing model to avoid surprises.
BusyLamp Legal Spend Management is cost-effective. Even with these expenditure areas, BusyLamp generates a quick return on investment. You can work out your potential savings with our Guide to Building a Business Case for Legal Spend Management or contact us directly and a team member will be in touch to help you calculate your costs and projected ROI.