An enterprise legal management software implementation brings all-new operational efficiency levels to corporate legal departments. By combining e-billing, legal spend management, matter management and legal service request intake into a single, streamlined platform, corporate legal departments can gain visibility into legal operations, cut costs and automate manual processes. In fact, some estimate that enterprise legal management (ELM) helps save up to 10% on outside counsel spend.
While it’s critical to focus on the technologies and processes involved in the implementation, often the people component lacks the same level of attention and planning. We asked ELM implementation experts from Onit about best practices to manage the people side of implementation and here are the four actions they recommend.
1. Get the right hands on deck for your enterprise legal management implementation.
To start, you want to establish internal governance over your ELM implementation. You should determine crucial involvement from the beginning, such as who will have a vote on decisions, who will have input into decisions, who will be involved in reviewing implementation progress and how often, and more.
At many corporate legal departments, this involves creating an internal steering committee responsible for overseeing the implementation and an internal project sponsor who is usually the business unit leader who’s receiving the implementation. You might also involve the PMO and someone from finance who can monitor whether you’re getting what you expect out of your investment. The software provider should also provide a steering committee on their side, but your essential players should still be involved in your internal governance.
Because you’re likely making a pretty significant investment in your ELM solution, you’ll want to establish a consistent cadence for reviewing the implementation progress. For example, set a weekly or monthly schedule for monitoring whether you’re on track to hit milestones and whether progress is dependent on anything else within your organization that needs to be addressed.
2. Get your internal business partners on board.
Implementation will look different for every legal department depending on who is spearheading the effort. If your legal team is contracting with a provider, have you lined up the support of IT or other departments in your company? Many departments try to move forward without any internal consultation. Because implementing ELM will require integrations with other systems and migration of data from your old system, you’ll need to get all your internal partners on board and determine what agreements and resources need to be set up before your implementation.
You’ll also want to assess the impact of your implementation on the rest of the business. Who do you need to inform? Will you need to notify an internal change in the control board that your company’s data will be hosted in another system? Will your internal audit team or information security need to check project documents before going live?
To get the engagement you need, you should start working within your internal channels as early in the process as possible. That groundwork needs to be paved by your team before implementation starts.
3. Get your users ready and excited for the enterprise legal management software implementation.
As with any change, it’s important to prepare your users. The more you can get buy-in across the organization, the more successful the implementation will be.
Determine who needs to know when the solution is going live and how you’re going to tell them. Getting them excited about the change will be easier if you can proactively address any concerns they might have about new processes or systems. Whether it’s a company-wide email, a newsletter, a town hall meeting, or something else, you want to generate buzz about your new enterprise legal management software implementation.
Also critical to overall implementation success is a well-defined user training program. The proper training will allow end-users to be comfortable with both the system and your change management efforts. The means they feel empowered and confident to complete their daily tasks with minimal interruption after the ELM system becomes part of their workflows. You can tailor the training program to be as formal or casual as you need. There are endless options to deliver the right information in the right way for your end-users.
4. Help your ELM provider deliver the system you need.
Preparation and testing are key components that your department can provide to help your ELM provider deliver the best implementation possible. Invest some time analyzing your department’s current state before implementation kicks off, documenting your processes end to end. Process maps and use cases are valuable for requirements and design and can save a lot of time and minimize distraction during the ELM design phase.
After all, you know your business better than anyone. As you work with your provider to design your system, think about how you’ll test the system via User Acceptance Testing before it goes live.
If you take the proper steps in advance, you can make sure you’ll get the best enterprise legal management software implementation for your corporate legal department and the business units that work with you.