Enterprise Legal Management (ELM), or the integrated administration of legal matter and spend management systems, is quickly becoming the standard in the way that legal departments are managed. By unifying these historically independent areas, management strives to delegate more effectively and develop a holistic view of how resources are put to use to maximize departmental efficiency and make educated, informed business decisions.
As these silos combine, certain truths about how ELM works are becoming self-evident. These axioms can be used to guide your legal department’s transition to a more intelligent set of best practices for legal operations management.
1: Change is good for growth
The history of legal department management software stretches back four decades, and one thing has remained consistent: as software solutions mature and grow along with the legal departments they help manage, those departments must be able to change to keep up with evolving standards. Matter management solutions, which began to gain popularity in the early 1980s, grew in scope and functionality over the subsequent two decades, enabling legal departments to make better decisions about resource deployment. Likewise, the spend management systems of the 1990s introduced new features to enhance the efficiency of financial dispositions.
When these new features entered the market, legal departments were forced to acknowledge that, especially in light of the exponential rate of technological advancement, adaptability is an essential quality for a legal department that values efficiency. Legal should be set up in such a manner that is responsive to change, and to some degree anticipates the technological curve of the near future.
2: Communicate your successes to develop better best practices
Experimentation has always been key to innovation, and this logic holds true in ELM as well. But when success is met, much is also lost if the insight gained is not applied broadly. A policy change that shows success in IP should be considered for other areas if it is applicable. Inversely, if a policy change has unforeseen negative consequences after being applied to an area, there is no reason to sustain that effort simply because it works elsewhere.
The common key to this point is communication. Good ELM requires a constant dialogue so that management has a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t. Without healthy, honest communication between sections of your legal department (and those outside it who interact with its policies,) any Enterprise Legal Management best practice guidelines that your business develops will be threatened.
3: Invest in technology to automate the minutiae and facilitate “smarter” work
In spite of these theoretical considerations, the amount of actionable changes that can be achieved are limited without a software solution that strives to take some of the drudgery and frivolous costs out of ELM. Paper invoices, human error in data entry, and misplaced information are constant hazards for legal, and by adopting a Enterprise Legal Management software solution, a business can drastically improve its overhead and efficiency.
Onit’s Enterprise Apps for ELM, in contrast with typical, often bloated offerings, are uniquely designed to serve specialized business needs and promote adoption rates, sidestepping the pitfalls of steep learning curves and esoteric user interfaces that plague many other “comprehensive” solutions and limit actual ROIs.
4: Standardize pricing to develop a coherent billing framework
Deciding how best to bill clients can be a challenging question for legal. When precedents conflict and the facts of a business relationship are not stored centrally, ambiguities can present that can lead to lost profits. This will also take some pressure off where it comes to maintaining customer relationships by mitigating the risk of billing errors or inconsistencies.
In tandem with a software solution as discussed above, a clear, consistent guide that drives commodity pricing will go a long way towards increasing efficiency and predictability within legal.
By accepting and internalizing these four truths, legal will provide itself with opportunities to increase value and efficiency while promoting collaboration and minimizing error. By choosing Onit Apps for Enterprise Legal Management, legal departments can achieve those ends to a greater degree while also saving money versus the established “all-in-one” solutions. With Onit Apps, a business can design a solution that perfectly fits with how its legal department is managed and how it interfaces with the rest of the business.
To schedule a demonstration of Onit’s ELM Apps, email [email protected].