After Onit’s and Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) joint ACC Value Challenge 2017 win, you’d think the smoke would’ve started clearing by now. Imagine our surprise when we saw the fantastic write-up by Bill Henderson in Legal Evolution, titled, “Successful technology adoption: David Cambria (ADM) and Eric Elfman (Onit) Discuss their Collaboration.“
The article encapsulates how Onit collaborated with ADM on a high-profile global legal technology project. ADM’s legal department needed workflow automation that didn’t require their lawyers to change, and also substantial productivity gains. By partnering with Onit, ADM was able to leverage technology and their new platform solution to reach all corners of the law department beyond legal and spend management.
Henderson also offers an enticing look into how Onit came into being and touches on how the book “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore, had significant influence on Eric M. Elfman, CEO and co-founder of Onit. The thesis of the book is the “big fish, small pond” strategy, which suggests that companies should focus the efforts of key personnel on a niche market. Having done this and then developing a “whole product” solution, the company can then cross the chasm into mainstream.
The article also plays fair and mentions the high risks involved when small companies try to cross the chasm by attempting to focus on niches like legal technology. This in mind, Henderson ended his write-up by noting an observation that Elfman made, “…technology startups are essentially a series of experiments until something works or you run out of money.” Good for Onit that things worked well.