In recent years, the legal industry has been shaken by a host of new technologies: contract management, AI and machine learning, cloud computing, automation, and more.
Yet despite the promise and excitement for legal tech, implementing these new developments in your own company may be easier said than done. According to a survey by the Standish Group, 83.9% of IT projects fail partially or completely. So what do you need to do to make sure your next tech project goes according to plan?
1. Know your company
The very first step is to know your company – that is, the people who work there and their willingness to adopt new technologies. Are you tech savvy or do you need help from IT to send an email?
Before embarking on a lengthy and expensive IT project, you should familiarize yourself with the current technology landscape of your company. Is it realistic to introduce new legal technology at this stage of the game? If you don’t already have a lot of software solutions, you may need to spend more time building your business case than if your company is familiar with industry software solutions and the implementation process.
2. Identify your greatest needs
Just because you’ve heard about an exciting new technology solution doesn’t mean you have to implement it in your own business. Talk to employees across the company and look for the areas where new technology would have a real impact and deliver the highest return on investment.
One of the main reasons IT projects fail is over-ambition. Trying to overtake your entire technology stack at once is a recipe for disaster. Find specific solutions to the most pressing needs and don’t try to bite off more than you can chew for your first project.
3. Understand your business flow
After you’ve identified the biggest needs for your department, take the time to align them with your current business flow. Find out where you missed out or where there is room for improvement
For example, how does your company deal with contract inquiries from other departments? If the general manager has to give up and search every time a question arises about a particular contract, that person is likely not spending enough time on quality activities that will move the business forward.
4. Find the right allies
Once you have the technology and workflow you want, your goal should be to enlist support for your case. Look for allies within the organization who would also benefit from this technology and who can help you make your point.
The next step is to speak to key stakeholders, who are the key gatekeepers for project approval. Customize your arguments based on the reasoning they find most persuasive. For example, executives are likely to be convinced by solid facts and figures about the benefits to their business, while managers want to hear that the new technology is making their jobs easier
5. Buy the right tool
Once you’ve successfully recruited the right key players in your company, the next step is to find the right tool for the job. The technology selection process can mean the difference between a hugely successful implementation and an unattractive solution that fails.
Talk to a number of technology providers to see if they have experience with companies like yours. Consider the following factors when choosing a legal technology provider:
costs: Determine not only the amount of your budget, but also the type of fee structure that makes sense based on your needs (price per user or per feature vs. flat rate model).
characteristics: Are the features offered by a particular solution the ones you will realistically need or use?
safety: It is important that you can rest assured that your provider has the security measures and protocols in place to protect your sensitive and confidential information.
Installation and support: How long will it take for the solution to be implemented and for initial returns to be made? Does the provider offer ongoing support and maintenance, for free or for a fee?
Download the Buyer’s Guide to Contract Management Software to quickly find the right type of solution to your specific contract management problems.
Some of this content was previously posted on the ContractWorks blog.