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Building your legal technology roadmap: which technology to adopt and when?

Dynamic in-house legal teams are increasingly turning to technology as they’re faced with escalating workloads and business demands. Legal technology not only helps address the challenge of doing more with less, but also helps to improve your department’s operational function. 

According to research by the 2019 Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), high-performing legal departments use legal technology to improve efficiency, transparency and data analytics, quality and consistency of work, and speed of execution. 

About 72% of CLOC members surveyed said that they had a legal technology roadmap in place. Adopting a roadmap enables your legal department to understand the key strategic priorities for your team, what you need to address them, and how to get there.

Here, we will look at the key benefits of having a legal technology roadmap, and some of the main considerations around choosing the right technology solutions for your legal department.

Benefits of a legal technology roadmap

Strategic alignment means leadership buy-in

Stakeholders within legal and the wider business can resist transformation projects if they don’t see the bigger picture. Having a roadmap that aligns initiatives and solutions to strategic needs gives you that bigger picture. Communicating that and getting approval from stakeholders will simplify your transformation journey.

Securing budget approval

Once you have identified the right legal solution for your department, you need budget approval. A roadmap assists not only in communicating your strategic needs, but also in building better internal relationships with the IT/Finance/Procurement departments, which can easily identify the Legal department’s needs and how your chosen solution meets them. Ultimately a clear legal roadmap means a faster purchase.

Right technology at the right time

Building a good legal roadmap involves identifying existing processes and determining ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. As you map these processes it should become clear where the gaps are, and which ones need to be filled first; for example, you may not want to deploy a contract review AI tool before you have contracts in a central repository. 

Being connected

Understanding what your existing technology solutions can do is an important part of building your legal technology roadmap. It becomes critical when you identify the solutions you need and begin to think about how and whether your existing tech stack can integrate with new technology. Your legal roadmap will help guide the way when it comes to having interconnected—and simplified—solutions.

Competitive advantage

Delivering more with less while maintaining quality service is the norm for many corporate legal teams. Building your legal roadmap enables your department to meet this challenge now and in the future. This process will give you clear understanding of what your department needs and where it’s going, ultimately making you more likely to succeed in controlling cost, driving efficiency, improving effectiveness, and mitigating risk.

What’s the right technology for your department?

Identifying the right technologies begins with identifying your priorities, which is what a legal technology roadmap is designed to help with. It can be helpful when comparing technology solutions to rank the features that are most important to your legal team. You may choose to consider the following:

Relevant and easy to use

In order to get users on board with any new solution, it needs to be easy to use. Software works well when it’s focused on the user’s priorities, goals, and challenges. When a product has been rigorously developed with the end user in mind and road tested with clients, it’s more likely to be a usable and useful tool.

Secure

This is fundamental for all legal departments. Information and data within your organization are valuable business assets. Because data breaches could have significant business and reputational costs, the role of the legal department in protecting sensitive information is vital.

Quick to deploy and scalable

Once you have gathered insight on challenges and priorities from stakeholders in your department, you want to ensure the solution you choose to meet those challenges can be deployed sooner rather than later. Further, if your chosen solution can be integrated with other parts of the business across multiple sites, it will enable deeper collaboration and deliver even more value to your organization.

Measurable ROI

Ultimately your legal technology roadmap—and any resulting solutions identified—are aimed at creating cost savings and making sure that your department is more efficient and effective. Many technology solutions provide cost and time savings, which both contribute to demonstrating return on investment (ROI). 

If your solution assists with workflow management, your lawyers save time and are able to focus more on value-added tasks. Similarly, a solution may help you streamline your outside counsel costs, providing a boost to your bottom line. 

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other considerations to take into account. For example, you may want to think about whether you’ll want to integrate your chosen solution with other technologies, whether it’s cloud-based and what the implications of that might be, or you may want to consider whether data visualization and reporting is important to your team. Compare and contrast these considerations by adopting a simple scoring system.

Improving legal operations, efficiency, and effectiveness and adopting the right solutions is a journey. Building your legal technology roadmap helps you get there with clarity and strategic vision.

To learn more about why your department needs a roadmap, how to prioritize your needs to build a roadmap, the risks of not having one, and where to get started, download our complimentary white paper.

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