What you should include in your digital transformation strategy

Introduction

Recent research by Gartner, Inc. suggests that legal departments can increase on-time project delivery by 63 percent and increase the number of digital projects with appropriate risk management measures in place by 46 percent” by prioritizing digitization.

The data is clear: digitization helps legal service providers add value for clients and optimize business processes, netting high ROI. As such, “digital transformation”: the process of integrating digital technology into all areas of an organization undeniably benefits law firms. However, to cash in, firms must develop a digital transformation strategy for long-term success.

This blog post will explore our recommendations for law firms seeking to craft a successful digital transformation strategy. We will discuss in detail what your firm should (and shouldn’t) include in your approach based on our research and consultation with legal industry experts. 

1. Engage Business Stakeholders

First and foremost, we recommend that you engage both IT and business leaders in your firm’s digital transformation efforts. It may be tempting to leave digital transformation up to the IT department, but this would be a critical mistake. Remember: every member of your firm will be affected by digital transformation. With this being the case, why would you heap responsibility onto a single department, without insight from other, equally affected divisions?

Collaboration is your ticket to success. Without it, departments outside of IT will struggle to adopt new technologies, reducing your firm’s gains from digital transformation.

2. Choose Technologies with Care

Recently, the technology scene has exploded with new vendors. Many offer excellent solutions, but others fail to deliver on their promises. It’s all too common for vendors to advertise products as “AI” or “AI-powered” when this is rarely the case (at least not in any meaningful sense).

To avoid disappointment, we recommend that you…

  1. Choose products that have robust APIs and well-defined data dictionaries. These resources will allow your firm to (A) understand how your products work and (B) extract the data that powers them for other purposes.
  2. Avoid purchasing two systems of record for the same type of data, which will drastically increase the difficulty of data integration and aggregation. 
  3. Choose products with robust developer and operations support. 
  4. Don’t rely on risky, fresh-out-of-the-lab technologies. You’ll want to be able to fall back on precedent if something needs fixing or fine-tuning.

3. Develop Systems for Data Governance

Data will inevitably form the foundation of your firm’s digital transformation effort. Without quality data, AI lacks purpose and direction– and most other technologies will be useless or, worse: counterproductive. As such, data governance is critical.

We recommend that you…

  1. Keep systems of record that are established and distinct.
  2. Ensure that key processes are mapped and understood.
  3. Prioritize data understanding and quality.
  4. Make sure that you can effectively manage and search for documents.

4. Onboard Field-Tested Expertise

Digital transformation is a significant undertaking. It requires organizational unity and firm-wide cooperation, which means that you shouldn’t hand the reins over to a single person, team, or department. Instead, we recommend that you collect a diverse mix of people with two attributes: (1) experience with your firm; and (2) experience with digital transformation.

Remember, digital transformation is the foundation for your firm’s future services and innovation. You want the people laying that foundation to know what they’re doing. Whether this means partnering with an AI firm or hiring an in-house team of specialists, acquiring expertise will help to ensure that your digital transformation succeeds long-term.

Takeaway

Digital transformation is sweeping the legal industry — and for a good reason. It offers immediate improvements for project delivery, risk management, and other areas. Perhaps even more importantly, it sets the foundation for future innovation, creating a baseline data organization strategy that your firm’s next generation of pioneers can use to build and grow.

If your firm is in the process of generating a digital transformation strategy, we advise that you follow our recommendations above for the greatest chance of long-term success. Also, consider downloading our full research brief on digital transformation in the legal industry.

About Synaptiq

With over 47 clients in 20 sectors worldwide, Synaptiq is a full-scale AI consultancy delivering impactful solutions with applied machine learning and vision, natural language processing, and other data-driven techniques. If you are a law firm looking to explore digital transformation, we can help you unlock the power of AI and data science. 

For more information about Synaptiq, please visit www.synaptiq.ai

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