After a series of successful webinars showing ‘the art of the possible’ for law firms, it was great to invite industry leaders to our first event live at The Ministry.
UP3 co-founders Ruth Weatherall and Matthew Shears kicked off the event, reflecting on progress made in the legal industry in recent years. From big-ticket projects and investment in strategic platforms such as ServiceNow, through to the rapid pivot to remote working during the pandemic, a lot has been achieved.
But there’s a question about how to lean into those investments and make changes to improve the client experience. How do you improve business services, helping those who support fee earners every day?
And that really underlines many of the day’s themes: it’s empowering the people that keep law firms ticking, listening and learning from them, and allowing them to be more effective.
Innovation is not invention
Next up was Georgi Swanepoel, Manager – Solution Consulting at ServiceNow delivering a fascinating talk about competitive advantage. She discussed the difference between innovation and invention. Invention isn’t seen as often these days, but innovation is looking around you at the things that exist and asking how you can change them and adapt them into something better.
Georgi explained how most products and services become commoditised over time. Take cloud computing for example, moving from complexity and unknowns to a world where little is now on-premise. This mainstream adoption happened because more and more market entrants drove innovation.
Organisations don’t become commoditised or lose their USPs overnight. So how do you capitalise on your strengths and keep on innovating? That came, she explained, from people inside organisations.
Those that have been successful have considered what their change will mean to their stakeholders. How is it going to change their life? What is the value to them? Then it’s important to take them on that journey. A big part of this is the organisation’s culture she added, and if it welcomes new ideas, encourages diversity, and accepts failure and learns from it.
Next up was Darren Hart, CIO & Consultant at our friends Mason Advisory. He started off with the provocative stat “70% of digital transformation initiatives in legal firms fail”. Mason Advisory wanted to understand why. He shared some of their findings including misalignment with business strategy, lack of governance and limited focus on embedding the change into the law firm. You can have a good idea but if you don’t get the rest of the organisation to come along it won’t get widespread adoption. Legal environments have many stakeholders, so effective stakeholder management is vital otherwise you’ll end up with people pulling in different directions.
They also saw organisations moving too fast. In one example a company tried to deploy change in too many countries at the same time and found similar issues cropping up in each of them. His suggestion was to start slowly. Then, when you’ve learnt from initial projects, ramp up from there.
His insights kicked off some lively discussion with the audience, and one of our attendees noted that understanding your audience was important when carrying out that engagement. Talking using language the business uses rather than IT terminology will lead to better results.
Finally, we had a live demo from Technical Director Justin Loftas of the new UP3 Support Services app. He explained what had been a collaborative process over the past year. Firstly, we built a due diligence app based on direct feedback from someone in the legal industry. Then we moved to a legal resource management app before arriving at our current support services app.
All of these were built with insights from those working in the industry every day. Customers and prospects told us living out of mailboxes and spreadsheets was driving inefficiency. They want to be able to track consistent information in terms of requests and getting useful management information as a result. Then they could see what people are working on, how many types of service requests there were, where the requests were originating etc.
He showed how it wasn’t just about enforcing a rigid way of working. People could still use email to send requests or turn to a portal. But behind the scenes, ServiceNow was bringing structure and consistency and managing the processes.
There’s so much more we can show on you on this, so we’ll go into a deep dive of the app soon.
For all the technology and innovation, the theme was clear across the day: people. Learning from those that keep the organisation running. Freeing them of excessive admin and allowing them to be more efficient while ensuring they are engaged and brought along for the journey.
If the culture is there, success will follow.
It’s also why I love when we bring people together for events like this. It’s all about listening and learning from each other and I can’t wait until we do it again. Take a look at our highlights page for presentations and on-demand talks of the day.
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