5 key considerations for Legal organisations planning Digital Transformation

The ramifications of Digital Transformation (DX) go far beyond technology. As George Westerman (author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation) writes, DX "marks a radical rethinking of how an organisation uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change Business performance." Any successful Transformation project will make a significant impact on an organisation's people, activity, process and culture - and all of these areas must be considered when planning a Transformation project.
The rewards that come with DX are significant, to put it mildly. A report from McKinsey suggests that organisations prepared to embrace the digital world are 23 times more likely to acquire clients, six times as likely to retain customers and 19 times as likely to be profitable.

Like most (if not all) other sectors, the Legal sector stands to benefit from DX. Increasingly, Law firms are faced with many challenges demanding digital solutions - including increased competition, client demand for greater value, cyber security risks and need for increased Profit per Equity Partner (PEP). The use of technologies such as Cloud, AI, mobility and cryptography are helping to address these challenges - and revolutionising the industry.

Digital Transformation should be a priority for Legal organisations – and an urgent priority, at that. A survey from KPMG confirms the fact that DX is of paramount importance for Executives - and also confirmed that there are significant time constraints in play. According to KPMG's survey, 85% of Enterprise decision makers believe that they have a two-year time frame to make substantial progression their Transformation before enduring adverse financial impact or falling behind the competition.

But while time is of the essence, Legal firms need to make sure they don't rush into Transformation. There are many factors to consider, some specific to the sector.

Here are five of the most important best-practice tips for Legal firms planning DX projects:

1. Prepare for cultural change

In order to automate business processes, reduce the cumbersome use of paper and freely innovate, a technology 'change' will not be enough to bring about an organisation's Transformation. DX is all- encompassing, and denotes an embryonic cultural transformation.

Digital transformation sparks a variety of changes, such as mining data for insights to serve the customer better; or working to change your employees' mind set and relation to technology; or updating your business models and processes.

To achieve DX utopia it is crucial for organisation workforces to collaborate, learn new skills and have a more all-inclusive approach to problem solving, cultural awareness and an agile workforce. Perhaps the biggest hurdle in the process is convincing people to accept and adapt change.

2. Invest in strategic technology platforms

DX is reliant on modern, functionally-integrated and secure technology platforms. By adopting these, Legal organisations can ensure a consistent work environment and user experience, improved lawyer productivity, and the security of client data. In contrast, legacy systems rely on the disjointed experience of patching together multiple software applications to create a single business environment across the organisation.

3. Make sure you nail the User Experience

UX is key to the success of DX. Your users need to embrace 'digital as their default' to make your DX work. This means that your technology platforms need to replicate in a work environment the experience and ease of use that your people are used to encountering in their personal lives, as consumers. Platforms must, therefore, be designed to provide optimum user experience, offering intuitive control, strong security, increased efficiency and - of course - increased productivity.

4. Free up resources for innovation

This will help the firm focus on activities that provide a better understanding of client requirements, and it will unveil new ways in which technology and organisational expertise can be used to deliver against client needs, in the most effective and timely manner.

5. Prioritise Cyber Security!

Adopting systematic measures against security threats, breaches and data loss must be a top priority. Operationalising security with concepts such as need-to-know-security and policy-based controls, strong encryption and records management is essential. Furthermore, layering in security by design to create multiple defences will ensure data protection becomes routine and invisible. AI and analytics today offer the best opportunity to automate detection to pre-empt security breaches, in a cost-effective way.

Digital transformation holds great promise for law firms and these five best-practice tips will help establish a strong foundation for your organisation.

Exponential-e has worked with numerous top Legal organisations to help them execute on their Digital Transformation strategies. We have the full toolbox of technologies and capabilities available to help organisations of all sizes achieve their roadmap to digital success. To find out more, download our report 'The winning strategy for Legal Digital Transformation'.

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