What is digital transformation?

17 September 2020

What is legal digital transformation

The days of hard copy documents and hand-signed paperwork are over.

The one thing businesses of all sizes can agree on is this: digital is here to stay. And businesses who aren’t able to pivot to a digital-first strategy will be left behind.

What is digital transformation?

In short, digital transformation is the term used to describe the process of utilising digital technologies to modify, re-invent, or create a new business process. Digital transformation is usually adopted by a business to keep up to date and meet their (and their clients’) changing business needs and market requirements.

Every function is being instructed to create digital transformation strategies that will help the business scale and thrive. While some departments have managed this transition almost seamlessly over the past two decades (e.g. Finance with platforms like Xero, HR with Workday, and Sales with Salesforce), Legal departments have largely been left behind.

Leading legal leaders are realising they need to partner with innovative NewLaw platforms to manage this transition and join their peers as sources of competitive advantage for the business.

How can Legal adopt digital transformation?

Legal work can be varied and complex, and so legal transformation can target a range of areas within a Legal function.

Three common legal digital transformation initiatives include the introduction of legal automation, matter management, and contract management tools.

Legal Automation

Legal automation enables legal functions to free their people from highly repetitive legal admin. This work is often mundane and low risk and yet requires legal involvement. Adopting legal automation as part of a legal transformation initiative enables a legal function to apply their specialised legal talent to more strategic, high value and high-risk activities while accelerating business performance through standardising agreement templates and automating approval workflows.

Matter Management

Matter management tools allow legal functions to get work done faster. These platforms have the ability to get the right work to the right lawyer seamlessly. Legal functions are transforming how they brief, triage, track, collaborate, search, store and report on all matters by introducing a single integrated platform to manage their matter. There is a range of matter management platforms available, so ensure you are choosing one which gives your team the tools they need to get their job done more effectively.

Contract Management

Contract management platforms transform the way that businesses work with contracts. These platforms drive productivity by giving everyone in the business the ability to approve, sign and store contracts straight from their device, wherever they are, 24/7. This form of legal digital transformation is becoming increasingly popular with organisations as it easily supports teams working remotely.

See how L’Oreal, Sonnedix and Ocado have adopted digital transformation within their Legal function to deliver more legal value for less.

What is stopping Legal departments from adopting digital transformation strategies?

Although 86% of General Counsel rate ‘investing in technology and automation’ as their top priority, most will never get past the starting line.

It’s not for lack of intent, or need, or interest. Most will stumble right near the finish line. We consistently see GC’s who do all the hard work and yet never get live.

Lawyers are inherently risk averse and tend to shy away from unfamiliar working in unfamiliar terrain and apply increased ‘rigour’ in the form of engaging with more vendors and stakeholders which ultimately complicates the process further.

At the same time, GCs who overcome this first hurdle find they are unequip to ‘sell’ their digital transformation strategy into the business because they struggle with communicating the value of Legal to the business – and how their chosen solution will help solve not just Legal’s problems, but be an asset to the wider business too.

If you find you are stuck in this stage, read the Digital Transformation Guide for more on how to overcome common pitfalls Legal comes across when adopting digital transformation. Or contact one of our digital transformation specialists who can help you find and communicate the right Legal transformation solution to your business

The world's top GCs work with Plexus

As the global economy moves faster and becomes increasingly volatile, organisations must radically evolve their operating models to more dynamically identify and respond to opportunities and threats. Plexus helps leading GCs shift their organisational design, evolve their talent competencies and digitise their functions to deliver faster, most cost-effective and more agile legal support.

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