Getting value out of your legal tech post-implementation
By Sarah Scales. Sarah is the Head of Product Marketing at Brightflag, previously serving as a Product Manager and Change Manager. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Political Science from Trinity College Dublin and a post-graduate diploma in Software Product Management from Technological University Dublin.
We’ve all heard the horror stories.
A legal ops professional gets excited about implementing a new legal tech tool.
They spend months evaluating different products, selecting a provider, and launching the tool. And then? Crickets.
Legal tech rollouts are complex, and there are several common points of failure many teams experience.
For legal spend management systems, those ghost stories usually contain the following themes:
- Outside counsel doesn’t adopt the tool and keeps trying to circumvent the new process.
- Attorneys aren’t logging in to review invoices and complete other tasks.
- Finance is blindsided by the new tool, and it puts up blockers.
- The GC is not driving alignment between all involved parties.
Luckily, your next legal tech rollout doesn’t have to follow this same terrifying pattern. In this blog, we’ll share some tried-and-true strategies to ensure you achieve value from your tools post-implementation.
- Define your change management plan.
Legal tech projects are all about people. That may sound counter-intuitive because so much of the prep work you did to implement the tool revolved around the technical, such as evaluating features and assessing functionality.
But the ‘technology’ aspect of implementing legal tech is only the start of a more comprehensive process. To ensure lasting success, it’s important to consider all the people affected by the rollout and ensure that you have a plan in place to get them on board.
Your change management plan doesn’t have to be super arduous, but it should cover the following:
- Who is affected by the rollout of the new system?
- How will they be notified that the new system is being launched?
- How will we monitor the adoption of the new system by users?
- How will we drive adoption following the launch?
If you have a solid answer to these four questions, you’re already on your way to success.
One other consideration is that not all communications are created equal.
In general, 1:1 or 1:few communications are more effective than 1:many. Stakeholders also respond better to communications from people they know and trust, like their line manager or an executive sponsor (more on that below).
Lastly, communication about change is never a one-and-done task. People leave jobs, have limited attention spans, and sometimes retain little of what they’re told. So make sure you use the cardinal rule: communicate early and often.
Thankfully, modern tech providers will often guide you through the change management aspect of rolling out their tool, providing complementary training sessions, template communications, and best practices based on their experience working with hundreds of other legal teams. Be sure to ask your current provider or the one you’re evaluating what kind of support they provide for rolling out the tool.
- Create a durable post-launch program.
While your change management program doesn’t end on Day 1 post-launch, it’s typical that your attention will move to other projects in the months following launch. While you no longer need to monitor adoption daily or weekly, it’s important to put in place a plan for post-launch support.
Key questions that need to be addressed include:
- Who should users reach out to for support on the tool?
- How do users request additional training, e.g., for a new staff member?
- Who is responsible for managing the relationship with your technology provider?
- How will we improve/get more out of the tool over time?
Again, your technology provider can help by sharing best practices and explaining how they typically work (e.g., if users should reach out directly to their support team rather than first going through a company administrator). But it’s important that users know where to go for help and that there’s clear ownership of the ongoing program within the legal team.
- GC’s full support
Last but not least, it is crucial that your GC acts as an active executive sponsor for any legal technology project. This means your GC is on-hand to convey key communications about the launch and adoption of the system, that they are there to support if any stakeholders are blocking or circumventing the new system and that they support any additional initiatives to get more out of the tool.
This does not have to be a heavy lift for the GC. It can be as simple as sending a few pre-drafted emails, highlighting the progress on a rollout in regular meetings with the legal team and Finance, and attending occasional relationship reviews with your legal tech vendor to stay current.
But this visible support by the GC will ensure that all parties know this tool is strategically important and must be used. And it’ll ensure your GC knows how much value the legal team receives from the tool.
In conclusion, successful implementation and adoption of legal tech tools require a well-planned change management program, ongoing post-launch support, and full support from the GC as an active executive sponsor.
Legal tech rollouts are complex, and there are several points of failure, but by considering all the people affected by the rollout and ensuring that there is a plan in place to get them on board, lasting success can be achieved.
Communication about change is never a one-and-done task, and it’s important to create a durable post-launch program to address key questions such as who users should reach out to for support on the tool and how to find ways to improve or get more out of the tool over time.
By following these strategies, legal ops professionals can ensure they achieve value from their legal tech tools post-implementation.