When it comes to ELM technology, there’s never been a better time to make your initial investment or upgrade your legal eBilling, matter management, and legal analytics experience. Competition has increased, entrenched vendors continue to consolidate and forward-thinking disruptors are leveraging twenty-first-century technology stacks to design client experiences tailored for first-time adopters and adopters who want to upgrade their ELM system. With so many solution providers out there, it’s important to develop a consistent strategy for evaluation.

We like to think about 4 capabilities that typically drive successful adoption of ELM technology – among in-house legal teams of all sizes.

As you wade through the enterprise legal management vendor waters, be sure to keep this question construct top of mind:

“Can this potential ELM provider ________with my organization?”

1. Scale

  • Is the software designed with configurable modules, so I can add additional functionality as the needs of my team change/grow?
  • Does the software provider deliver new releases weekly, monthly or quarterly?
  • Is the software delivered in the cloud (i.e., software-as-a-service) or via on-premise installation?
  • Is the software built on a custom code stack or configurable stack?

2. Integrate

  • Will the software easily integrate with your existing accounts payable, claims and key back-end systems of record?
  • Does the vendor regularly manage complex migrations of invoice and matter data?
  • Does the vendor support your existing file formats?

3. Enhance Security

  • Does the vendor publish and honor Service Level Agreements (SLAs)?
  • If a SaaS provider, does the vendor hold a current SSAE16 or equivalent certification?
  • Has the vendor codified and documented a comprehensive set of disaster recovery and business continuity protocols?
  • Does the vendor offer multi-factor authentication (MFA)?

4. Innovate

  • Does the software vendor have a product roadmap available for review? What are the key themes that drive investment in new functionality?
  • Does the vendor run regular product advisory groups, innovation labs or other forums for gathering feedback from clients?
  • Does the vendor build software in an agile framework so that it can quickly react to the changing and evolving needs of the legal operations landscape?

Evaluating ELM technology can be complicated, so be sure to anchor back to these Big Four questions. The sooner your IT experts and data specialists are included in the evaluation, the better. Talk to your peers and find out if any innovative vendors impressed them lately. Cast the net wide – if you ask the same friends for recommendations, you’ll invariably get the same answers.


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