The legal industry isn’t exempt from the impact of government lockdowns, quarantines and widespread financial hardship. However, there’s one major plus side of the outbreak for the industry: A new digital age is being ushered into the legal world. With so much of our “normal” work processes sidetracked due to COVID-19, we’ve noticed many companies are taking the opportunity to review their systems, including enterprise legal management solutions.
Here are some key points to keep in mind while selecting an ELM solution based on your legal department and your company’s business needs.
- Assemble Your Team. Picking an ELM solution for your company requires the right players to be assembled at the beginning of the selection process. These players ensure there’s a clear path from decision to contract to implementation, and often include:
- Legal department operations staff
- IT representatives
- Finance representatives
Designate a champion for the project – one point of contact guarantees a smooth line of communication.
- Begin with the End in Mind. Now that your team is in place, start with the end in mind; clearly define the company’s objectives for buying an ELM solution. Share the goal across the company’s internal players to ensure it is a cross-functional decision. Be sure to vet ideas together.
- Get Budget Approval Now. In some cases, the failure to do so can hold the process up for months or even years. To better predict a proper budget for the solution, check with consultants, peers, and vendors; you should know what to costs to expect on the high and low ends of the spectrum.
- Find the Right Vendors. Now that a budget is in place, it’s time to determine which solution is right for your company. Scour the internet, read case studies, ask your colleagues at other companies, attend conferences, read blogs. There are many ways to find legal tech vendors. Putting in some up-front research time will be worth it in the end.
- Issue an RFP. One of the best ways to compare one solution against another is to invite vendors to take part in an RFP. This process will supply a clearer picture of which capabilities each vendor supplies specifically including customer support, implementation costs, training, etc. Read: What You Should Include in an Enterprise Legal Management Software RFP.
- Book a Demo. The goal of the RFP process is a concise list of final vendors who will be invited to conduct either Web-based or on-site demonstrations. A good rule of thumb is to limit these finalists to no more than four. This helps keeps things focused as your team tries to chase down a broad spectrum of capabilities.
VERY IMPORTANT: Once your demos are done, look for a vendor that mirrors the image of the company that the legal department wants to do business with. Ask yourself, do I want to work with these people?