By Lavinia Calvert
The pandemic has catapulted law firms into a digital future that has forced accelerated investment in technology, especially in the front office. This has brought good news for marketing and business development (BD) teams who are enjoying increased access to the tools they need to operate effectively in a digital world.
The marketing technology landscape is full of solutions that make it difficult to create and maintain the right technology stack. Where to start? Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM), Social Media, Experience Management, Marketing Automation, Web Content Management, Proposal Generation? For some, it’s all of the above!
For companies looking to digitally transform their operations across the customer lifecycle, the answer does not lie in purchasing multiple, disparate applications that don’t communicate with each other or create fragmented data sets. It is neither a sustainable nor scalable solution for the enterprise of the future.
1. Connected apps
The answer lies partly in our first trend to watch: the concept of connected apps. Simply put, these are applications that interconnect and integrate with others, and share a centralized source of data.
Supported by the appropriate enterprise architecture and data model, an approach to connected applications will provide multiple benefits to your business. This includes the ability to become more data-driven across the organization, to surface customer insights faster and with more relevance, and, perhaps most importantly, to deliver a more seamless customer experience across all touchpoints.
2. Single source of truth
Law firms generate extraordinarily high volumes of data throughout the client lifecycle, from intake to billing, and it is often stored in different databases, depending on where it originated in the life cycle. It is therefore difficult to obtain an overall view of the company’s activities and relationships. And yet, data on customers, prospects, records, and business experts is like engine oil for a successful marketing and comics machine: without high-fidelity fuel, it’s unlikely to run very well. efficiently or winning races.
Directly related to the concept of connected applications, our second trend to watch is the notion of establishing and operating from a single source of truth. You could define it as a philosophy, a practice and a desired state all rolled into one. Essentially, it’s the concept of aggregating and structuring data from multiple systems in one place, so that users across the organization have a single point of reference, regardless of how those data is used.
For law firms, this typically requires the integration of multiple core systems, such as the financial management system (FMS); HR system (HRS); time, admission and conflict systems; and CRM, ERM and marketing automation solutions.
Integration, aggregation and a robust underlying data model are key to developing a single source of truth architecture – but it doesn’t stop there. Companies that want to fully exploit the value of a single source of truth also need to carefully consider the workflows, data governance, and user tools needed to share, analyze, and visualize data.
When brought together in a cohesive and scalable way, companies can energize all of their operations, resulting in richer insights, increased collaboration, and greater efficiency across the enterprise.
3. Low-Code/No-Code Platforms
Potentially new buzzwords for some, our third trend to watch is low-code/no-code platforms. It is a new generation of software that enables users with little or no development experience to quickly design, build and deploy applications. Examples include Microsoft Power Apps, ServiceNow, and Intapp’s OnePlace platform.
For law firms, low-code/no-code platforms offer the ability to build software solutions that meet business needs faster, without the associated cost of a development team. Sophisticated real-time dashboards, for example, can easily be created using point-and-click interfaces that don’t require a deep understanding of the underlying operating system or data architecture.
While adopting low-code/no-code platforms can provide an increased level of autonomy and democratization for non-IT professionals within the enterprise, governance, security, and training remain considerations. important.
Successful companies will be those that strike the right balance between embracing the increased creativity and agility offered by these platforms, with the organizational and cultural build to support this change.
4. AI-Assisted Workflow and Insights
An article on technology trends would not be complete without mentioning AI-assisted workflow and insights — our fourth trend to watch.
AI and its close cousin machine learning (ML) have the potential to transform the way law firms manage nearly every aspect of their digital operations. Answers to strategic, complex or esoteric questions are possible at lightning speed thanks to AI. Businesses are now able to automate, speed up and assist all kinds of legal processes that previously depended on manual and human intervention.
For law firm marketing and comics teams, the potential of applied AI is a particularly exciting development. There are already technologies available today, such as QorusDocs proposal management software, which uses AI and ML to automatically detect and suggest recommended answers or text for presentation documents and RFPs ( RFP). Ultimately, this helps auction teams meet these requirements up to five times faster. Imagine a future in which the perennial task of filling rooms and other directory submissions is largely automated. It’s much closer than you think.
Many next-gen software vendors have already integrated sophisticated AI and ML into their solutions today, and we can expect more and more innovation as these technologies evolve.
From automating tedious or repetitive tasks to personalized insights and nudges at scale, AI offers businesses a future in which the art of the possible seems limitless.
5. Collaboration tools and workspaces
Even before the pandemic, law firms yearned for greater collaboration across practice groups, offices, and core client teams, as they instinctively understood that this is what their clients increasingly expected of them. them.
But that hasn’t been an easy thing to achieve, not least because most companies are made up of subject matter experts operating in narrowly defined niches. As a result, the firm’s collective expertise tends to be widely distributed across individuals, practice groups, and geographies, which can be a structural barrier to managing complex issues requiring a multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional approach.
Almost overnight, however, the pandemic has catalyzed rapid and exponential growth in the adoption of apps such as Zoom, ON24, Microsoft Teams and Slack, providing some of the tools needed to facilitate greater collaboration between people, places and teams in an accelerated time frame.
So our fifth trend to watch is collaboration tools and workspaces — a trend that we believe will truly transform the way law firms engage both internally and with their clients. It is a category of technology that combines engagement-centric document management, smart workspaces, virtual meeting places, and centralized knowledge capture and compliance. It sets the stage for seismic changes in the way law firms work.
For many, the widespread adoption of such tools among partners, firms and clients will likely represent a giant leap in the company’s ability to achieve the financial, cultural and institutional gains long believed possible through to true collaboration.
Many law firms have been catapulted into a digital future that they might not have prioritized with the same urgency, had not the pandemic imposed new ways of working. This shift has resulted in an increased focus on the technology and tools needed to operate in a digital world.
While software alone is never the answer on its own, modern businesses are beginning to pursue IT strategies and solutions that more seamlessly connect people, processes, and data across complex operational ecosystems. This bodes well for law firm marketing and comics teams, who are increasingly tasked with orchestrating a streamlined experience throughout the client lifecycle.
From connected apps to collaboration tools — and almost everything in between — law firms and their clients stand to benefit greatly from advances in the development and adoption of technology as an important enabler of digital transformation. .
As overwhelming as it may seem to some, there is only one way to face the future: seize the opportunities and challenges present in the present.
Lavinia Calvert leads the marketing and business development solutions business at Intapp, serving the front-office technology needs of professionals in the legal, accounting and consulting industries. Calvert brings a deep and diverse base of international business experience. She has held several leadership positions in the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, including Marketing Director at OnePlace, Marketing Director at intellectual property law firm AJ Park, and Executive Vice President strategy and marketing at Reuters Media.