We understand that data is important – legal teams or law firms create plenty of data. But are we harnessing the information effectively? Are you getting what you need from your data?
The biggest challenge with data is access and understanding. While most law firms and GCs understand the value their contracts hold, accessing that information and making sense of it to support a strategy or action is another matter.
And that’s the point. Data is overwhelming and useless unless it supports or influences a goal. But how do you get to the point where data becomes actionable? Let’s take a scenario: you want to help a client or stakeholder better understand their property portfolio, with the ultimate aim of streamlining and consolidating some real estate and making cost savings.
Getting every lease and contract digitized so the data within those documents can be analyzed and evaluated is the most important step. Many firms still use manual data entry for documents and contracts, firstly because it’s seemingly more convenient and secondly because they think it’s more efficient than using technology to automate this process.
However, there are some major disadvantages with manual data processing:
- Quality: Ensuring absolute consistency is challenging with a manual process because people are prone to error when performing tedious and repetitive tasks such as manual processing.
- Speed: People cannot beat technology when it comes to speed.
- Cost: Manual data processing is not scalable because adding more staff to digitize contracts will increase operating expenses.
- Risk: Security around manual data processing is more easily compromised, increasing risks that classified or sensitive information will be leaked.
Rather than using a manual approach to extract and analyze the data within your client’s/stakeholder’s property contracts, you can more effectively automate this process.
Using two techniques – data extraction (to access and convert the data to a useable format for analysis) and text classification (to organize the data into interpretable groups, either structured or unstructured data) – the information from the property contracts and documents is automatically gathered into a centralized repository.
Why is automating this process important? Quite simply, manual data processing is riddled with errors and, as Benjamin Franklin said more than 250 years ago, time means money, and time spent searching for files or contracts that are improperly digitized or stored is time wasted.
Having your contracts digitized through automated data processing streamlines your processes throughout your legal team or law firm, making everything more efficient – wading through volumes of paperwork is not only laborious but costs a huge amount in space and resources to keep organized. From a moral perspective, anything that reduces the daily frustration created by constant searching for documents that are not where they should be will contribute to the well-being of your team.
But it’s not just about searching and finding documents. On a macro level, risk, efficiencies, insights and strategy can all be managed through the access and understanding of data. Taking our property portfolio example, once in a centralized repository, the data is accessible for deep learning/artificial intelligence to analyze and make actionable.
Using a variety of techniques, the data can be “sliced and diced” in multiple ways depending on the goals set at the start of the project. For example, you can discover office utilization rates and office costs, and use that information to consolidate the real estate portfolio, driving cost savings. This data could also be used to inform other key business decisions around resourcing in specific locations or new regions in which to develop a new sales hub.
Additionally, the centralized repository can be used to set up alerts at key changes in each contract’s lifecycle, ensuring obligations are met, stakeholders either inside your company or within your client are aware when they need to take action, and terms renegotiated before contract rollovers. This reduces risk exposure and helps to reduce revenue leakage – all part of the original goal of the project.
And the advantages of automated data processing don’t end there. On a micro level, simply identifying a single document for your client or stakeholder that deviates from the standard and poses an unknown risk to the business means it can be rectified before it becomes a liability.
Digitized data that’s accessible and actionable is the holy grail of organizations today because business leaders know that making decisions based on insight is smarter than making them on instinct.
Contact Exigent today for help improving access and understanding of your data.