If you’re intrigued by the possibility of robotic process automation (RPA) in your organization, know that you’re in good company. While it’s true that just 12% of organizations currently use AI in their legal processes, nearly half (45%) are also exploring its potential to reduce legal workload, gain additional insight or boost personnel performance. Interest is growing by the day.
A measured approach to implementing RPA and AI is also the correct one. While the technology holds nearly unlimited potential, progress is hindered and results are inaccurate if a proper implementation process isn’t followed. So, instead of leaping in with both feet, follow these guidelines to determine not just whether implementing RPA and AI are right for your legal department, but where to apply these technologies.
1. Identify where RPA and AI can create the most value.
Assessing your current problem areas is a vital step to the implementation process. Use statistical analysis and internal interviews to determine the following:
- How to reduce workload
- Gain additional insight
- Boost performance
- Mitigate risk
Extrapolating the results will help quantify the likely benefits of implementing the technology at an early stage. This latter step will also help gain user buy-in later on.
2. Improve your existing processes.
RPA and AI can’t make inherently terrible processes amazing, but they can magnify existing problems. For example, if a particular lawyer is already overwhelmed by the number of compliance reports they have to review, using AI to send them more reports faster will not save time (and may make them feel even worse). Law firms and legal departments that address bottlenecks like this before implementation will get more out of RPA and AI technologies.
3. Create a technology roadmap.
A technology roadmap supports strategic planning by aligning short-term and long-term goals with technology solutions. Visualizing when, why and where RPA and AI solutions will be implemented helps your organization advance its strategy while avoiding costly mistakes. Since you’ve already identified where implementing RPA and AI will create the most value, your technology roadmap helps ensure your new investment meets related short and long-term goals.
4. Gain internal stakeholder and leadership buy-in.
Technology rollouts are most effective when all stakeholders buy-in to their implementation. It may seem like this step should come sooner. However, by doing your homework and laying some data groundwork, your legal department will more easily demonstrate value to those holding the purse strings. Once you have the data and improved processes in place, implementing technology to support your goals will seem like the logical next step to all parties involved.
5. Seek external expertise.
Given the limited deployment of RPA and AI in most legal environments, your organization may not have all the skills to carry out the deployment alone. An external partner can assist with the know-how to get your RPA and AI off the ground. However, keep in mind that you must first identify internal advocates responsible for the culture change in the organization to sustain your new technology.
Final thoughts: pitfalls to avoid
RPA and AI can go spectacularly well in the legal space — but it can also be a spectacular disaster. Keep these potential missteps in mind when planning your solution:
- Failure to fully map out automation processes. If just one part of a process is automated, you may encounter information bottlenecks that waste precious hours. Make sure you have a full understanding of all the steps of the relevant processes before you embark on an RPA initiative.
- Using the wrong algorithm for your AI application. For example, different versions of natural language processing tools will look for different patterns. Choosing the wrong one will deliver entirely useless results.
- Employing the wrong people to vet your data. Legal evidence is rife with colorful language. Quality human checks and data-vetting are crucial to avoid a bot with a foul mouth or inaccurate results from an AI tool. People need to understand what they’re looking for — and what to un-teach your automaton.
While the profession has been historically hesitant to adopt digital tools, the tides seem to be shifting. Legal technology experienced 713% growth in global spending in 2018, and 72% of organizations report having a technology roadmap. But only 35% report their own in-house engineering teams, which holds the expertise needed to ensure successful RPA and AI implementation.
As your organization considers implementing RPA or AI into your processes, make sure your teams have the support they need. With a worldwide team of more than 400 attorneys, business analysts, developers and consultants, Exigent supports legal teams by applying analytical thinking, smart use of technology and inventive talent to deliver answers that affect every aspect of business performance.
If you’re looking for a partner that uses RPA and AI technology with support from lawyers and analysts trained in machine learning and natural language processing,reach out to Exigent today!