If data is the new oil, then most GCs are at the point where they’re either still trying to build the refinery, or they’ve hit the biggest well, but have no idea how to extract what they actually need.
We’ve long talked about the value of data, and how greater visibility helps fuel better decision making and highlights areas where you will save money and add to the bottom line. Driving real ROI not just from legal but from data across the business is challenging, so we’ve compiled six key tips to help you on your journey.
1. Start small
If you’re not sure where to start, look at your RFP process as a window of opportunity. Collecting data on your legal panels’ billing, win rate and adherence to SLAs during the reappointment process will give you a solid data foundation. Using this data you can better understand legal spend, negotiate aggregated volume and early payment discounts, and conduct performance measurement.
2. Have a mature relationship
Greater data visibility – even just combining data from your legal bill review process with outcomes – can help you make data-driven decisions about who your best performers are. Sharing that information with the law firms then means either an improving relationship – they know they are doing well – or on the flipside an honest constructive conversation about improvement. Either way, you get better service or the insight to use the highest performing law firm.
3. Internal change is harder than external
Most law firms will (should) welcome a tangible measurement of their performance: proof of a good job, or evidence that they need to change. However, trying to make changes around data adoption techniques or putting new processes in place internally will likely be met with more resistance. Get buy-in from the start – speak to panel managers and others across the business who may be impacted by these changes, and discuss their needs. Show them the data and results to prove why the changes are necessary.
4. Consider using experts to help
Just because you can use a band-aid, doesn’t mean you can fix a broken arm. Getting experts to help can be the difference between demonstratable ROI from your data and just having a lot of information. Having a managed service provider that has data experience means they’ll know where to find the data, which are the best technologies to leverage and what is worth investing in. This not only saves valuable time, but it also means they can be on hand to interrogate the data more deeply, driving up potential ROI.
5. Be vigilant about your relationships
Decisions about which law firm to use can often be based on anecdotal evidence or relationships, as opposed to being consistently data-driven. And even when the data is in play, things can start to revert to historical patterns; whether that in the billing process, missing SLA targets or using firms just because you have a good relationship with them. Constant vigilance is required to ensure every decision is made with one eye on ROI.
6. Be in it for the long haul
Relationships and processes take time to develop, and ROI will not happen overnight. Benefits such as early settlement discounts or volume discounts will only start to drive real ROI over time and over a certain volume. Having one or two panel firms’ data is great, but having all of them across all panels will drive greater discounts boosted by aggregated spend across the whole business.
Wondering how you can strike oil with your data? Exigent has helped hundreds of clients achieve strong ROI from their data. Contact us today to find out how we can help you too.