OK, everyone now agrees; your current way of creating documents is broken (too slow; full of errors; impossible to maintain). So, how do you fix the problem? Do you build your own system, or do you buy something off-the-shelf? There are pros and cons of both approaches. But first things first; before you can make a Build-vs-Buy decision, you need to work out your requirements.
In a previous post, I discussed the IACCM's finding that, in some cases, more than 40% of legal department costs are associated with bid and contracting work.
What then might a business case for automation look like? Below is a quick, back-of-the-napkin calculation.
From the You Cannot Be Serious! file:
"LAWYERS face a national crackdown on over-charging that could end the practice of billing clients for sending them Christmas cards and reading thank you notes."
This is the opening sentence in Over-charging by lawyers under scrutiny, an article in The Australian newspaper. Do some lawyers truly charge for these activities? Do they disclose this to their clients?
Einstein once said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. And so it is with document automation. Everyone wants to make it as simple as possible. But anyone who tells you that it is simple (presumably by consuming whatever snake oil they are selling) is lying. Some document composition tasks are, by their very nature, highly complex, and some will make your head hurt. The challenge is to find the simplest and most effective way of dealing with them, so that you can fully reap the rewards of automation. Which begs two obvious question: what do we mean by complexity and does it affect your documents?
As a lawyer, have you ever wondered how your clients would describe you? Would they say you're client-focused? Commercial? Concise? Cost-effective?
If not, you might be interested in Australian Business Lawyers. Lawyers Weekly has an article on how the Sydney-based firm has built a successful workplace law practice over the past 10 years by making life simple for its clients. So, how has ABL done it?
IACCM research “has found that in many organizations, bid and contract support can account for more than 40% of the legal budget.”
Accordingly, recent comments made by Colleen Gallagher of Huron Consulting should come as no surprise. At an IACCM meeting, Gallagher explained that current pressure on legal departments to increase efficiency has made contract management ‘top of mind’ for many in-house lawyers. She then outlined eight issues on the agendas of law departments that analyze their contracting processes. IACCM President, Tim Cummins has posted a summary of Gallagher's talk which is definitely worth reading.
In this month’s Global Broker and Underwriter Magazine, Lloyd’s CEO Richard Ward, talks about the market’s need to “get it’s act together” to provide better service to its clients, or risk them going elsewhere. He emphasises the need for the market to embrace the Lloyd’s Exchange initiative and says that, “To some respects the market is like a Groundhog Day as nothing has materially changed.”
“In many organizations, up to 25% of sales time is spent on contract-related issues,” states Tim Cummins on his blog Commitment Matters. Tim is president of the IACCM, a non-profit organization that’s become the global forum for innovation in trading relationships and practices.
This is astounding. As we emerge from a very deep recession (knock on wood as GDP came out positive this week), organizations around the world are struggling to do more with less and to close sales more quickly. How do you do this when 25% less time is spent selling or prospecting?