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Why are legal technologies a gateway for business success?


Why are legal technologies a gateway for business success?

 

From Tom Dunlop, co-founder and CEO of Summize

The current business landscape is competitive. CEOs must manage social and economic change, while also embracing digital transformation. Technological advancements have made it easier and more cost-effective for organisations to adopt and benefit from a variety of digital tools and platforms, from cloud computing to AI and automation. But to remain relevant and meet market expectations, business leaders must ensure that the whole organisation is on board with advancements, and that each department is tech enabled.

Why the legal department is getting left behind

I previously worked as a General Counsel for a number of high-growth tech companies, and it was clear that the legal department was getting left behind. While finance departments, marketing teams, sales and HR each embraced technology, the legal department did not experience the same empowerment through technology and innovation. Legal missed out on the streamlined processes, improved data accuracy and analysis and enhanced customer and employee experiences that were making other departments powerful strategic resources. Seeing first-hand how in-house legal teams were still reliant on manual processes for everyday tasks such as reviewing contracts was frustrating. 

Leaving Legal behind can be a costly mistake for businesses. By giving legal professionals the right tools and ensuring they are no longer bogged down by administrative or repetitive work, businesses reap the rewards of more high-value legal work that helps to drive the business forward. In fact, by investing budget into legal transformation tools, businesses can benefit from increased efficiency, resilience and agility, better collaboration, and reduced cost. Businesses with digitally enabled legal teams can even fast-track negotiation cycles by 50%, ultimately leading to increased sales and profits.

Legal technologies – a gateway for business success

With the same budget and investment in digital tools as their counterparts in other departments, I believe that there is a huge opportunity for GCs across all sectors to assume drive real change and become a gateway for business success. In-house legal experts can be a powerhouse of strategic value for businesses – they just need to be used and empowered in the right way.

Making budgets go further 

The benefits of implementing digital tools within the legal department are significant, both in terms of cost savings and added value. By embracing a data-driven approach and leveraging technology, a legal department can access resources instantly, automate contract generation, and seamlessly integrate with core business systems like Microsoft Word, Teams, Slack, and Docusign. 

Streamlining contract management processes alone can save up to 9% of company revenue, resulting in faster sales cycles, more efficient negotiations, and improved operations. This is not just a legal matter, but a broader business concern, especially in today’s challenging global economic environment.

More efficient teams

Currently, a lack of efficiency not only hinders the legal team’s ability to deliver results, but also causes frustrations within other departments who are reliant on legal to close deals and move projects forward quickly. In fact, Thomas Reuters’ ‘State of the UK Legal Market 2022’ found that 56% of legal professionals cited improving efficiency as their top priority for the next year.

This challenge could largely be solved by removing the pressure of manual and menial tasks. By leveraging digital tools, legal teams could boost productivity and significantly reduce the number of legal bottlenecks. 

Consider Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) systems, which enable legal teams to automate repetitive legal tasks, such as contract creation and document examination. This streamlining process considerably lessens the administrative workload, and some CLM systems can quicken contract lifecycles by up to 37% and reduce contract review time by as much as 85%. Given that big corporations handle approximately 350 contracts every week, automating this process represents a significant move towards enhancing overall business efficiency.

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A companywide approach

Digital tools can massively reduce friction and facilitate collaboration between legal teams and colleagues across the business by enabling sales, HR, marketing to self-serve and integrate with existing software. We should be empowering sales teams to utilise tools they use day-to-day, such as Microsoft Teams, to pass information quickly and efficiently to legal and reduce laborious back and forth.  

There are innovative technologies out there that can bring legal teams closer to their internal stakeholders and help to ensure that legal considerations are integrated into all aspects of the business. With technology such as CLM solutions in particular, this collaboration can span across teams and geographies through the cloud.

More agility 

In the past few years, agility is becoming increasingly important for business success. Adopting legal technologies can help businesses respond more quickly to macroeconomic changes, such as new regulations or legal challenges. Being able to adapt more quickly to changing circumstances and market trends helps businesses gain a competitive advantage.

Reduced risk

The legal department is no longer just about the application of law. Today, legal teams are increasingly being called upon to navigate complex regulatory frameworks and mitigate legal risk in areas such as data privacy, cybersecurity, and intellectual property.

CLM systems can provide real-time insights into contract performance and highlight areas for improvement. Able to make data-driven decisions, legal teams can better anticipate and mitigate legal risk and provide more accurate legal advice quicker.

 It’s becoming clearer than ever that technology is mission-critical to many businesses and the legal department has a pivotal role to play in providing strategic legal counsel to ensure the company’s use of digital assets is legally compliant and in line with best practices.

Why is now the time for change?

It’s time for in-house legal departments to recognise the company-wide strategic significance of technology if they are truly to benefit from their talent and expertise. The benefits speak for themselves: from automation of manual processes, better data use, to streamlined communication and enhanced productivity. 

So why not make use of this untapped company-wide strategic resource to shape your business strategy and drive growth? The time is now to unlock your business’ potential. 

 

 

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