According to the “12th Annual Law Department Operations Survey,” released last month, business process improvement is the leading current and expected challenge for corporate legal departments, followed closely by the need to stay abreast of law department technology.
The survey produced by the Blickstein Group is created via an advisory board consisting of law department operations professionals from Fortune 500 companies and other consultants.
The good news from the report is that more corporate legal professionals (70.2%) are reporting that they have the right technology to do their jobs than in the previous survey (68.6%). And more specifically, 57.4% said they had plans to update, evaluate, or implement a document management system (DMS) in the next 12 months to extend that upswing.
However, on a scale of 1 to 10, respondents ranked the effectiveness of DMS technology in general at a 6.7—well behind the 7.1 average score for all legal information technologies. While up from a 5.9 in the previous year’s survey, the 2019 report lists a few reasons for this perceived lack of effectiveness, notedly insufficient training, poor implementation, and underuse.
Here are 3 ways law departments can overcome these and other challenges with DMS and improve their business processes:
Enable better search in a DMS
It’s clear from the low effectiveness scores for DMS technology that traditional products aren’t meeting the needs of contemporary legal departments. One way that this can be improved is to enable better search in your DMS.
Users need to more effectively save and search a large volume of documents, emails, and messages that flow through the legal department. Modern DMS offers suggested filing locations and personalized search that delivers more accurate results by remembering what you search for most often.
While 47.4% of survey respondents indicated they don’t use Artificial Intelligence in their legal departments, this technology is ripe for improving DMS effectiveness. By enabling improved user document search and even extraction of specific datasets buried in documents with AI, legal departments can significantly improve their business processes. Nearly 27% of survey respondents indicated they’re using AI for e-discovery or document review, while 13% indicated they’re using it for insight or predictions.
Offer a better DMS experience to users and the organization
As suggested in the survey, DMS effectiveness often is hindered by underuse. One strategy to overcome this challenge is to offer legal departments a more consumer-like experience with these technologies. Modern DMS empowers professionals to work more productively while enabling legal departments to be more efficient, agile, and responsive to the changing business environment.
It does so by mirroring consumer applications like Amazon and Google, with intuitive features that work the way users want to work on any device, while requiring minimal training. It anticipates user actions, and integrates with other tools that legal professionals use, such as matter management, conflict management, and workflow software.
Further, a modern DMS offers benefits at the organization level, with cloud delivery models to enhance organizational agility with rapid deployment, automated updates, and the flexibility to add new functionality as needed.
Offer comprehensive security in a DMS
Legal organizations have unique requirements for securing documents for all their different clients. This only becomes more complex when they must also meet the various legal requirements for all the countries in which they do business. So, it’s no surprise that handling global issues ranked 6th in top challenges legal departments face according to the survey, while compliance issues and data protection came in 9th.
Modern DMS delivers comprehensive security, built on established industry best practices, to protect information assets. These protections are augmented by comprehensive governance, security, and risk mitigation features including need-to-know security and ethical walls, to govern information access.
Learn more about how a modern DMS can help your legal department improve its business processes here.