I recently came across a brilliant guide from Plexus, a legal software and services provider based in Australia. Although most GCs will rate rate ‘investing in technology and automation’ as their top priority, many initiatives will never get past the starting line.
There are many reasons for this and everyone’s context is different. It is certainly not for lack of intent, ambition, need, or interest.
According to Plexus, the biggest challenge functional leaders have is when they are required to rapidly work and operate in a cross-functional way. These skills are a new ‘core’ capability for a legal function or executive:
If you ask a GC how they select and sign up a new law firm to spend $100,000 - the answer is often as simple as a few emails and signed engagement letter. Ask them how they will spend half that amount on technology, and they will scratch their head… even though - because of the ‘sunk cost’ nature of professional services spend’ it is far more likely that it will not generate value
I have summarised the top ten traps below:
You let risk aversion get the better of you.
You approach the project like a contract negotiation.
You frame the business case around ‘what legal needs’
You get hung up in ‘integrations’
You get too many people involved.
You try to go too big too early.
You delegate responsibility to others.
You allow other functions to drive the agenda.
You fall for the ‘tomorrow fallacy’.
You work with vendors with the wrong orientation.
I highly recommend reading the full version here which contains more detail on the above traps plus extremely practical ‘do this’ and ‘do not do this’ strategies and tactics.