I've been riffing on a bit of a motorsports theme in my past few blogs, pointing out that law firms have a better chance of outpacing their competition if they have a 'Formula 1-winning' case management system.
In my last blog along these lines, I wrote about how law firms should be able to respond to changing conditions as effectively as F1 teams respond to different track and weather conditions. Thinking a bit more about this, I can't help but extend the analogy to highlight the role of analytics.
Let's learn from the best
There can be few more data-driven sports than F1. Not only are the teams responding in real time to information about the weather every race weekend, but every time the car is on track — for testing, race practice, qualifying and during the races — vast amounts of data are collected by on-board sensors and fed back to the team for analysis and modelling.
Tyre wear and temperatures, engine performance, g-forces, the effects of different wing profiles, gear change speeds… everything is fed into models and simulations as the team looks for ways to improve over the race weekend — or to develop a faster car for future races. Changes in the regulations every season are another vital piece of input determining what the team can and can't do to find advantage.
Flexibility must extend to analytics
If your firm wants to be the equivalent of an F1-winning team in its field, then you've got to do better at analytics and reporting than the average case management system will allow.
How can you respond to the pressures of Brexit without being able to measure its effects on the performance of your markets and your firm? How can you turn the challenges of fee transparency requirements into an opportunity, if you can't understand and model your costs, and use this insight to build compliant processes that keep you competitive?
The reporting available through most case management systems is either too inflexible to be of genuine value to business users, or too complex to be of any use except to an analytics specialist. What you want is a system that gives you the best of both worlds:
- Out-of-the box analytics and reporting that is flexible and user-friendly enough to let ordinary business users — partners and senior lawyers, business development and marketing personnel — capture and report on any data they need, without the help of IT or analytics specialists.
- Interoperability with industry-standard BI tools — Power BI, QlikView, Cognos, SSRS, etc — for more advanced BI work.
When looking at case management systems, ask for examples of reporting flexibility, and consider whether it is the type of flexibility that puts ordinary business users in the driving seat. And ask about integration with BI tools if you have analytics experts.
Importantly, too, consider how easy the case management system makes it to translate insight into changes in process and practice. F1 teams are continually acting on the data, creating a positive feedback loop: capture data, analyse/model, make changes, capture new data, analyse…. If it's too hard to change what you're doing, the insight you gain will be that much less valuable. As I said in my previous blog: only if your case management system is sufficiently flexible can it support your firm's evolution.
This is part four of an extended blog Series by Simon Farthing, Sales and Marketing Director in the run up to the Visualfiles Share 2019 event.