Automated Intelligence – a strategy that delivers tangible business benefits today

A constant stream of technological innovations has now become the norm, with each new technology promising to be a game-changer for business in the future.

Artificial intelligence (AI) immediately comes to mind as the latest 'silver bullet'. In fact, the widespread view is that AI is going to take the legal sector by storm – and many law firms are impatient to get on the 'bandwagon'.

Whilst it's important that law firms explore these new technologies – that may or may not deliver on their perceived potential in their current form – with vigour to evolve and innovate; it's also vital that they exploit existing proven technologies and approaches that are optimised and available 'today'. Often these existing technologies and methods are forgotten in the excitement of chasing the 'next big thing' – which in time meets the same fate as the existing technology – ie remains under-utilised and hence its potential is never fully exploited for business gain.

In our personal lives we are usually happy to combine different solutions to optimise our experiences. Travelling is a good example, where we are comfortable to combine modern satellite navigation technologies with traditional radio traffic updates to ensure we are taking the most efficient and quickest course possible to the destination in question. Admittedly it's rare that we use paper maps anymore, certainly not when the journey is underway, but the quality of satellite navigation live traffic information is still not at a level where it can be completely relied upon and so the journey is enhanced by a more traditional medium.

To derive the most gain from any technology – efficiencies, improved profitability, enhanced productivity and other such business metrics – it's imperative that law firms build a firm business foundation, and once established, don't assume it never needs reviewing again. One strategy, which is a combination of approach and technology, that can help firms achieve all of this is "Automated Intelligence". It entails a focus on the 'here and now' to deliver tangible bottom line benefits TODAY, with the additional advantage that it establishes a solid business foundation that can then be further exploited with ongoing innovation.

Automated Intelligence might be considered a "statement of the obvious" but it's surprising how many organisations overlook it. It constitutes a simple three-step approach:

1. Review business processes and remove unnecessary steps

If a firm does nothing else, at the very least, it should regularly review existing processes (NOT the technology) to ensure that they befit the existing needs of the business, with a specific objective of removing any procedure or step that is no longer required. These process reviews constitute a business operation's health check to ensure that activities are being executed in the right manner to meet the needs of all stakeholders – staff, clients and the wider organisation.

Article originally appeared on the InfoLaw website.

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