Nobody likes switching back and forth between programs all day. The most frustrating waste of time all day is the act of minimizing some window to shift over to the other program in your workflow because all those seconds start to add up throughout the day and there’s just nothing you can do about it.
That’s why integrating workflow under a single pane concept is such a hot trend in legal tech and companies spend so much time and effort bringing new acquisitions under one umbrella. And even if products aren’t all in the same window, just making sure everything “plays well with others” is a headache that opting for one holistic provider can solve.
But even though everyone wants a more seamless workflow, that doesn’t mean everyone needs the same seamless workflow.
This thought crossed my mind while catching up with Onit founder and CEO Eric Elfman after the CLOC Global Institute. Onit has made numerous acquisitions in recent years to build out end-to-end solutions for legal departments, but recently the company has reorganized internally to create two distinct business units to bring the right solution to the right customer.
“A lot of companies buy vendors, sunset the product, and migrate the customers. But there are different needs at different stages of the market, the Fortune 100 legal department has different needs than a solo GC,” Elfman explained. Adopting distinct enterprise and commercial business units allows the company to pursue different strategies to serve a company defined by long sales cycles from one with a quick sale, quick implementation model. “We’re focusing on the different types of buyers with different leaders on these business units. It lets us be more laser focused on how to measure the business to get a better sense of what they need.”
And tailoring the solution to the unique business can do wonders for the legal department within the company. In-house counsel still deal with colleagues that see the lawyers adversarially. The easiest way to bridge this gap is to demonstrate value to the other business units. While lunching at CLOC, I heard from a legal operations professional who said the biggest win for the department came recently when sales credited legal for turning documents faster than sales could negotiate. That’s the sort of advantage in-house attorneys get when their tools are built to support the business at hand.
Couple that with tech that helps legal budget and speak the same language as the rest of the company and technology partners that understand the differences between domestic billing and international billing and high volume and low volume and can deliver the right tool for the right job and you’ve got an optimized legal department.
Given that the constant refrain of my CLOC conversations dealt with finding the right answer for an ops manager’s specific business model, taking an approach that admits there will never be one specific solution seems to match the mood of the market.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.