Businesses have been talking, planning, and implementing strategies to offer new services, transform their business models, manage costs and increase efficiencies through digital transformation for quite some time – Deloitte also produces an ongoing series of insights dedicated to the topic. The exponential growth in data, coupled with increases in computer capability to process such data volumes, and continual advances in technology such as AI, means the job is never quite done.
Business leaders have already identified the value of digitalization–helping their teams become more efficient, enabling differentiation in products and services, and even creating new business propositions.
They consider technology, data, systems architecture, and talent strategies for successful transformation in the context of their organizational strategies. They also harness advanced analytics and statistical forecasting to support process transformation and look to synchronize governance across their different operational locations.
Many legal departments have largely been left out of this wave of technology transformation, because automation is traditionally applied to structured data and repetitive processes, while the legal function revolves around unstructured data—primarily documents—that reside outside of structured databases.
Solving the challenge of unstructured data has brought the legal industry to an inflection point. For the first time, many labor-intensive, repetitive legal department tasks can now be performed by computers instead of humans. Legal executives should be able to take advantage of analytics and AI to free up legal department resources so they can perform more value-added work, such as advising the business on strategic and directional matters.
Analytics and AI capabilities can also help address legal and regulatory risk in the organization because data is no longer stored inconsistently and endlessly. And, because all data is centrally housed, companies can now apply information governance for cybersecurity, data loss prevention, and regulatory risk management purposes.
Full-scale digitalization does not happen overnight, but the sooner the general counsel (GC) gets involved in the organization’s digital transformation strategy, the better. That way, the GC can make efforts to ensure that the legal technology employed can integrate with other organizational technology such as ERP systems, and should a cloud-first strategy be favored, steps can be taken to align the legal technology. Digital transformation can be daunting, so breaking it down into simple steps may be helpful: