Live From Interact 2020, Day Three: Driving Toward Tomorrow

What was the last day of our client/user community conference about?  Vision for the future and the roadmaps and training to get everyone there.

Starting with its keynote, where Mitratech CEO Mike Williams was joined by Rajan Gupta of Facebook, through the multiple product deep-dive sessions where development roadmaps were unveiled and training on various solutions were delivered, there was a focus on possibilities: How our clients are using technology to drive change, and what each product can do to expedite efficiency and transformation.

Mitratech: Your Partner in Managing Risk Now and into the Future

Mike Williams’ keynote provided a year-in-review take on the growth and evolution Mitratech has seen since Interact 2019.  Last year, then-CEO Jason Parkman spoke of how the market had passed a “tipping point” in technology adoption in legal and risk management, and Mike was able to unequivocally reinforce that fact.  It’s been evidenced in the company’s rapid growth, and in how clients are embracing its move toward end-to-end solution suites that can address a broad array of risks for a wide variety of corporate users.

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Historically it’s been easy to talk about Legal in a silo and GRC in a silo, but we’re starting to put this all together – Legal and Compliance.

Mike was joined by Rajan Gupta, Global Head of Technology and Compliance at Facebook, who provided fascinating insights into the current state of affairs, best practices for success in an increasingly complex regulatory environment, and what the future may hold.

As he pointed out, “If we look back I’ve seen many departments operate in silos; there is no one unified system across the enterprise, you have to reach out to everyone to get the information you need.” Technology has the chance to change this landscape for the better, and help organizations cope with its newest wrinkle: How remote workforces have the potential to fragment data and processes even further.  “Many of us are working remotely,” he said, “and need remote compliance.”  As he pointed out, working remotely will become de facto for more businesses, and they need to anticipate that now.

Companies need to revisit training programs to ensure they’re relevant, effective, and current.  Some compliance efforts need more attention than others, and more specifically, there are those that require attention “from the top” to succeed.

En attendant, risk and compliance technologies will just keep progressing.  An AI-based solution would use data analytics to “comb through” an increasing maze of regulatory obligations and changes, he explained, enabling companies to be far more proactive in responding to them and maintaining operational resiliency.   Intuitive portals with chatbots would allow users to carry out tasks like submitting travel expenses or making other compliance-related requests without ever involving legal staff.

As Rajan reminded us all:

Where there is a challenge, there is an opportunity; the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.

What were just a couple of the other notable sessions on the day?

What’s TAPpening: Client Workflow Automation Panel

Duane Fisher, the Continuous Improvement Lead at Lutron, Kenneth Trinh, Senior Legal Operations Analyst at Gilead Sciences, and Yuka Tzavaras, Senior Manager of Legal Ops at Electronic Arts, sat down to discuss the full scope of a TAP project, from process optimization to workflow build tips and tricks through launch and adoption considerations.

A key takeaway? Process Optimization does not just “kick-off” a well-designed workflow and then becomes ignored. It’s the first step in building a workflow, but also necessary to consider in the middle and final steps, as well as post-launch. Fisher explained that getting your process right the first time is key: “Automating a bad process just gets you defects faster.” You need to pull together the stakeholders, give visibility into the entire process, brainstorm solutions, and be open to honest feedback before committing to automation.

After eliminating redundancies and ensuring that a workflow can be “error-proof,” the build begins. Trinh delivered creative ways to leverage the low code flexibility and of the TAP software, from using formula fields in tandem with conditional statements, to creating a “loading page” for better user experience. Yuka summarized post-launch workflows well: “What is it all for? It’s really for users to use it.” The process mapping that takes place in the strategy session and the beautiful customization that Kenny showed off are both serving the same person: the end user. This is someone who most likely has not had experience with submitting invoice requests or contract approval forms in TAP, but still needs the system to work.

The goal is to make their life easier by cutting out manual work, eliminating errors, and giving them an interface that makes sense. If you’re serving your customer and thinking empathetically when designing, your launch will succeed.

A Legal Operations Update, Roadmap and Vision for the Future

Kirk Sadler, Brian Wardell, et Kim Howard from the Mitratech Product Management team discussed the Legal Ops product roadmap, which consists of numerous concepts and innovations – including those that are being released now, those coming out soon, and those that are active R&D projects.

During the session, they unveiled a new Idea Portal within the Client Success Portal to capture new ideas and concepts from ou

r clients who face new Legal Operations challenges each day.  In terms of newly released capabilities, TeamConnect was the product clients were most interested in. Significant enhancements to its invoice review and approval capabilities were shown that make the processing of even the most complex invoices clear and intuitive. Business intelligence widgets and new filters allow processors to visualize important data points in real-time and reduce the time for processing complex invoices by 30%. There was also interest in multi-currency enhancements enabling individual timekeepers to invoice from multiple firm offices, each of which can have their own approved rates and currencies.  This allows clients to overcome a hurdle to extending e-Billing internationally.

As for “coming soon” enhancements, Kim Howard shared the development of starter templates that are customizable by clients for different dashboards. She also previewed how analytics could be embedded into individual matter record screens, proactively connecting business intelligence to the individual end user to improve the decision-making process and legal matter outcomes. New Evidence Tracking features for Mitratech Legal Hold were another near-term release item.  Meanwhile, R&D projects currently underway are focused on Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning / Natural Language Processing adjustment guidance within invoice review, and a new Alternative Fee Arrangement Builder allowing no-code customizations to precisely meet agreed-upon terms, improving tracking them in legal spend management.

It wouldn’t have been an Interact…

…without the chance to have some fun, and everyone was able to enjoy that during our luau-themed Happy Hour.  Attendees got to enjoy great comedy from comic Taylor Williamson before playing a round of “Luau Bingo” for prizes (yes, there were winners!).  There was plenty of hilarity and conversation as everyone got to kick back in lush, tropical Zoom settings and reflect on three days of insight and engagement.

How well did a virtual user conference go, versus the in-the-flesh engagement of previous years? All things considered, it went better than anyone could have expected, with a far bigger number of attendees than our previous physical conferences, using technology that’s relatively new even if it’s advanced rapidly over the last several months.

Special thanks go out, of course, to our sponsors at Mosaïque, Consilio, Kranium Consulting, InfiniGlobe, et HBR Consulting for supporting the event and lending their expertise to multiple panels.

Interact 2020 Happy Hour
Click to embiggen!

With any luck (and the hard work of public health and medical experts worldwide who are battling COVID-19), next year we’ll all be able to meet in person.  That said, Interact 2020 was still an informative, entertaining, and engaging experience, staged by a terrific team for the best client/user community anywhere.

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