ELM Software Solution in Action
ELM Software Solution in Action

ELM Software Adoption, Part I: 7 Steps For Picking the Right Solution

When it comes to Enterprise Legal Management, picking the right ELM software to suit your legal department and enterprise needs deserves due diligence.

Making a mistake in picking an ELM solution or platform can prove to be a costly misstep, whether you’re a global enterprise or an up-and-coming company.  So here’s a detailed, step-by-step approach for selecting an ELM solution based on your legal department and your company’s business needs.

Assemble your team

Picking an ELM software solution for your company requires the right players to be assembled at the beginning of the selection process. These players ensure there’s a clear path from decision to contract to implementation, and often include:

  • Procurement, if needed
  • Legal department operations staff
  • Members of the IT team
  • Members of the Finance team

Designate a champion for the project – one point of contact guarantees a smoother line of communication!

Start with the end in mind

Now that a winning team is in place, start with the end in mind. In other words, define the company’s objectives for purchasing an ELM solution across the company’s internal players to ensure it is a cross-functional choice. Be sure to vet ideas together.

Legal Reimagined: Conquering Today’s Challenges with Tomorrow’s Technology


Get a budget approval for the purchase of an ELM software solution. In some cases, the failure to do so can hold the process up for months or even years. To get a good idea about an appropriate budget for the solution, check with consultants, peers, and vendors to draw up a range about costs on the high and low ends of the spectrum.

Find the right ELM software vendors

Now that a budget is in place, it’s time to research to determine which solution is right for your company. Scour the internet, read case studies, ask your colleagues at other companies, attend conferences, read blogs. There are many ways to find legal tech vendors. Putting in some up-front research will be worth it in the end.

Issue an RFP

One of the best ways to compare one solution against another is to invite finalists to respond to an RFP. This process will provide a clearer picture about which specific capabilities the vendor provides, including customer support, implementation costs, training, and more. Don’t be afraid to make the RFP as detailed as you see fit, and to ask for as much information from prospective vendors as you’d like.  See more here on what to included in an RFP!

Book a demo

The goal of the RFP process is to glean a shortlist of final ELM software vendors who will be allowed to conduct either web-based or onsite demonstrations. A good rule of thumb?  Limit these finalists to no more than four. This helps keeps things focused, as your team tries to chase down and evaluate a broad spectrum of capabilities and competing features.

Assess the finalists behind the products

Once all your demos are done, an important last gauge?  Put your potentially winning ELM software providers through a final checkpoint: Do they mirror your company in values and commitment? Will the one you want to run with be just a vendor, or a true collaborator? In essence, ask yourself: Do I want to work with these people?

Finding the right fit in ELM software

That last step in picking ELM software we just mentioned is more important than some companies understand.  As business academics and analysts have pointed out, the “fit” between a company and its supplier/vendor is crucial.

That certainly goes for the relationship between a legal department and a legal ELM software provider: For the investment to succeed, it will require levels of customization and support that are only possible if the two parties are in alignment.

By following these steps in picking an ELM solution, your legal department is going to take the kind of in-depth and diligent action necessary to identify the right ELM product and provider, one who’s as invested in your own success as they are in making a sale.

In our next post in this series, we’ll take a look at how to ensure adoption and integration of your ELM solution.

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