See how Business Intelligence enables data driven decision making
See how Business Intelligence enables data driven decision making

Business Intelligence: Insights at the Point of Action

Jay Pinkert |

See how Business Intelligence enables data driven decision making“Data-driven decision making” is easier said than done. It takes a combination of strategic planning and robust technology to transform the vast amounts of raw data at our disposal into information, and transform that information into actionable insights.

What Prevents Effective Data-Driven Decision Making in Legal Departments?

In the tradition-bound, relationship-based legal profession, metrics typically have been subjective. Survey-based measurement and business-as-usual planning have been the norm.

Now, as companies push law departments to generate measurable return on investment, those soft metrics have been replaced by data-driven goals and processes. This realignment also creates significant challenges for outside law firms, which now are required to adapt their business practices to the priorities of their data-driven clients.

While new technology has helped solve significant challenges in data analytics and reporting, it’s created other challenges in the process. Early adopters of business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools have benefitted from strong data crunching capabilities, but it can still be a struggle to make sense of complex data. Processes can be cumbersome, IT-centric and slow. Report creations can be difficult because of different data formats in disparate systems.

Organizational structure can also impede data-driven decision making. Data used by a cross section of teams and roles within the legal department might be siloed, or even reside with specific individuals within a team. And as the saying goes, timing is everything. The inability to quickly surface and share the status of legal spend and work in progress continues to dog legal departments.

What’s Next? Insight at the Point of Action.

The new generation of BI solutions for enterprise legal management redefines every aspect of analytics, with a focus on fast data preparation, advanced analytics and intuitive design.

This approach makes it easy to get the right information to the right people at the right time, a capability we call “insight at the point of action.”

The Right Information

When users get insights at the point of action, it means they get the right information.

The benefits of getting the right information?

    • A unified, consolidated and consistent view of data across the organization
    • End users can access and analyze data autonomously, which means no more data and system silos and no more IT involvement

The Right People

The next step is to make sure the right people receive the right information. That way, data can be used to inform and drive business decisions – not live in an indecipherable silo.

When the right people have access to the right data, they can:

    • View reports and dashboards customized to track and visualize KPI metrics for specific roles and end users with no extraneous material or process steps

The Right Time

The real trick to business (not to mention life in general) is to get the timing right. When the right information gets to the right person at the right time, well, that’s when the magic happens.

When users receive the data they need at the right time, it enables them to:

    • Effectively track, analyze and make decisions based on data, without wasting time waiting on other people
    • Respond with agility to the most current data and make decisions at the speed of business

What Does BI Look Like for Different Users?

The purpose of BI software is the same for all users: to help them quickly and easily get the answers they need from complex data. But every dashboard will reflect the needs and preferences of each individual.

Here are a few examples of how that might look for different user types:

General Counsel’s Dashboard

Preparing for a board meeting, the GC is able to create a single, comprehensive view of performance against macro goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), using:

    • Visualization tools to enable effective data presentation
    • Ability to drill down for details on specific areas, without leaving the screen

Result – The General Counsel has complete visibility over the work of the legal department and increased agility to respond to emerging challenges.

Legal Spend Management

Attorneys reviewing invoices can work from a summary dashboard where inputs from all data sources are automatically filtered to show results for any single invoice.

The dashboard can visualize the breakdown of data by:

    • Budget
    • Timekeeper classifications
    • Violations by type

Result – Business intelligence technology can reduce the time spent reviewing and approving invoices by 50%.

Law Firm Scorecard

The vendor relationship managing attorney prepares for an annual business review with a panel firm.

Within the firm’s record, the dashboard visualizes a “balanced scorecard” to help evaluate performance in key areas:

    • Financial
    • Quality
    • Efficiency
    • Ranking relative among panel firms

Result – Law firm scorecards are the source material for the Outside Counsel Selection Wizard.

Outside Counsel Selection

Attorneys use a selection wizard to identify vendors that provide the best overall value for particular matters. The dashboard presents analytics based on attorneys’ selection criteria, and includes only firms that match.

Firms can be sorted by criteria including:

    • Success rates
    • Risk level/complexity
    • Avg. cost by outcome
    • Evaluation rankings

Result – Companies can save as much as 5% of legal spend by optimizing outside counsel selection.

Democratizing Data Analytics

In this brave new world of BI, we’re all data analysts now. But instead of requiring users to learn how to devise, program and manage intricate data models, we are now free to explore complex, multi-source data with any ad hoc question, using interactive web dashboards that anyone can understand.


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