Gartner ELM Providers
Gartner ELM Providers

What’s Gartner’s Take on ELM Providers?

The enterprise legal management marketplace can be intimidating for first-time (or even seasoned) legal tech adopters.  So it’s good to have analyst guidance in evaluating ELM providers.

We have defined ELM previously, but let’s recap Gartner’s take on it: ELM solutions are used to manage and optimize workflows such as legal e-billing, legal matter management, contract life cycle management, intellectual property management, e-discovery, legal entity management, risk management, and compliance and oversight.

Gartner’s “Market Guide for Enterprise Legal Management Solutions” provides a good understanding of where the market stands today, and what different ELM providers may be able to deliver. COVID-19 has caused major workplace disruption, and as remote work and hiring become more common, the change in what buyers seek and value is clearly reflected in the report.

That shift will leave many providers struggling to keep pace with actual needs, in our view.  Why?  Because they’re focused on standalone solutions that have been developed to address very specific pain points.  That means the product may be only a short-term remedy that may not deliver long-term value.

The best ELM providers will combine immediate benefits with scalability, flexibility, and ease of adoption and integration.  Together, they support that long-term ROI and help a legal stack become an engine of growth for the whole enterprise.

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A varied spectrum of ELM providers

In the report, Gartner points out how there are many vendors and products available, and they address multiple facets of legal operations. These products have different strengths and weaknesses, depending on their focus.

What does this mean for buyers? Depending on your own focus, your selection will require a certain level of compromise. Some of the crucial criteria to take into consideration include:

  • What are the capabilities of the product for handling your current and future needs?
  • How well will it integrate with your current and future technology stacks?
  • Are you assessing the vendor risk involved with prospective providers?

It’s worth taking the time to find solutions that can address multiple types of legal operations. When selecting a vendor, it may serve you well to look at the breadth of capabilities they offer. This has the benefit of a better user experience, as well as an advantage in managing technical infrastructure.

Buyers should be able to use the ELM solutions beyond the legal department. A best-in-class solution will allow your legal team to collaborate and communicate with the rest of the organization.

The right ELM providers deliver greater capabilities

Most ELM solutions support matter management and document management. However, it becomes more difficult when you search for solutions that also support e-billing, contracts, e-discovery, intellectual property management, risk management, and legal entity management.

Another consideration for buyers to keep in mind is deployment size and experience.  Some ELM providers have far more experience with larger deployments. As a new buyer, you should look for products and ELM providers that match your needs, including future requirements beyond your legal department.

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