Sysero: Five ways to drive differentiation through technology-enabled KM
For law firms, knowledge management (KM) has been and will continue to be a key competitive advantage. However, changing market conditions, new ways of working and advanced technologies are forcing law firms to rethink the traditional view of KM.
To prepare for the post-pandemic future, today’s law firms need to redefine how they create, share and manage knowledge to help drive differentiation and efficiency. Faced with leaner staffs, increased competition and hard-bargaining clients, today’s firms are incentivised to streamline processes, whilst finding new ways to stand out in the market.
The 2020 Law Firms in Transition survey by Altman Weil supports this notion
“Many law firms look the same to prospective clients - they do not project a distinct and compelling value that distinguishes them from similar firms. Differentiation is imperative in a highly competitive market like the one we can expect this year and next.”
Yet the survey found that only 55% of firms think their firm is clearly and specifically differentiated. Which begs the question: is having knowledgeable and experienced lawyers enough? The simple answer is no. Today’s firms must be able to promote and share knowledge to maximise lawyers’ potential, stand out in the market, and enable better client service.
Evolving and innovating KM depends, among other factors, on designing the optimal processes and deploying the right technology solutions. Here, we look at five tips for powering technology-enabled KM to drive differentiation for your firm.
Align KM to the Needs of the Business
Strategic KM needs to be aligned to your firm’s and your clients’ business objectives. This means, you need to establish a KM strategy that’s connected to your firm’s business strategy in order to provide the know-how and expertise that lawyers require to deliver the best client service.
Take the time to craft a KM strategy, with input from across the firm, to better understand what knowledge the firm houses and how best to capitalise on it. Keep in mind, that whilst many ideas sound great on paper, they need to be practical to implement in order to have impact. Set goals and priorities for your KM programme, measure the results, and revise as necessary.
Integrate Know-How and Information
Law firms hold an immense amount of internal knowledge and know-how, including precedents, opinions, documents, and expertise. With knowledge constantly evolving, it’s critical that firms be able to continually update, monitor and share the firm’s collective knowledge. However, it’s not just the knowledge your firm holds that differentiates it in the market; it’s how your lawyers put it into practice.
Technology plays a key role in bringing together disparate knowledge from across the firm and making it actionable for lawyers. Law firms typically have multiple knowledge repositories - including document management systems, customer relationship management systems, and practice management systems. Rather than adding yet another system to house information, strategic KM systems like Sysero enable firms to securely integrate information from their existing systems. For example, Finnish firm Castren & Snellman integrated its knowledge library and document automation systems to create a comprehensive knowledge management system that seamlessly integrates with the firm’s iManage instance. Streamlining and sharing information across systems not only speeds up processes, but also limits the risk of important information falling through the cracks.
Power Sophisticated Searching
Knowledge is only helpful if it can be found when needed. Make it easy for lawyers to uncover the knowledge they need with sophisticated searching capabilities. Modern KM systems, like Sysero, put relevant, up-to-date information at the fingertips of lawyers through a powerful combination of browsing and searching capabilities that deliver an eCommerce-like search experience.
A proven way to boost operational efficiency is to bring together knowledge and process management to enable lawyers and clients to immediately access the know-how they need, whenever they need it. Many law firms are already using workflow automation to streamline traditionally time-consuming and manual transactional processes.
Take for example, how Vinge, one of Sweden’s premier law firms, uses its Vinge Dox system to enable lawyers to quickly and easily create new documents directly from the firm’s knowledge library. To create a document, lawyers simply select the type of document they want and fill out a guided online questionnaire. Lawyers also can save more time and control quality by building document packs, which enable them to create a set of documents using the information input into a single form.
As well as maintaining a speedy, consistent approach, Vinge’s KM system supports effective compliance and risk management by embedding data security practices into process workflows.
Select the Right Technology Partner
Strategic KM requires the right technology to connect people, processes and knowledge. It’s about providing lawyers with the ability to quickly locate expertise across the firm, whilst embedding compliance and best practices into every-day processes.
Sysero’s robust knowledge management system coupled with workflow automation provides a strong framework for capturing, managing and sharing collective know-how and expertise across the firm - wherever lawyers may be working. With remote work on the rise, a modern KM solution needs to work for the mobile workforce, whilst mitigating risk through secure practices.
With Sysero, you can easily embed compliance and data protection best practices into workflows and processes, effectively standardising data security across the firm. Additionally, Sysero’s cloud-based system makes it easy for lawyers to access know-how, wherever they may be working.
Strategic KM Drives Client Value
A decade ago, KM focussed on work product retrieval and reuse. However, today KM may just be the key to creating a true competitive advantage in the legal market. Modern, technology-enabled KM systems have moved KM from beyond simply searching for information to applying knowledge to deliver quicker, higher quality legal services and increased value for legal clients.
For more information about how Sysero can help your firm elevate KM, please get in touch with us.