'Avoid the "falling in love with the solution" syndrome' was the title of an insightful talk at The Lawyer's In-House Counsel as a Business Partner conference today. This sentiment mirrors how Clifford Chance Applied Solutions develop our products. "Don't just jump to the solution, investigate the idea/ problem first" is a common comment from Joanne Anderson, our Chief Product Officer.
The panel talk included seasoned tech buyers who shared advice on how to make the most of technology by putting “value” at the heart of it all. Live polling took place throughout the session which made for some interesting context.
Panel chair: Lucy Glyn (Market Development Director, LexisNexis). Panelists: Nir Golan (General Counsel & Head of Global Legal Operations, Attenti), Ingrid Cope (Legal Counsel GB&I and Northern Europe, Coca-Cola Company), Ralph Spencer (Head of Legal - Contracting, Vodafone Business Legal)
Value can be defined in many ways but it really drills down to delivering what the customer needs. The panel noted that trying to find how to deliver significant value to your company by just focusing on the legal function is often hard, so try to focus on your business teams or end customers instead.
By collaborating with the the business, you can usually get to the pain point(s) faster.
The key pragmatic takeaways, which encapsulated most of the advice, were centered around how to build a business case for adopting technology. This included:
- Make friends with finance department. They know how these things work.
- Position technology implementation as a pilot. Stress how this will help obtain proof points, assess ROI and find out if the solution can scale. "Don’t need to boil the ocean" was a message I will remember from Ingrid.
- Expect to fail, learn to fail and learn from your failings.
- Don't try to be perfect, iterate. Take your learnings and make the next version better.
- Organisational change is more important than technology, so major on this.
- Make everyone part of the process, including end users, to build champions.
- Seeing is believing. Show the business prototypes as early as possible to get useful feedback.
- Workshops early on with the business and decision makers make business cases easier to get over the line.
Regardless of what you are trying to do, remembering the message from Nir that "people don't like change but people like people" will go a long way in implementing a successful solution that delivers value, regardless of the underlying tech solution you adopt.
Don't just jump to the solution, investigate the idea/ problem first