Legal analytics is applying data analysis methods and technology to the field of law to improve efficiency, gain insight, and realize greater value from available data. Dashboards are a powerful tool for this purpose because of the information they present in support of good decision-making for legal and claims management. Margie Sleboda, ELM Solutions product manager, talked about the best ways to use dashboards to this end.

One of the keys, as Margie noted, is understanding that there are different types of metrics that provide you with different kinds of information to drive the specific result you’re looking for. Like any tools, you need to choose the appropriate metrics for the job you are trying to do. In order to help attendees understand the tools they have available, the presenters went over the basic metric types:

Outcome Metrics reveal where you stand on costs, inventory, cycle times, etc. This information is most useful to management in ascertaining overall performance and results.

Performance Metrics measure compliance with strategies and disciplines and help you learn whether strategies are effective. They are similar to Outcome Metrics but go into greater detail on individuals, small groups, and law firms.

Exception Metrics identify strategic failures and demonstrate responsible parties. They are used tactically to identify problems early and specify matters, individuals, or firms that are impacting results and outcomes, or could have an impact soon.

Combined Metrics aggregate information on several aspects of one or more matters or law firms. They summarize relevant information to enable performance evaluation and strategy development.

Analytic Metrics highlight the biggest opportunities for improvement. They show where changes to strategies and tactics can best improve results for matters, law firms, tasks, etc.

These metrics represent the building blocks that can be used to create dashboards, which bring together combinations of metrics and report types to present the viewer with the precise information they need to support their decisions. When creating dashboards, make sure that everything included in relevant and meaningful for that purpose. Also, always design dashboards to allow users to filter and drill down on data and customize their views.

In addition to these basic best practices, Margie also had some advice about dashboard design:

  • Be aware of the limits of the visualizations you use.
  • Keep it simple – more elements require more time to examine and interpret.
  • Color is important: People can easily distinguish and remember no more than 12 colors. Cool earth tones are easiest to look at for extended periods.
  • Fonts should be consistent: To avoid visual clutter, use one text size bold type sparingly.

Dashboards, like legal and claims data itself, are complex with nuances that aren’t always obvious. For that reason, you should always involve actual users in your data review and dashboard development. With their input, and best practices like those discussed in this session, your legal or claims team will stay well-informed and prepared for the important decisions they make every day.

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn about Operationalizing Analytics Using Dashboards.