With 2019 coming to a close, I’m looking back not only on what the year has been like for us here at Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions but also for the legal operations industry as a whole. What I see is exciting. Legal and insurance claims teams are more focused than ever on making strategic decisions that enable them to contribute to the bottom line. Technological progress is opening new avenues for them to make even more progress toward the goals they’ve set. And ELM Solutions is committed to our customers’ success, however they define it.
Total Focus on Spend Management
For years now, the trend among general counsel and their legal teams has been an increasingly strategic contribution. This is not changing. In a survey we conducted at this year’s ELM Solutions Executive Advisory Summit, we asked about the top priorities for members’ legal departments over the next year and the top response was “Adding value to the business and becoming a strategic business partner.”
In order to do this, GCs need to run their organizations as efficiently as possible. That means utilizing technology and services that help them deliver on their commitments and keep everyone on their staff focused on the areas where they can contribute the maximum value. ELM Solutions partners with customers to help them do that. Our Total Spend Management approach recognizes legal management tools as the foundation of a spend management program. To make that program more comprehensive, however, ELM Solutions offers solutions such as LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer and Predictive Insights that save money, improve efficiency for in-house staff and help ensure they can spend their time on high-value work.
This year, we also introduced Intelligent Invoice Conversion, which uses artificial intelligence (AI), in combination with human expertise, to convert “paper” invoices, the long tail of legal invoices, such as PDFs, into LEDES files so they can be included in customers’ Passport® or TyMetrix® 360° data without time-consuming manual entry. This gives clients visibility into 100% of their legal invoices with the level of detail needed to review and analyze any part of their legal spend.
Optimizing Additional Workflows
Given their increasing focus on business results, GCs in modern legal departments are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to optimizing processes. In recent years, we have heard from customers that they would like to improve their operations around contract lifecycle management (CLM). With large companies managing an increasing number of contracts, manual tracking has become too inefficient – and too prone to human error – for many legal departments to be comfortable with that approach. GCs are therefore turning to CLM technology in significant numbers. In fact, over 30% of our EAS survey respondents reported that they plan to invest in CLM technology in the coming year.
In 2019, ELM Solutions acquired CLM Matrix, a leading contract management provider and top 3 rated "Strong Performer" in the Forrester Q1 CLM Wave Report. As a result, we can now offer our customers a CLM solution that reduces risk, helps control costs, and provides:
- Native Microsoft Office integration
- Comprehensive contract repository efficiencies
- A rapid no-code, development-free implementation
- Smart, transparent contract assembly and workflow approvals
- Robust reporting and obligation management
The Power of Data
Historically, lawyers had to make ad hoc decisions about their matters – such as how much to budget and which outside counsel to assign – based on the “gut feel” their experience provided. Fortunately, the move to e-billing and rise of enterprise legal management technology means that this is no longer necessary. Modern legal and insurance claims departments now have access to a wealth of data that can be harnessed for more confident decision-making and better business outcomes that contribute to the company’s overall success.
In 2019, ELM Solutions combined that data with the latest AI technology and introduced Predictive Insights, the first module of its kind in the legal operations market. By ranking the best law firms for litigated matters – directly within the user’s outside counsel selection workflow – Predictive Insights provides the information legal professionals need, exactly when they need it, to make the best decisions. Along with firm rankings, it displays predictions about budget and cycle time that help achieve favorable matter outcomes.
I’m so grateful to the internal ELM Solutions team, and especially to our customers, for making 2019 a truly great year. And what a year it’s been! We worked closely with our clients to understand their shifting needs and introduced groundbreaking new technology that revolutionized enterprise legal management. And we were honored with a remarkable level of industry award recognition from the Stevie Awards for Customer Service, the American Business Awards, the Golden Bridge Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Best in Biz Awards for Innovation in Technology. We’re fortunate for the ongoing opportunity to partner with our customers and help them achieve their organizational goals, and we’re eager to continue delivering on that mission in 2020.