Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) is a relatively new term in the world of legal technology, but it encompasses tools and activities that have long been familiar to anyone working in a corporate legal or compliance capacity.
Evolving out of the early legal matter and spend management tools that formed the bedrock of law department technology, ELM today must incorporate an expansive set of integrated software technology and services that provides full visibility into a company’s legal and compliance functions.
In order to provide companies the comprehensive visibility they require, the leading ELM providers abide by a mandate to partner with other best-in-class technology suppliers that effectively support corporate legal and compliance departments across the breadth of their business.
Increased Complexity within Corporate Legal and Compliance Departments
Today’s legal business environment is increasingly complex. Large corporations create and store hundreds of terabytes of information each year.1 It is typical for legal departments to leverage tools originating in other parts of the enterprise, such as Human Resources and Accounting, and to rely on the data they produce. To address the technical and legal challenges related to the explosion of corporate data, combined with the need to interact with other enterprise applications, legal professionals have increasingly turned to technology.
Compounding the data challenge, governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) functions are increasingly more complex and difficult to manage. This is an atmosphere where in-house attorneys report that they consider regulatory issues as their number one litigation threat.2 In order to effectively identify and mitigate risk, corporate legal departments work more closely with their compliance organizations than ever before. These are no longer isolated, siloed functions, but are now complementary teams that must coordinate their efforts in order to meet their organization’s business goals.
Based on our experience working with GCs and compliance officers at more than one hundred Fortune 500 clients, typical legal and compliance teams are tasked with managing anywhere from three to four dozen discrete, complex processes that all require technological support. These can include matter management, eDiscovery, claims litigation management, incident tracking, legal risk management, and many others. Add to this the need to interact with other IT-driven, in-house enterprise software applications such as Accounts Payable and Human Resources systems, and it quickly becomes unworkable for any sizable corporation to approach these processes and interactions asynchronously and expect to manage them efficiently or cost-effectively.
Total Visibility Requires a Unified Approach
Leading GCs, corporate legal, and compliance professionals require total visibility into their operations without the burden of asynchronously interacting with dozens of separate software packages and enterprise systems. Independent applications that don’t communicate with one another cannot provide the means to optimally manage and protect today’s world-class organizations.
The question that GCs and Chief Compliance Officers are increasingly asking is:
Can you provide me with a unified, holistic way of approaching legal and compliance functions?
The answer is:
Yes, if you deploy an integrated ELM technology platform, combined with an ecosystem that includes a strong third-party partner network.
An Integrated Legal Technology Platform is Key
By definition, ELM means integrating legal, compliance, risk-related, and other data and processes from across the enterprise to maximize operational efficiency in order to provide actionable insights that facilitate more informed legal and business decisions. This necessitates bringing together a network of technology providers that address the needs of the organization as a whole.
No longer consigned to mere legal matter management and eBilling, ELM solutions must be able to:
- Seamlessly connect with other legal and non-legal enterprise applications and data sources such as Accounts Payable, Contract Management, and Reporting solutions
- Keep up with changing regulations that affect the overall organization
- Manage their associated controls, policies, and procedures
These goals are best supported by a technology platform that enables companies to unite a variety of systems that manage and house data regarding legal, risk, and compliance activities on a single, secure, and collaborative framework.
This approach simplifies the way corporate professionals work and improves collaboration both among internal teams and with external service providers. It allows them to leverage data from across systems and departments to mitigate risk and more strategically manage legal matters and compliance, along with their associated costs.
Total cost of ownership (TCO) in other legal and GRC systems are thereby optimized, and an open architecture allows for rapid and cost-effective future expansion.
A Strong Partner Ecosystem Yields the Best Results
A truly integrated legal technology platform that supports and enables a holistic approach to ELM embraces third-party technology and service providers.
Numerous, effective point solutions are available for the legal and enterprise market. Rather than replicating and competing with existing best-in-class legal applications clients may demand or already have in house, ELM providers must be able to integrate existing applications effectively into an overall solution.
Forward-thinking corporate legal and compliance organizations seek an ELM platform that includes not only enterprise-class core legal and compliance applications, but also robust, open integration capabilities with packaged connectors to complementary third-party systems. This model supports a company’s unique current needs while providing the flexibility to accommodate future changes and growth. Incorporation of an extensive partner network provides the means by which companies can achieve the transparency they require across legal, compliance, and other enterprise functions.
Reduce Risk and Provide Competitive Advantage
Corporations whose legal and compliance departments deploy a holistic solution, whereby ELM technology seamlessly brings together key legal, compliance, and enterprise technology providers, are the most powerful, competitive companies in the marketplace.
This is because they no longer simply manage legal matters. Instead, they proactively mitigate risk, lower costs, and avoid legal issues before they even occur. These enterprises gain better insights into their operations and into the regulatory changes that affect them. They are best prepared to make quick, sound legal decisions about how to handle cases when they do arise.
A key participant in this ecosystem is, of course, the user of the ELM technology solution. Corporate compliance and legal teams and their in-house colleagues strive to meet their complex, day-to-day business goals and deliver the positive results that are demanded by successful organizations. This is best met with a cohesive, scalable ELM approach – a crucial element for today’s organizations to remain competitive and prosperous.
1Silva, Tom. “The Era of Big Data is Here.” The Blog. HuffPost Business, 18 Aug. 2012
2Grant Thornton. “In-House Counsel More Concerned About Regulators than Competitors, Customers.” Grant Thornton LLP, 7 May 2013.