Generating company-wide buy-in when moving to a single source of truth legal-tech solution is a bit like dancing, and it's more Foxtrot - slow, slow, quick, quick, slow - than Tango. It's one thing for you and your team to love it, with everyone working toward building out best-practice use cases for this new product, it's quite another to sell it to the other business functions.
The fact that other business functions are slow to adopt legal-tech systems means users such as Devin Jensen find themselves spending disproportionate amounts of time dragged back to a process they are trying to abandon. Theirs is not an uncommon experience. For instance, if we consider the adoption curve, by implementing a legal-tech solution you have become in essence an innovator within your own company. Which means you’ve still got the early adopters, the majority, as well as the laggards to onboard.
A key part of helping your company move along this curve is careful iteration, not only to make a solution that works in the best possible way for your team, but one which is modular and works synergistically with other business functions.
It is also important to acknowledge that iteration isn’t a one-and-done process. It is about taking small wins and increases in productivity and building slowly. Any improvement is always better than none, an approach Jensen supports. “We’re on our third iteration. We’re in Q4 and have already had two other iterations. One of the best things I’ve found with the legal-tech system we use is we can do a lot of that iteration in-house. It gives a little more control to the legal group and means we don’t have to go to IT.”
Having molded your product to your company and team, it is now time to build toward having majority buy-in of your new process. For instance, with a product such as LawVu you could use the knowledge-base section to help other business functions populate NDAs on their own, thus giving them a degree of ownership of some of the less complex legal issues. This creates a connection between the other business functions and your solution, and the meaningful engagement illustrates the potential of your solution and will also help to generate buy-in. Additionally, there is the hidden benefit of enabling you and your team to focus on higher complexity tasks, while getting out of the way for the simpler ones.
There is always back and forth between best practice and pragmatism, and in an ideal world everyone would adopt the solution right away. However, sometimes it is best to pick your battles or choose your wins. For instance, it might be best to focus on integrating high-volume users into the solution while allowing the remainder of the business to buy-in naturally with soft transitions.
If you are looking for a more immediate transition, you can be firmer with your approach. For example, you could reply to email requests stating that you will respond to their request in the legal workspace. This forces users to engage more with the solution and might help them to encode it as part of their ordinary workflow.
Whether you allow the transition to happen slowly or hit the ground running, getting as many people as possible into your solution will depend entirely on your team and company. Regardless of your approach, the better you illustrate the value-add potential of a solution the more readily people will onboard themselves.
Ultimately, the increases in efficacy and efficiency from shifting to a single source of truth will increase the connectedness of a legal function within a business and result in the legal function contributing much more value. And as anyone will attest, more efficiency means more time to spend on high-value work, which will please both business and counsel.