More haste, less speed
The Times this week (9 Feb 2017) talks about how law firms are adapting to the use of Artificial Intelligence for scale and competitive advantage. Take a look The Times: Adapting to Artificial Intelligence (registration may be required to view the full article).
Here at Virtual Operations, we have had a point of view on this topic for a while now, and this article bears it out. Law firms can indeed make use of AI (in the widest sense) to begin to automate work which requires access to data, scanning of case files, and gleaning patterns and insights in a considerably shorter time than human lawyers can. This, as The Times rightly points out, can free up people from mundane research work and allow them to spend more time working in areas which require human judgement.
We think, though, that companies, legal firms included, need to look closely at what they need to automate, and not to be too hasty to jump into expensive and dedicated AI tools. It is true that given time and financial resources, a law firm or any other firm, working closely with technology partners, can create a suite of AI applications to give both automation benefits and competitive advantages. But over time the market will shift alongside them and potentially leave legal companies high and dry.
Our view calls for agility, timing and independent partnering.
We have seen that law firms have been backward in moving to process mapping, shared service centres and transactional hubs so there is still a lot they could do to apply “simpler” automation tools to back office functions to reduce costs (HR, Finance) and to more transactional processes to extract relevant data, populate systems (especially after mergers when they have multiple case management and finance systems) so the lawyers work only with the pertinent data.
We believe that the thoughtful, yet rapid, deployment of agile intelligent process automation (IPA) tools can quickly achieve a high percentage of business benefit without the cost or risk of emerging tools.
Our recommendation in a price competitive market: work with the Pareto principle and achieve 80% of the gains with 20% of the effort by deploying agile IPA tools to quickly achieve business benefit, when they are ripe and ready. Too soon and you’ll soon be back at square 1. We’re here to help you decide where the 20% is in your organisation.
Source – The Times: Adapting to Artificial Intelligence (you may need a subscription to view the full article).