Encouraging the adoption of legal tech solutions is a key hurdle in realizing their potential value. Contract management solutions, in particular, may not inspire the kind of hype they deserve given their massive time and cost saving potential and ability to drive revenue and growth! So, in this post, we’ll highlight what you can do to maximize adoption to ensure your investment in legal tech pays off.
A recent study by Clyde & Co found that a top reason for lack of adoption of legal tech was “difficulty in getting budget”. An earlier post on building a business case covered the key questions to be answered when seeking stakeholder buy-in and budgetary approval for contract management software. But what happens next — how do you make sure the people in your organization actually use the solution you hustled so hard for?
Legal tech adoption — defining the problem
With so many new digital tools and software solutions becoming available every day, it’s little wonder that the concept of “tech fatigue” is gaining momentum. At home and at work, people are understandably hesitant to download yet another app, create yet another account and incorporate yet another technology tool into their daily routine.
The key to successful adoption of legal tech is to choose a solution which 1) can deliver real value and 2) will be adopted with minimal friction.
This sounds simple in theory. In reality, it can be hard to pull off. To make it easier, we’ve broken these two factors down into concrete requirements and practical steps you can take to achieve full adoption of your legal tech solution.
Choosing legal tech which delivers real value
By choosing a legal tech solution which meets clearly defined user requirements you have overcome the most significant barrier to adoption. Combining this with an implementation strategy which compensates for inertia and a communications plan which resonates with your intended users will take it to the next level.
Clear user requirements
According to Business.com, despite the fact that 76% of employees acknowledge that technology has an influence on the way they work, for better or for worse, less than 50% feel that decision makers take their opinions into consideration when selecting IT solutions.
To avoid this perception among your team, it’s essential to take the time to identify and understand the pain points that you’re looking to solve before you decide on a particular technology tool. For example, when you’re considering an automated contract management solution, you’ll need to review the way contracts are currently handled within your organization.
How and by whom are they created, negotiated, amended, stored and monitored? What templates are available and how are they made available to the team? What are the main pain points connected to creating documents based on those templates? What are the actual costs and most significant risks associated with inefficient contract management processes to your business? Which individual people and teams in your organization are suffering as a result?
Research by the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management that 88 % of business users can’t understand their own company’s contracts and 83% find the process by which contracts are formed to be unhelpful. So by posing these questions, you’re likely to uncover plenty of issues!
The key message here is that having a clear picture of the user requirements is fundamental to choosing a legal tech solution which will deliver real value for your organization.
Despite the pain points you’ve identified, old habits can be comfortable. As a result, people are generally resistant to change — especially when it comes to adopting new tech solutions. But what to do when “the way we’ve always done it” just doesn’t do it anymore?
The work you’ve already done to review existing processes will provide insight into why users might be clinging to old systems. For example, if a particular solution has relevant functionality but requires users to make time in packed schedules for extensive user training, adoption rates will probably stall.
Equally, if a solution requires specialist IT skills or coding to incorporate into existing systems, you will struggle to achieve the envisaged uptake. To avoid these issues, you’ll need a plug and play solution that has an intuitive user interface and doesn’t require programming for setup.
Taking the time to understand your team’s issues and think laterally about how legal tech can help solve them will enable you to take target actions to address such obstacles and ultimately increase adoption.
Communicate the value for buy-in and engagement
Winning hearts and minds by clearly communicating the value of legal tech is a significant part of the battle for increased adoption.
Employees need to understand why [the new technology] is an improvement from what they had before.
In this battle, knowledge is power. So, once you have insights into the actual pain points you’re aiming to eliminate with legal tech, you’ll be much better equipped to both choose a solution which really does meet the needs of the users and communicate the benefits of the solution you’ve chosen in a compelling and impactful way.
The key here is emphasizing how the new technology benefits the organization and makes peoples’ lives easier. The message should be as specific as possible. To again take an automated contract management solution as an example, explaining to the HR team how it will enable them to onboard new hires faster and spend less time on manual document assembly, is a very compelling narrative.
On the flipside, the legal team will be most interested to hear how the solution will allow them to maintain control and promote compliance while also reducing manual tasks and workloads. To summarize, different departments, industries and roles have different drivers.
By tapping into how the specific features and benefits of your chosen solution align with these different motivations you can create more compelling communications.
No matter what type of legal tech you’re implementing, it’s important to be consistent and targeting in your messaging to make sure users understand the real value and return on investment that the new solution delivers.
Once you’ve landed on the legal tech solution that’s right for you and your team in terms of functionality, keeping any friction of actual implementation to a bare minimum is a must.
Ease of implementation
A Forrester Research report estimated that 70% of applications failed due to lack of user acceptance. In view of this, in this day and age, intuitive user experience with little or no training requirements is a prerequisite for most software solutions. Beyond this, it’s imperative to think through the process by which you and your team will actually get started with the new solution.
For example, how do you invite your team and set them up as new users? What is the login experience like? The specific aspects of implementation will vary depending on the nature of your business, industry and/or the actual solution.
In the case of automated contract management, the ease of converting existing templates and/or importing legacy contracts into the system is a key consideration. If you have a lot of existing contract templates you should confirm whether your chosen solution offers contract conversion service which will transform them for use with the new system.
Integration with existing systems
Central to minimizing friction in implementing a new legal tech solution is ease of integration with existing systems. For example, in the case of contract management, you should ensure that your chosen solution can be integrated into any enterprise resource planning (ERP) and/or customer relationship management (CRM) systems you already have in place.
It’s important to remember that one single legal tech product is may not be the solution to all of the pain points you’ve identified or have the capacity to interface with all existing systems relevant to your business.
That said, for more sophisticated legal tech solutions, you can usually discuss your specific use case and requirements with the vendor. These conversations can help you narrow down what level of integration is both necessary to meet your business needs and feasible from a technical perspective.
Ongoing vendor support
While frequently overlooked, choosing a legal tech provider which is there to provide accessible and holistic support should be central to your buying decision. Having a vendor which is available to provide support — especially during the initial setup process — will relieve much of the burden on you as the buyer to assist with new user adoption.
It’s an unfortunate reality that some software products (including legal tech) involve additional costs for setup, user training and other areas that are crucial for buy-in and adoption. Watch out for these when scoping out your options and make sure you will have the support you need before you launch.
If you’ve covered the above, you should be well on track to achieve optimal adoption. The following tips are extra tools you can use to demonstrate return on investment and ensure adoption rates are sustained beyond just the initial launch phase.
Define success before launch
Articulating exactly what successful implementation will look like is also a good idea. This should be defined in a way that’s both realistic and measurable.
For example, who will be the lead user of the system? Which teams will be the first adopters? And, how will the management team know when each phase of the rollout has been successfully completed and the level of anticipated adoption and impact realized?
This earlier post on building a business case for contract management software solutions steps through exactly how this might look for this specific category of legal tech.
Measure, measure, measure
Closely related to defining your idea of a successful implementation is the process of actually measuring the impact your legal tech solution is having to eliminate or reduce the pain points you identified prior to selecting it (see above) and ideally to enhance the bottom line of your organization.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
— Peter Drucker, ‘Founder of Modern Management’
This involves deciding on some key metrics, setting up a system for tracking them and using this data to determine if you’re meeting the levels of anticipated adoption you set before launch. In the case of contract management solutions, the metrics can include things like the number of active users, number of contracts generated per user, average time to signature etc.
Find and cultivate early adopters
In the early days of a new legal tech solution rollout, identify which people are most proactive in using the new tools and have successful early adopters share best practices. In the context of Precisely’s contract management software, these people are known as ‘contract champions’. They are an invaluable resource for feedback and can help build motivation among your broader team.
Based on the data you’ve collected to demonstrate successful adoption, share and celebrate wins brought about by the new solution team- and organization-wide. Tap into the experiences of your own champions to learn what’s working (and what’s not) with the new technology and adapt accordingly.
As technology continues to play a greater role in every aspect of our personal and professional lives, tech fatigue isn’t going to disappear. The key to driving adoption for legal tech solutions is putting people at the core of both the buying decision and implementation process.
This post has highlighted the steps you can take to make sure the legal tech solutions you choose will deliver real value to your organization. It has also given guidance on how to manage the rollout such that these new tools can be implemented by your team with minimal friction and maximum impact.
If you have any questions or would like to know a bit more about how to turn your team into contract champions with Precisely, please don’t hesitate to contact us!