Change - it's like a dirty word for many people. Take me for example - I've focused my entire professional career on helping law firms and global corporations introduce strategic, fundamental shifts in how they think about and run their businesses...and guess what? I don't like change anymore than anyone else - in fact, sometimes I can really resist it with the best of you!
But we all know the truth - change is constant, inevitable, and is required at an ever-accelerating pace as global economics push us all to innovate and be more agile.
Law Firm Executives Must Introduce Change
Law Firm executives know that changing how their law firms are run and managed is required to survive and thrive in the changed legal industry - but they live in fear of how the partners will react. See our whitepaper for our analysis of why process transformation is crucial to success in today's legal industry.
But..."consistent change" is easier than "different change". Sound like I'm speaking gibberish? Well, I'm not...here's what I mean.
If we can deliver change mechanisms to people in organizations in a 'familiar way', then the change becomes just another consistent expectation of what happens every day employees come to work. But, on the flip side, if every change we implement 'looks and feels' differently, then it is unfamiliar, unexpected and unwelcome.
This is especially crucial to get right when we are transforming business processes. Transformation of business processes means we are fundamentally shifting the way work is performed:
How Law Firm BPM Changes the Way Users Work
- Redistribution of work will occur as part of good process transformation. Inevitably, without process management, work 'falls' through the cracks and the wrong people end up doing the wrong work. When we introduce enterprise BPM, responsibility shifts will occur as work is put back onto the right resources.
- Accountability of work, and decisions, are emphasized (and enforced through auditing).
- Policies that were documented, but not really followed become embedded and enforced. And, when process transformation is ideated properly, business policy changes are likely to occur simultaneously.
That is the power of positive, transformational change - and that power can cause discomfort if every time you introduce a new process or 'tweak' an existing process it feels like a big jolt.
How We Mitigate the Fear of Change
We built our Law Business Management System platform for enterprise process transformation for law firms with the fundamental understanding that we need to empower law firms to continuously evolve their processes while allowing the users to have a consistent, familiar experience regardless of process or changes introduced. As a result, our customers experience accelerated process transformations (sometimes introducing dozens of new processes in a matter of a very short timeframe), while other law firms do one or two and then stagnate. Here are just a few key elements of LBMS that allow us to expedite transformation for our law firm customers:
- Modularity of an agile user interface means re-use over and over again. We don't use stilted forms to manage processes (they don't work!!) - we use modular screens that logically combine related information that feels 'natural' to end users. These 'user interface modules' can be mixed / matched together in different groupings based on the particular work being performed or decision made. AND, these same screens will appear over and over again in different processes. This means that what the user saw in your New Business Intake process will be seen by them again inside your client/matter change processes. Different processes, different business drivers - familiar experience.
- Cradle-to-Grave Lifecycle Management - LBMS embeds full lifecycle management of anything - and from the day we start and onward users understand that all processes are going to look and feel the same. Whether Lateral Hire, New Business Intake, ad hoc Rate Exception requests, Matter Staffing Changes, Employee Onboarding, Payroll and Benefits Updates, Attorney Promotions - whatever. It doesn't matter - it always looks and feels exactly the same. Very little new learning required.
- Same Law Firm Aware Security Infrastructure - LBMS' 'law firm aware' security infrastructure envelopes every application and process implemented inside the platform. There aren't different security models and considerations that have to be understood and managed across different applications or workflow processes - they are all simply applications of a single security framework. End users understand this once, and we're off to the races. IT manages it in one place, for one platform, not multiple. Business requirements for new processes or process changes are consistent and move quickly - as security is a 'known', not something that has to be discussed, re-discussed over and over again.
Change causes pain in law firms when each change comes in the form of a new application or each new process transformation doesn't look or feel like the last one. This slows user adoption, eats away at firm investments, and bogs down your law firm when what you really need is agility.
Success comes when "Consistent change" starts to feel like the every-day...and it can and does work!