This is the second in a two-part series on the key considerations when selecting an e-Billing and Matter Management solution. Part 1 focused on product capabilities - in this post I will switch gears a bit to talk about evaluating technology providers.

In recent years the number of technology providers in the matter and spend management market has grown. When comparing the systems they offer, it is important to include the providers themselves in your evaluation criteria as they can have a significant impact on the value you realize based on a number of considerations.

Solution Options

A provider with a deep understanding of legal operations and management will demonstrate a commitment to the industry by offering multiple options and allowing you to base your selections on your organization’s needs. Ideally, they should offer a choice between an on-premise, “behind the firewall” solution, which allows you full control, and a cloud-based, hosted solution, which is normally easier to implement and requires less IT support.

Data Security

Be sure that the provider you select takes data security as seriously as you do. Ask about how client data is secured and managed and to what degree it is independently validated by third-party audit assessments. For example, do they undergo annual SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 audits? Do they have ISO 27001 certification for information security management? What other measures do they take to ensure client data security? This will give you confidence in the rigor of your data protection and security.

Implementation and Training

Consider how the provider oversees the successful rollout of new technology. Key to this is their implementation methodology and use of pre-configured functionality and features. And an effective training program is critical to good user adoption, which is necessary for the successful enforcement of processes as well as ROI realization. Also, find out how they support onboarding and training for legal service providers.

Ongoing service and support beyond go-live is also incredibly important. You’ll want to know what to do when you have questions and how to reach someone. Be sure you understand the service level agreement as it is your service contract with the provider.

Roadmap and Innovation

Seek a provider who can be a true partner with you, whose focus is aligned with your business needs. Make sure their roadmap supports your planned requirements, and that they offer opportunities for clients to provide input to the roadmap process. Get an understanding of the provider’s approach to product development, how they work with clients to gather input and ideas into their product plans, and how requirements are prioritized.

Look at key analyst reports and reviews – there are several that follow the enterprise legal management (ELM) industry, including Hyperion, and Gartner.  These are excellent sources of objective and unbiased review. 

Expertise

Providers should be able to point to proven successes in your industry. Look for a combination of financial viability, staying power, innovation, and thought leadership. Does the provider demonstrate strong industry knowledge and team members with extensive experience? Look at the company’s financial health and stability – you can find annual reports on company websites. Consider whether the provider is likely to be acquired, and if so, how that will impact its commitment to current products. Solid providers are a great source of knowledge and insight and are often invited to participate as speakers on panels, or host sessions on relevant topics.

Total Cost of Ownership and ROI

Matter and spend technology is an investment for your company and you want to be sure you make a good decision. Being able to articulate the ROI will help to define why new or upgraded technology is needed and to financially justify the investment. 

To compute true return on investment, you have to first identify hard-dollar costs associated with implementing the solution, then understand the benefit or the savings realized by introducing the technology to your operation. Our white paper, Building the Business Case for an Enterprise Legal Management System, can provide specific information on how to do this.

In combination with the technology considerations I wrote about in part one of this post, taking into account these areas of technology provider differentiation will help you to select the solution that best meets your needs and provides the most value.

Read about how Passport® Pro and TyMetrix® 360° can help you streamline matter and spend management while providing improved insight for better decision-making. 


About The Author

Kevin Caulfield

Kevin brings close to 20 years of product management, operations and software leadership experience in the enterprise and consumer markets. He is responsible for driving and leading product strategy and the discovery and validation of market needs and opportunities for the Passport ® and TyMetrix ® 360° product lines. Kevin holds an MBA from Boston University.