Can the legal sector afford not to lead the way in business process management?

Richard Silverstein, LexisNexis Head of Strategic Business Technology, reviews the Gapgemini Business Process Management Report.

The Global Business Process Management (BPM) Report has just been released by Capgemini.

The big news for UK businesses is that 44% of UK survey respondents anticipate that interest in BPM within their organization would increase within the next year, while 1 in 3 anticipate that their organization will launch a major BPM initiative in the same period.

How does this translate to legal business?

Cost efficiency, business agility, customer centricity and effective compliance are the business challenges as well as the business benefits a BPM implementation can bring to wide range of organisations. In the current turbulent economic climate these same challenges and benefits are particularly relevant to the legal sector.

The Capgemini report examines each of these challenges and reposts on how senior executives across the globe are planning for and using BPM to realise these benefits.

Cost efficiency

Now more than ever, lawyers are under pressure to do more for less with the resources that they have. Effective implementations of business process management initiatives can achieve significant efficiency gains. Gains come from automating the obvious such as client matter intake where virtually the entire process can be mechanised as well as providing the methodology and tools to analyze complex specialist work where significant efficiencies come from reconfiguring processes and partial automation.

Business agility

The legal services market is experiencing unprecedented change. Law firms and ABSs (Alternative Business Structures) need to be able to swiftly respond to new market demands and BPM can boost the ability to react to a changing market. According to the report, 1 in 3 UK businesses believe that their ability to react and change in response to the market will be an important driver of success.

Customer centricity

A LexisNexis report into business development practice in hard times showed that 25% of lawyers do not measure their client retention rate. Business process management can help law firms create a customer centric approach, winning more word-of-mouth and repeat business.

Effective compliance

In public companies, as many law firms and chambers may become, business processes can’t escape scrutiny. In addition, the new SRA (Solicitors Regulatory Authority) outcomes-focused compliance regime will require efficient lawyering. Effective process management can be vital to ensuring that lawyers aren’t bogged down in compliance administration and can focus on value-added work.

As a whole, the research indicates that knowledge of BPM in the UK is not as developed as more mature markets such as the US but the benefits it can bring are essential to operating and thriving in turbulent markets. With significant change rapidly unfolding with UK legal sector liberalization, can the legal sector afford not to rethink working practices and embrace strategies for change that adopting business process management can enable?

Filed Under: Practice of Law

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