The Need for a Data Platform to Improve Law Firm Business + Practice
A Briefing written for Foundation Software Group
I have long been a fan of Foundation Software Group. I remember seeing their platform with a consulting colleague the first time in 2016. One of our clients showed it to us. We were not only impressed by the functionality and design, we were shocked.
I say shocked because between my blogging and Tweeting and my colleague’s connections to law firms, we could not understand how we were seeing enterprise grade software for the first time — that we had not heard of it previously. We didn’t understand how software so obviously robust could come to market without us having known about it sooner. That goes to the company’s philosophy of deliver, then discuss.
Foundation is widely known in legal circles for its comprehensive approach to experience management. But they explain their platform as something more – firm intelligence. Barry Solomon, Executive Vice President at the company, spent some time this spring showing me Foundation and talking about firm intelligence. But, it’s a broad topic. I needed more than a demo to wrap my head around the concept. It seemed to me that law firms could use a deeper dive and explanation too.
Long story short, they contracted me to learn more about the topic and the platform, talk to Foundation customers, and write about what I found. The result is a briefing paper, available here.
As mentioned, I’m not new to Foundation. I met several of the people at the company in 2016, including Nate Fineberg, Co-founder and CEO, and became friendly with them. In 2017, I wrote a blog post for ILTA, A New Era of Managing and Finding Experience in Large Law Firms, which discussed new and improved approaches to experience management. Since that blog post, I have regularly stayed in touch with the company.
The briefing paper incorporates several calls with the company and, more importantly, interviews with six customers. Of course, these were not the first customers with whom I had spoken. In my consulting work I regularly talked to clients about Foundation, including some of the earliest ones, during the course of a range of engagements. And even for the one year I was at LAC Group, I both stayed in touch with KM and marketing friends who are Foundation users and talked to Foundation about some potential business together. What I’m saying is that I came into writing the briefing reasonably well educated about the product and company. Consequently, the customer calls I made were very focused and productive. If you read the briefing, you will see multiple quotes (no attributions).
What the customers shared were several different takes on firm intelligence, each highlighting the many ways it’s made an impact at their firms. Many started with a single or small set of use cases, then built on their successes over time. But all customers shared three common themes:
- The need to bring together silos of firm information to answer pressing firm questions
- The lack of contextual data to make the process of searching for, understanding, and utilizing information repeatable and scalable
- The understanding that if they could solve for the first two issues above, they’d be able to make substantive gains across the matter and client lifecycles, including increasing profits and improving client service
The briefing examines the data platform approach in detail, with emphasis on how firms use and benefit from firm intelligence. Check out the full customer briefing here.
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