• Financial Services
  • Professional Services

Smarter Pricing and Matter Lifecycle Management: Lessons from Your Smartwatch

Technology Drives Proactive Lifestyle Choices

Thanks to advances in wearable technologies, people from all over the world are taking part in a digital health revolution. In the past, we needed a full physical exam to assess our bill of health, but wearable tech such as the Apple Watch allows people to track health indicators — like activity level, heart rate, and ambient noise — far more regularly and seamlessly.

Smartwatches and activity trackers use active sensors to collect data from the wearer and compare the readings against ground-truth data. Through extensive research, valuable medical insights and patterns have been identified from the analysis of these large, anonymized data sets. Based on this information, wearers can be notified if their readings indicate a bigger medical problem looming.

Although we can’t — and shouldn’t — replace medical exams and professional advice with a consumer device, it’s clear that wearable tech has become a major, positive asset for wellness and fitness. When using wearable health devices, people are more likely to take proactive measures or seek medical help before their condition worsens or becomes untreatable. Wearable devices have surfaced many unknown health issues; lives have even been saved as a result of proactive measurement.

Lessons for Matter Lifecycle Management

We believe that the professional services industry — and matter lifecycle management, specifically — is on the cusp of a similar revolution. Matter lifecycle management, with its associated challenges of pricing, legal project management, financial management, and client satisfaction, presents much the same challenge as traditional healthcare: obtaining as much accurate information as quickly as possible.

A few prominent obstacles prevent firms from being fully efficient:

  • Teams are capable but constrained. Because pricing and legal project management are limited in capacity, they typically focus on large matters but are unable to contribute to smaller ones.
  • People cannot access certain information. A lot of knowledge and experience is siloed within pricing and legal project management teams, which prevents it from being easily or readily accessible to others who need it. Sharing detailed information — such as time worked versus time budgeted for key phases in a specific matter — can also be difficult, as it requires teams to crunch through a large volume of data on a near real-time basis.
  • Firms monitor matters infrequently. In the best cases, firms measure actual matter performance against matter budgets periodically during some (but not all) matters. Often, monitoring is not done frequently enough.
  • Data-driven teams face limitations. Pricing teams often rely on manual spreadsheets and don’t have capacity to support all practices and matters. Even when teams have access to technology, they must manually import data, or rely on data from old actuals, as points of reference.

It’s clear that pricing and legal project management teams need to manage matters more efficiently for the sake of their firms and clients. So what lessons can be applied from the world of digital health to the world of matter lifecycle management? What would the equivalent of a smartwatch be within this framework?

We believe that technology developed for matter management should have the following attributes.

  • Smart: The technology for matter lifecycle management should be capable of real-time analysis of the vast data sets related to matters that span across a multitude of matter characteristics, including phases, tasks, hours, narratives, and matter type.
  • Connected: All relevant matter management data — including experience data, existing relationships with named client stakeholders, cost rates, and utilization of named resources — should be aggregated to inform goals, such as delivering a great client experience at a desirable profit margin.
  • Always learning: Every new granular matter management data point (e.g., a new time entry) should be used to inform the matter management data model.
  • Zero-entry capture: Data must be seamlessly captured through the analysis of invisible indicators like open documents, applications in use, and matters assigned to the user. The technology must compare these newly captured data points to an analytics model in order to make real-time recommendations. Recommendations should be based on key aspects of the matter, such as the likelihood for budget overruns, the need to forewarn the client, and the appropriate individuals to staff the matter based on their experience and relationships.

We believe this matter management model is sustainable, and we embed this mindset in the way we continue to develop Intapp Operations & Finance. Unifying the capabilities of firms’ pricing teams with the scalability offered by Intapp solutions will allow you to deliver more matters at predictable commercial rates with improved client satisfaction.

For more information on assessing your firm’s needs in this space, please reach out to the Intapp Strategic Consulting team.