Creating the Connected Firm: Setting Up Teams for Success

On March 25, 2021, Intapp and Fireman & Company hosted “Creating the Connected Firm: Why Experience Matters,” the first in a series of industry roundtable discussions. Kieron Champion, Managing Director at Fireman & Company, and Gareth Thomas, Practice Group Leader at Intapp, explored the importance of building a connected firm, hiring the right people, and adopting strong governance, processes, and technology.

When attendees were polled about how easy it was for their firms to find and connect with colleagues beyond their immediate personal networks, most attendees ranked their firms in the middle of the pack. The majority of attendees also responded that their firms’ governance and processes weren’t very effective, and that their firms were slow to adopt new technology.

Lucy Dillon, Chief Knowledge Officer at Reed Smith, and Sadie Baron, Chief Marketing Officer at Reed Smith, joined the roundtable discussion to address these issues and provide expertise on how firms can set up their teams for success.

Building a Connected Firm

Work culture plays a significant role in how an organization functions and whether it’s successful. Acritas’ 2020 survey, Stellar Performance: A Survey of Stand-Out Talent, shows that organizations with strong consistency across offices and practices receive twice as many recommendations from clients. To assure consistency, firms must implement cultures that understand and value data, and invest in people, processes, and tools to establish the best client and matter teams. Using connected-firm management tools helps promote this type of culture because these tools help teams access and interpret data, closely collaborate with others, and work more efficiently on client matters.

Investing in the Right People

As reflected in a 2014 report from McKinsey & Company, How Customer Analytics Boosts Corporate Performance, data-driven firms are six times more likely to retain clients, 19 times more likely to be profitable, and 23 times more likely to acquire new clients — but only if those firms hire people with the appropriate experience for the best-fitting roles. Managers need to ensure that potential employees can perform all required aspects of their jobs. Just because a candidate is skilled at analyzing data, for example, doesn’t mean that person can successfully communicate those insights to others.  

“We need people who can take the data, understand it, and communicate it,” said Baron. “The one thing that we’re not short of is data; the thing that does challenge us is getting to the right piece of data and making it straightforward, clear, and concise — all the things that clients ask of us every day.”

Promoting Processes, Governance, and Technology

Because data quality and accuracy are essential to success, strong governance and process capabilities can help ensure that programs are providing the most accurate data and relevant insights as possible. Although technology can help promote strong governance, some people are still hesitant to adopt new systems. The 2019 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey shows that 36% of respondents feel they lack the proper knowledge or skills to successfully implement new technology; 34% experience organizational barriers to investing in technology, while 30% said they lack the funds or don’t see the return on investment.

Technology, however, is quickly becoming a necessity for firms that wish to remain competitive, helping firms to become more consistent —a strong demand from clients. For example, the Acritas survey revealed that 61% of clients believe their firms underperform in providing firmwide consistency.

“We need to find tools which will serve both business development and knowledge management,” said Dillion. “It’s important that we can track back to a single data source so that we’re not creating inconsistencies.” By investing in connected-firm management platforms, firms can maintain consistency, lower the chances of errors, and improve client trust and relationships.

Download the full recording to learn more about building a connected firm and stronger client relationships.

Written by

Gareth Thomas

Practice Group Leader, Marketing and Business Development

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