Unlocking the Power of Connected Data: Helping Your Firm Evolve Along the Insight-to-Action Continuum

Professional and financial services firms have more data than ever at their disposal, but deriving meaningful insights from that data — and converting knowledge into action — is easier said than done. The growing recognition of connected data acknowledges that the historical division of data across business functions prevents firms from succeeding in today’s competitive marketplace.

Firms can recognize optimal value when they understand their own data in relation to data from other sources. For instance, visibility of prior budgets, plans, and profitability metrics coupled with the auto-population of experience data at client intake improves the accuracy of pitches and proposals while also showcasing the most relevant talent and expertise. Put simply, a single dataset by itself offers finite value. When connected and analyzed with other sources, data’s value is infinite.

It’s no surprise, then, that in our Legal Pulse Survey, firms highlighted connected data as a top strategic priority. Despite this, 45% of respondents reported challenges in relation to siloed data and misaligned information across systems. It’s clear that firms recognize the need for action, but there is still some way to go before they are able to unlock the potential value of a connected data environment.

What is Connected Data?

For years, professional and financial services firms have invested in siloed technology in an attempt to augment business functions in their respective roles. The proliferation of applications and data repositories has created an enormous volume of data, but any possibility of insights is typically locked in functional silos and isolated from the rest of the organization.

As a result, most firms lack a single place to manage operational data. Duplicate data entry points and difficulty keeping data in sync ultimately contribute to an impoverished experience for both professionals and clients.

Firms face the challenge of shifting from fragmented data sets to a connected data environment — one where firmwide information is unified and accessible across all systems. Enticed by the promise of valuable business insights, firms in other industries have invested in big-data technologies. But this type of investment alone can’t preserve or reveal the relationships between data points.

Based on our extensive experience, we find a three-stage process helps break down functional silos and unlock the true potential of connected data:

  1. Enable connected firm processes by unifying core data into a single source of truth.
  2. Enhance decision-making by creating an AI-powered data cloud.
  3. Achieve firmwide goals by sharing data across the organization.

This approach is underpinned by connected processes across the client engagement lifecycle that ensure the right data is captured at the right time, supplemented by a robust data-management and governance framework to maintain a continuous stream of trustworthy and reliable data that drives actionable insights.

Why Connected Data Matters

In a recent article, we explained why connected firm insights should be among your top technology priorities to help accelerate growth and increase profitability. By ensuring the synchronization of changes and updates to client information across all solutions that support your client engagement lifecycle, your firm will be poised to reap substantial benefits.

  1. Intelligent decision-making: Building a comprehensive, 360-degree view of clients by effectively aggregating rich data sources helps empower professionals to make smarter, real-time decisions. Lead relationship partners, for example, require commercial insights to meaningfully and strategically engage with clients while also driving profitable revenue growth.
  2. Enhanced client experience: Keeping pace with ever-evolving client expectations — from unified billing to terms-compliant timecard narratives — requires a deep understanding of the various facets of the end-to-end client experience. Connected data provides greater visibility into every touchpoint across the client journey, thereby helping you personalize interactions, strengthen relationships, and bridge the gap between client experience and expectations.
  3. Improved collaboration: Professionals armed with the right insights are more likely to collaborate with other stakeholders — different departments, clients, and even competitors — to achieve the best business outcome.
  4. Better risk management: Professionals can more easily consume and analyze connected data to preempt potential red flags. For example, risk-aware targeting provides early warnings of potential conflicts, and pitch-in-progress alerts keep account teams abreast of the latest insights pertinent to clients.
  5. Greater employee satisfaction: Modern professionals — particularly those in senior positions —increasingly suggest they would happily trade some of their compensation for improved work-life balance. Intelligent automation, powered by a robust data strategy, can help boost productivity and afford your staff the personal time they crave.

Connected Data Is the Currency of the Future

The acceleration of digital transformation means we’re already living in a connected world, and that’s only going to become more true. As professional and financial services firms continue to find new ways to create value using data, expect to see data emerge as a recognized asset — a form of currency in an increasingly digital business environment.

Ultimately, firm leaders will do well to remember that data, on its own, does not equal intelligence. A connected data environment enables a more seamless transition of information throughout the client engagement lifecycle, providing real-time access to key information and insights that inform better decision-making. Storing and connecting data is one thing, but being able to shape data into insights is something else entirely.

Business leaders bear the responsibility to sponsor and elevate the data conversation from operational teams to boardroom discussions, ensuring the appropriate investments, resources, and support are made available to achieve the connected firm vision.

Learn more about how Intapp Strategic Consulting helps IT, innovation, and digital leaders at preeminent firms.

Get in touch for more details on putting the power of a connected data environment to work for your firm. 

Written by:

Madaser Yousaf

Director, Strategic Consulting

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Jack Hackney

Senior Consultant, Strategic Consulting

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Sonali Verghese

Consultant, Strategic Consulting

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