One Plus One Equals One: Integrating Software and Services to Deliver a One-Stop Solution
March 27, 2023
If I were to generate a word cloud of all my conversations with Legal Operations and business leaders over the last year, the most prominent words would be ‘technology’ and ‘automation’ – little surprise, as these two words have led such conversations for over a decade. However, one change emerged in the past 12 months: how companies view technology and automation. Once a luxury available only to those with ample budgets (analogous to people who are able every year to buy the latest iPhone), legal ops technology – specifically, software – has become a must-have (just as everyone now has some type of smartphone).
Beyond my conversations, this shift has become apparent in my work with law organisations. For over a decade, I have worked closely with law departments to provide services from invoice review and eBilling support to assistance in redesigning their entire legal strategy. I have seen how these organisations approach legal technology and automation through my work.
The Shift to the One-Stop Paradigm
For years, our services have centered on software – for example, leveraging a company’s existing eBilling system or building workflows using a customer’s workflow automation software. This meant that our solutions required a customer first to invest (read: spend) significant money in technology. It was as if we were happy to mow your lawn, but you needed to supply the lawn mower.
This paradigm is beginning to change – and our customers are reaping the benefits. Before, not only were customers required to provide the lawn mower, but if the lawn mower broke down or needed adjustment, that was beyond our capabilities, and our customers had to take it to a different business. As you can imagine, the customer suffered from this arrangement.
The inconveniences of this approach are no more. Elevate offers customers a ‘one-stop’ solution that delivers technology, the Elevate ELM, and services as an integrated solution. This makes things simpler and easier for our customers to work and resolve business of law matters with one partner.
Our customers have found the greatest benefits from two components of our ELM integrated with our services: Manage Requests and Manage Billing.
Our customers have found Manage Requests to be a powerful tool with multiple benefits. It provides a streamlined system for handling all queries as tickets. This approach eliminates the errors and delays from email inbox overload, such as miscategorising an email or missing it altogether.
A crucial benefit of Manage Requests is the metrics it provides, especially the volume of inquiries and resolution times. Manage Requests requires users to complete key fields (customisable to the customer’s needs) when initiating a request. This eliminates the slew of emails seeking essential information inevitable in workflows that rely on email. Because Manage Requests obtains all the required information at the start of the process, the Elevate team managing the requests function can quickly assign tickets to the appropriate Elevater.
Not only that, Manage Requests makes reporting easy to generate reports (monthly, quarterly, annually, or for whatever period you like) that detail critical metrics like how many inquiries were for appeals, deduction questions, etc. Law department leaders can then identify areas for improvement at the earliest stage and then adjust processes and workflows to achieve maximum efficiency.
Elevate’s Manage Requests also facilitates quick communication between the customer, its law firms, and our invoice review team. All of them can complete ‘gating’ activities (e.g., resolving questions, completing invoice appeals, and escalating issues to in-house counsel) much faster.
…and Managing Billing
This brings us to Manage Billing. Manage Billing synthesises our e-billing system and our bill review program. The software provides customers and their law firms with a user-friendly interface to submit, review, and authorise payment for invoices – which, for a large law department, can number in the hundreds each month. By consolidating all invoices into a single system, customers gain efficiency, speed, and real-time tracking and analysis of legal spend. Our approach eliminates having to pass along invoices from one system to another, which requires the time-consuming chore of downloading them from one system and then uploading them to another. Using Manage Billing eliminates the opportunity for human error and expedites the delivery of the invoices for payment to the customer.
Manage Billing’s design also provides a user-friendly and fully-customisable module for deductions that enables same-day modifications. Contrast this with the past, when customisations required a customer to go to another shop to request a modification. Often, the request then took the back place in a long queue of earlier requests from other companies – and there was no guarantee a particular vendor could deliver the modification a company sought. The ease and breadth of the Manage Billing’s customisation capability sharply contrast with how things used to be – and this makes our customers (and Elevate team members) very happy!
Looking ahead, I expect technology and automation to continue to dominate my conversations with legal operations leaders. As increasing numbers of customers adopt Elevate’s Manage Requests and Manage Billing, I’m excited to see them reap the benefits of the combination of our software and services.
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