The following is an excerpt of our viewpoint document The Keys to Successful BI for Law Firms.
Data-driven decisions based on reliable business intelligence (BI) can provide law firms with the quick, accurate answers they need to achieve success, but requires a big cultural shift and understanding how to turn data into knowledge. While BI adoption rates are increasing in law firms, it’s important you look at it like the strategic decision that it is.
If you are considering BI implementation, you have probably read about the high rate of failure. So just how high are we talking about? According to Gartner, the failure rate for new BI initiatives to meet enterprise objectives hovers around 70 percent, a dismal prospect for any organization with BI plans.
However, studies continue to prove that law firms using data consistently to drive decisions (i.e. evidence-based decision making), realize improved business performance and profitability. Data-driven decisions based on reliable law firm BI can provide law firms with the quick, accurate answers they need to achieve success.
The difference between success and failure often has to do with several key factors and “must haves” when selecting your BI tool:
- Data credibility. Often during implementation of BI systems, one of the first questions that the user community asks is “Why should I trust the data reported on the BI dashboards and reports?” This can be a valid concern. The following activities will ensure data is consistent and of high quality:
- Confirm the source for authenticity.
- Implement data cleansing routines to scrub any known source data issues.
- Incorporate accurate data transformation rules.
- Implement multiple levels of data validation during the loading process.
- While it is important that any legal BI solution can provide pivotal ways to review data and drill down to multiple levels, keeping the presentation of data simple means performance metrics are easily and quickly available so attorneys can make better decisions and not get lost in an overly complicated dashboard or report
- The Right BI tool. The wrong BI tool is one of the main reasons for failure. If attorneys or staff don’t like the chosen tool or find it cumbersome to use, they will revert back to the old way of doing things. It’s that simple.
- Staff Buy-In. Ease of use without sacrificing robust features, is one of the easiest ways to get staff “buy-in” and make those adoption rates soar. Without a doubt, user adoption is paramount. According to Wayne Eckerson, Founder and Principal Consultant of Eckerson Group he heralded user adoption as the “holy grail” of Business Intelligence. What he means is that when everyone in an organization is on board with BI, then the program is much more likely to produce the right results.
The right law firm dashboard gives attorneys insight into their business with data that they can quickly analyze in order to identify the health of and potential opportunities within segments of the firm. BI solutions must “think like a lawyer,” meaning that you can easily and intuitively compare profitability related metrics against key firm dimensions to learn more about: clients, matters, practice groups, departments, offices, timekeepers, matter arrangements, titles and more.
Following these four tips will keep you from ranking in the high, 70 percent failure rate for BI implementations. Selecting a BI tool that is simple and flexible, combined with staff buy-in and credible data will ensure high user adoption rates, a paramount factor in your BI success.
BigSquare is the leading provider of Business Intelligence for law firms and professional service organizations. We focus exclusively on law firm reporting, law firm BI, law firm profitability and law firm analytics.