What’s on the horizon?
According to the PwC’s Law Firms Survey, improving the use of technology remains one of the top three priorities for business support over the next 12 months. Standardising and centralising processes and improving legal service offerings are also right up there. So what’s on the tech horizon that might tick all three boxes? Robotic Process Automation (RPA). You’re not alone if that’s the answer you came up with. Gartner expects that by 2023, organisations will be relying on tools such RPA to run a full 25% more tasks autonomously and Deloitte project that RPA will hit nearly universal adoption in the business world over the next few years. Now is the time to get ready for the biggest transformation to workplaces in the near future.
What is RPA and what value does it provide?
So what is RPA? It’s a software-based technology where software robots replace human execution of business processes. Think of RPA as having digital employees. With the growing demands for quicker service provision at lower costs, RPA allows the legal sector to “do more with less”. Bots can tackle the large amount of bureaucratic processes that are inherently involved in law. What processes? Think client intake, template contract generation, conflict checking, conveyancing correspondences preparation, form filling, contract revisions, compliance checks, auditing, reporting, invoicing, downloading, searching and sorting data, extract and transfer of data to a CMS, submitting data to e-file portals and even, regular client queries. It’s a long list. Whilst bots are busy with the repetitive, manual and error-prone tasks, they reclaim time for employees to focus on clients and thus improve the client experience.
Improved efficiency and increased productivity are not the only advantages. RPA adopters are also seeing enhanced accuracy, timeliness, and operational flexibility. In terms of confidentiality, RPA bots don’t store information and in terms of reliability, they are available 24 hours a day – everyday.
Where should I start?
A huge advantage with RPA is that it doesn’t require changes to existing systems. However, you will be introducing an RPA technology to your organization and need to decide which best suits your needs. One option is RPA as a service – a highly scalable solution with a monthly fee that depends on bot usage.
You’ll also need to decide which processes to automate. Many RPA vendors offer automated process discovery to help with that. A conversation with vendor-agnostic automation experts is a good place to start.
The key thing is to reflect on the main function of automation in the legal industry – to release employees from the mundane tasks that don’t harness their creativity or professional skills leaving them free to focus directly on clients and reduce non billable time.