Season 2 Episode 3
Welcome to Season 2 of the Law Firm Data Governance podcast, the data governance companion for law firm leaders who want to know more about implementing and improving data governance. Each week I’ll help you with your law firm’s data governance initiative by sharing something I’ve learned in my 20-plus years of working with information and data in law firms.
Over this season, I’ll explore law firm drivers for data governance and the benefits of data governance. So whether you’re making the business case to create your data governance capability or getting some support to get started with data governance, I hope this season helps set you up for success.
Law firms recognise that their clients are their most significant asset but find it complicated to get their arms around the data available to them to help them better support clients and improve their development and targeting of services.
In this episode, I will explore how data governance helps law firms better understand their clients.
Law Firm Data Governance Podcast
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Welcome to season two of the law firm Data Governance Podcast.
I’m CJ Anderson, founder of Iron Carrot, and I’m thrilled to be back with another season of the data governance Companion for law firm leaders, who want to know more about implementing and improving data governance. Each week, I’ll help you with your law firm’s data governance initiative by sharing something that I’ve learned in my 20-plus years of working with information and data in law firms.
Over this season, I’ll explore a law firms drivers for and the benefits of data governance. So whether you’re making the business case to create your data governance capability or you’re making the business case to get some help to get started with data governance, I hope that this season helps to set you up for success. This is episode three in season two of the law firm Data Governance Podcast.
In this episode I will explore how data governance helps law firms better understand their clients. Your law firm no doubt has big goals for improving the client experience through data innovation and digital transformation. Law firms recognise that their clients are their most significant asset, but find it complicated to get their arms around the data available to them, to help better support clients and to improve their development and targeting of services.
This is frustrating to everyone because law firms already have the people, processes, skills and knowledge to implement data governance. Unfortunately these things, like the client data itself, are often found in pieces across different business services or operational teams. Many law firms struggle with a lack of data maturity and alignment gaps between their strategic goals and the siloed reality of their data landscape. It’s not surprising then, that having a better understanding of clients is one of the most frequently articulated benefits of law firm data governance.
You can often find it in a business case to start a data governance initiative or to create a law firm data governance capability. ‘Centre of Excellence’ as it’s sometimes called. Data governance can help create a better picture of all the internal data held about a client by making it easier to find all the information about a client across the firms systems.
The picture that data governance draws can help with data privacy considerations and adds a new dimension to client relationship analysis. It can help to tell the story of the clients experiences with the firm and to provide new datasets to enhance the study of the firm’s relationships with particular clients. Most firms are already capturing and analysing a lot of external data about their clients from purchased resources. Things like Dun and Bradstreet or Bureau van Dijk, Thomson Reuters, Lexus and so on.
The business development and finance teams also collect and publish internal data about these clients. Client data is an area of data that creates interest, if not excitement, across the senior stakeholders, partners and business services C-Suite. They can see a direct link between governing that client data and improving the firm’s profitability. So what can data governance do to make client data more beneficial and helpful to the teams that want to understand the firm’s clients better?
It ensures that the important client data has owners who are accountable for it and that it has stewards who are responsible for managing it. This increases the quality of the data and therefore the trust that users have in the decisions that they are making from it. Data governance ensures that everyone is using the same and the correct authoritative sources of data and that the calculations for metrics are being done in a consistent way.
No more confusion about whether or not the billing for a particular matter has been included in an industry sector calculation.
Data governance also facilitates the education and support of the teams that manage the data and of the teams that use it. In the academic books, you’ll find this topic called Data Literacy. Also in articles, videos and podcasts. But this label isn’t commonly used outside of data governance teams in law firms. The more that teams who manage and use data know about each others work, the use cases for client data reporting, for analytics, and so on, the more they will help each other out, by ensuring that the quality data is available to the people who need it. It also ensures that there is a feedback loop to continuously improve the firms data for the people who are working with it.
Data governance can also help teams speak the same language by putting a data glossary in place and helping codify the firms taxonomy so that the majority of the firm’s core systems are using the same reference lists. For example, lists of offices, practices, industry sectors, work or matter types and so on. Finally, data governance makes sure that all of these resources and rules are communicated and easily accessible to the people who need them. So that new use cases for datasets can be addressed quickly and compliantly with all of the relevant stakeholders kept in the loop.
So to summarise this episode; law firms recognise that their clients are their most significant asset. But can benefit from data governance to help them leverage that asset using data. This data can come from internal datasets like the client relationship management system or from external sources. The key benefit to the firm is peoples trust in the data increases, and in the ability to surface and combine client data in new and compliant ways. Helping make business development and product development decisions. As well as the ability to know who to talk to about each data set.
Thank you for joining me for this law firm Data Governance Podcast episode. I hope you enjoyed it. Please share like and review this episode so that more law firm leaders can learn about data governance and how it can help their law firm.
Join me next time for episode four: Lowering data management costs. Make sure you never miss an episode by following Iron Carrot on social media if you’ve not already done so, and please get in touch if you’ve got questions or topic ideas for future episodes.