Season 2 Episode 7
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.
In this episode, I’ll talk about how data governance makes collaboration easier and why it’s one of the foundations of successful law firm Innovation.
Law Firm Data Governance Podcast
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Welcome to Season 2 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 firm’s 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 Season 2 episode 7 of the law firm Data Governance Podcast. In this episode, I’ll talk about how data governance makes collaboration easier and why it’s one of the foundations of successful law firm Innovation.
Making the link between data governance and collaboration is relatively simple. Data governance increases trust in the data itself and in the teams managing or leveraging it. This makes collaboration easier for these innovative teams. If you remember the definition of data governance that I talked about in season 1 episode 1, I explained that I think of data governance as a collection of practices, roles, standards and processes to help ensure the proper management of data assets within an organisation. This proper management ensures that high-quality data exists throughout the complete lifecycle of the data.
Data governance has the right roles accountabilities and responsibilities to support the firm’s people to better manage the firm’s data, which contributes to delivering the firm’s strategic goals. There are documents like standards and best practices that can also help, but fundamentally it is about the activities of people, namely how they work together cross-functionally. And it is this cross-functional cooperative working that improves the ability of these teams to work together to collaborate, to solve problems, and to improve processes. And deep down, that’s all innovation really is making things better by doing something differently. Most innovations come about as a result of a targeted effort to solve a pain point.
Innovation is one of those words that appears in pretty much every law firm strategy. In a lot of cases, firms have created dedicated centres of excellence for innovation. And these are focused at improving internal processes, in leveraging new technologies, and in making things better for both the firm’s lawyers and the firm’s clients.
The majority of these innovations have a data element to them, so having quality trusted data is critical to their success. But there is so much emphasis on the topic of innovation that it’s easy to include it in a business case for data governance initiatives without really giving much thought to what it will really mean for the firm in practice.
One of Icon Carrot’s clients called me in a slight panic and blurted out “How exactly does data governance support innovation anyway?”. Now, this wasn’t a question I was expecting, but I was thankfully prepared to answer it. The folks I was chatting with had included support for innovation as part of their business case to start working on the data governance initiative. And of course, this was the first thing that their senior stakeholders called out. They were asked to explain why it had been included and how exactly data governance supported innovation for the firm. This really shouldn’t have been a surprise to them, with most firms having innovations somewhere in their org structure and strategic plan. But stakeholders of course are going to pounce on that phrase wherever they see it.
For innovation to thrive, people need the autonomy to try and fail without fear. This autonomy includes being able to find and to use data for themselves. Of course, innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires people from many areas of the firm to work together. The majority of law firm innovations have a data element to them, so having quality trusted data is critical to the success of those initiatives. Data governance supports innovation by helping to tear down functional silos and democratising access to data using a shared language.
Data innovation is a natural consequence of high-quality data which is linked by a shared language. Analysts are then able to combine this higher-quality data in new ways to identify market opportunities or client pain points. Having a better understanding of the firm’s data through data governance also enables you to identify more opportunities for innovation. It is easier to identify the business-critical data sets and to focus efforts on continuously improving the management and usage of these data sets.
It is sometimes worth reminding your key stakeholders that the value of the data is as much about what you can do with the data as it is about the overhead costs of having that data in the first place.
To go back to the original question at the beginning of this episode: Data governance makes collaboration easier because data governance increases data quality and the trust in both the data and the teams who work with it.
Data governance is one of the foundations of successful law firm innovation because it helps to tear down functional silos and democratises access to data using a shared language. This creates a supportive environment for people to find solutions to problems. In other words, to innovate. This includes being able to self-serve the data they need to implement their innovative solutions.
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.
Join me next time for Episode 8: Accelerating digital transformation. 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 any questions or topic ideas for future episodes.