As you might have read recently in Joe Kanka’s blog, corporate legal departments are unique. In addition to having to manage legal matters, they are business units with their very own missions, goals, objectives and budgets. They cater to multiple stakeholders, work closely with information technology departments and strive for proactive processes. Corporate legal departments need to demonstrate value to their larger organizations, which require them to constantly consider the business implications of legal issues.
In speaking with leaders of corporate legal departments on how best to achieve their business objectives, they often pause a bit when I mention subscription-based services. With the business considerations at the forefront of their minds, in house professions sometimes feel that they are going to be “trapped” into a rigid structure with no options.
While that fear is understandable, a quality managed services provider, which offers subscription-based pricing, will arrange its services like a buffet at a restaurant – clients select from a wide variety of choices, taking as much or as little as they need or want.
Managed services should not be five specific, complete meals. Clients should be able to make their own plate based on their unique, specific needs.
As a consulting and testifying expert in electronic discovery and a former litigation partner at a national law firm, I disliked it when providers came to me with a solution that was based only around their technology solution or their philosophy on how something should be done. I was responsible for coming up with customized solutions for our firm’s clients – each of which had very diverse investigation or litigation needs requiring robust solutions.
Subscription-based services should be completely customizable based on client needs. Let’s revisit that buffet metaphor: there are many services across the EDRM spectrum, including information governance consulting, legal hold management, eDiscovery processing, long term hosting and storage, legal staffing, managed review, and government productions. In order to provide the right services to a corporate legal department, one must discern their specific requirements and where their “pain points” exist, and then build a custom solution for the client.
eTERA’s motto is “built by the clients, for the clients.” I believe this is the right way to build a proper solution that will truly fulfill a client’s need.
Let’s look at a few examples of successful subscription-based service implementations.
A financial services company already had an eDiscovery consulting group that handled the creation and enforcement of its eDiscovery manuals and SOPs. It did self-collection for all of its forensic work, but it wanted to decrease its processing/hosting spend by at least 30% and find a better solution for its managed review.
A pharmaceutical company needed help with its collection and processing, but handled all of its own reviews.
An energy company wanted help with its eDiscovery manuals and legal hold management, but wanted to remain with its current processing/hosting provider.
Under a rigid subscription-based service model, these diverse, complex and robust requests would be too difficult to fit into pre-planned, structured formats.
In order to truly fill the variety of client needs in the above examples, a nimble, flexible provider was required, which offered customized solutions with specific, targeted solutions. Prices included the option of multi-year solutions so data could be re-used and rolled over to the next year. Pricing was simple enough to be a single line item, with the ease of properly splitting between various business units for easy billing.
To me, subscription-based services should bring flexibility, customization and a total understanding of a client’s true needs, rather than rigid solutions that do not allow clients to meet their business requirements.