asb law, an innovative legal and consultancy firm, has embraced technology at the core of its business to facilitate an ambitious growth plan. Previous systems limited the firm’s understanding of what was happening in the business and were incapable of adapting to the changing needs of the practice. With the Peppermint platform now in place, the firm is already benefiting from improved process, automation and decision making, and is looking forward to exploiting the platform’s full potential.
Driving improved service delivery and new business growth
asb law viewed the Peppermint model as a holistic business change, rather than an IT project. The investment in Peppermint is all about supporting a transformation in how the firm operates. Built on the safe and future-proof industry platform, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the platform enables the business to deliver on its ambitions.
“We have moved away from a transactional approach to one that is constructed around the needs of our target clients. The Peppermint Technology platform is very much part of that shift as it provides a single shared view of the client. It enables us to understand our clients better through the recording and sharing of information across the organisation.
“We are also introducing a single operating model – the asb law way – and the Peppermint platform enables us to make that a reality. Clients want to know that we can deliver on time, to budget, and to an agreed quality standard – the fact that we can easily demonstrate that with data is very powerful.
“I would recommend Peppermint to any firm that is thinking about moving from a transactional model built around selling what it makes to one that is constructed around what its target clients need.”
Andrew Clinton, Partner, asb law
The potential for better collaboration with clients and other providers
Peppermint delivers a powerful technology platform with potential benefits in terms of a firm’s ability to collaborate with external stakeholders, including clients and other legal service providers. Workflow automation, data analysis and reporting capabilities mean it is easier to work seamlessly across organisational boundaries.
“The legal market is looking for client-centric technology with reporting and project management tools that are effectively entwined between the client and the law firm. Peppermint technology provides a solid platform for better collaboration with our clients. There is no reason why we cannot provide a solution to our larger clients that includes members of their organisation working on a shared platform with our lawyers.
“We are offering propositions to clients which are jointly constructed and delivered with other legal service providers. Putting in place a shared platform would avoid the need to use multiple systems and thereby reduces time and risk. The more innovative buyers in the market are making requests for collaborative offerings underpinned by technology.
“The legal industry needs to embrace technology and data analytics in order to deliver greater value to clients. Such tools will become key IP and competitive differentiators for law firms.”
Andrew Clinton, Partner, asb law
14 months from contract to live
Peppermint is live across the firm and is being used both as a sales tool in asb law’s five market segments: corporate counsel, mid corporates, aviation, real estate, and private client and as a delivery tool across the four service delivery teams: commercial client services, property services, corporate finance and private client services.
It took the firm just 14 months from contract signature to ‘go-live’. This included business process and service design, as well as the data migration, system design and implementation. The firm really benefited from the knowledge Peppermint was able to contribute from experience gained working on multiple projects over the last few years.
The firm has taken a phased approach to the project, starting with the introduction of standard Peppermint functionality across the firm. This allowed teams to embed and manage the change and cultural shift. In the second phase, asb law has developed the sales pipeline and dashboards and is introducing changes to support a CRM project. In due course, the firm plans to develop relationship analytics so it has a clearer understanding of the value and strength of a client relationship on a more intricate level, including client margins and the cost of developing relationships.
“Law firm performance management systems need to move beyond counting the number of chargeable hours recorded and reporting on lagging financial measures. Our old system could do that, but it struggled to provide us with meaningful data that enabled us to create value in the firm over the longer term. Peppermint supports a real-time data environment where you can extract information into various dashboards and reports. Each year, as well as reporting on lagging financial measures we ask ourselves, “if we had a share price would it have increased?” The implementation of a single technology platform that is scalable has been a significant contributor in terms of increasing our share price.”
Andrew Clinton, Partner, asb law
Secret of Success
There are many factors that helped asb law deliver a successful project but their advice to other firms would be:
1. Project governance – appoint a senior internal project sponsor. In the case of asb law, a Peppermint board was formed which met monthly. That board appointed finance director, Nick Lakhani, as the project sponsor. He had clear accountability for successful delivery of the project from start to finish. This clarity and senior level of support ensured that resourcing and other important decisions were given the right priority. It takes commitment and time, but the potential for the business is so great that no leadership team can afford not to embrace this project from the top.
2. Invest in champions. asb law invested in 8 champions from across all areas of the business, reflecting a variety of roles, to support critical process analysis and testing. Involving people who use this system, at every stage of the project, ensures the system is optimised for its purpose. It also helps the process of getting teams and people to buy into change.
3. Control project scope. Keeping the scope of the project narrow at the start allowed the firm to focus its efforts whilst maintaining business as usual. A phased approach helped staff to adapt to the changes. Employees were more likely to engage with the system and became involved in suggesting improvements for the next phase developments.
4. Use external experts. Businesses don’t embark on this type of project often – so it made sense to engage experts with the appropriate expertise. asb law engaged Colin Morris Associates to support the entire process and helped the firm navigate around potentially costly mistakes.
“The champion process was absolutely vital for us. As a team, we worked on the challenges together, created and tested efficient end-to-end processes, developed best practices and customised Peppermint for the firm’s future needs. I would highly recommend this process to other law firms. Peppermint will revolutionise the way we work long-term.”
Nikki Ashfield, Corporate Lawyer and Peppermint Champion, asb law
The effective application of technology is crucial in today’s competitive legal landscape. Law firms need to find ways to differentiate and practice efficiencies and consistent service delivery are, quite rightly, minimum expectations for clients. While Peppermint has already delivered real value back to asb law, the journey has only just begun, as the firm progresses through its next phases and examines ways to evolve its sales and service delivery processes.
For further information visit the Peppermint website: www.pepperminttechnology.co.uk