Coca-Cola Enterprises’ (CCE’s) European in-house legal team has formalised a five-year strategy plan in which the first step will be to look at what technology is available in the market to help it stay ahead of the competition.

The strategy plan follows a consultation with leading legal management consultants Jomati over what the future of the in-house market in Europe will look like in five years’ time in conjunction with research by CCE’s own legal team.

One of the conclusions of that report was that there will be an increased use of technology in the delivery of legal services in the next five-to-ten years. Vice president, legal and company secretary Paul van Reesch said: “With the ‘more for less’ culture not going away, the question is how do we maximise the personal growth of our people and leverage technology to do more with the resources we have.”

As a result, the CCE team, which is responsible for the European manufacturing, distribution and consumer-facing business of Coca-Cola, has updated its five-year plan around three pillars: how to use technology to stay ahead; how to enable staff to fulfil their career ambitions; and how the change in the wider environment will affect the way they work.

The first pillar will include looking at what technology is available to usher in greater efficiency and help flatten out the peaks and troughs in workflow experienced by many in-house legal teams. Van Reesch said: “We are using technology to leverage our fixed resources. We want to make choices about how we maximise the impact we make and use technology to automate/enable others to do the stuff that it doesn’t make sense for us to do. “You can use technology to flatten out the peaks and troughs so you are focussing on the core business.”

This is not the first time that the CCE European legal team has signalled its willingness to invest in technology. Earlier this year it entered into a sizeable document automation deal with cloud-based contract management software company Novatus across Europe.

The in-house legal team, which is 30-strong across Europe, will now automate repeat contracts including sponsorship contracts, trading contracts and non-disclosure agreements, including introducing electronic signatures. Thousands of existing contracts will be loaded onto the system so that they can be viewed digitally.