Having this year unveiled a €13bn digital transformation strategy that will see it overhaul its legacy systems and move towards the cloud, Deutsche Bank’s global legal team has selected NetDocuments as its document and email management system. The major banks have for years been one of the biggest barriers to private practice law firms moving to the cloud, and another barrier just fell.

The German multinational investment bank’s legal team totals around 700 people and is located in 27 countries. In addition to document filing it will be implementing NetDocuments ndMail, artificial intelligence/machine learning-based predictive email filing technology, as well as NetDocuments OCR for advanced document and image management. While the DMS is currently only going to be used by the legal team, that may be extended to one or two other business areas in time.

Scaleability, security, and extensibility are said to have been key factors and Deutsche Bank will crucially be leveraging NetDocuments’ new data centers located in Germany operational in early 2020 – without a German datacenter, there would have been no deal. We first revealed in October that NetDocuments is opening a new data centre in Germany, which has among the strictest data protections laws in the world, restricting the transfer of data outside of the jurisdiction.

In a statement out today (18 December) Stefan Simon, chief administrative officer of Deutsche Bank and senior group director, says: “With this innovative document management system we have found an effective and modern platform which also ensures the highest security and governance standards. It will provide our lawyers with the tools and information they need to ensure more efficiency in their daily business around the globe and share knowledge with colleagues.”

The selection process was run by a working group with the legal department including a digitization team and the data protection group.

It is worth noting that in a press release circulated by NetDocuments, Deutsche Bank cites as key factors:

Platform strength: NetDocuments’ open architecture and API design is built for extensibility and will allow Deutsche Bank to build on top of the cloud platform to expand and add new functionality.

Collaboration: The NetDocuments platform enables Deutsche Bank to digitally share documents anywhere, anytime in a secure setting.

Deutsche Bank has suffered from a catalogue of woes since the financial crisis and in the summer announced that it is to dramatically downsize and cut costs, where technology is expected to play a significant part. It said in July that it will invest €13bn in technology by 2022.

Josh Baxter, chief executive officer of NetDocuments, said: “Our collaboration with Deutsche Bank is based on our world-class security pedigree as well as a level of growth-focused scalability which remains unmatched in our market. We are confident Deutsche Bank will be able to execute on its main objectives of accelerating decision making and productivity through consistency afforded by the mature NetDocuments cloud platform.”

Where once law firms feared that if their data was hosted in the cloud it would preclude them from pitching for work, those tables are visibly shifting. In a blog out today, NetDocuments’ CTO Alvin Tedjamulia says: “It’s clear that priorities are changing as global banking institutions like Deutsche Bank now see being cloud-first as a business imperative—something many of these institutions once prohibited their legal departments and outside counsel from adopting.

“This trend is driven by the need for global banks to operate as a single, efficient entity while maintaining strict localized governance, compliance, and security standards across multiple international borders and office locations. As a growing number of multinational organizations embrace the cloud and NetDocuments platform, the law firms who represent them now have a clear, unobstructed path to cloud adoption.”

Josh Baxter, CEO NetDocuments

LITI: Which other financial institutions is NetDocuments working with?

JB: We have signed two of the world’s top ten banks in the last ten months.  We are in active discussions with several others.  Both of these big banks will be live on NetDocuments early in 2020.

LITI: Do you see future growth in the large corporate legal teams as opposed to large law firms and if so why?

LITI: Our expectation is to continue growing in both corporate legal and large law firms.  We are making significant investments targeted specifically at corporate legal departments including workflow, contract analytics and automated extraction of key contract information using artificial intelligence.  We are seeing more client influence on content management platform decisions with banking clients being the most influential clients. 

LITI: What does this move by DB mean for law firms?

JB: Big banks (and other large corporates) are doing more thorough security analysis of the NetDocuments platform than any other customer or prospect we have ever worked with.  Their standards are unmatched by most law firms and we’re seeing them choose NetDocuments over other players in this space.

LITI: Does it further open up the path to cloud? Did they not require a hybrid solution?

JB: These organizations expect true cloud.  They understand the importance of large scale, true cloud solutions.  Hybrid cloud applications do not meet the standards of these large organizations.