Making Sense in the Digital World
The need for Information Governance has become a really hot topic. Many of TIMG’s corporate clients are now looking at innovative ways to understand their data and risk events and are feeling open to adopt solutions from outside the box.
Information Governance has become a really hot topic
One of the consequences of the pandemic was a shift in the way we viewed our jobs, the way we were able to execute in our jobs, and the way that businesses were able to adapt to the changing business landscape. Workloads continued to grow, and the expectation of output and effort required to meet those workloads also grew.
Our teams however, which were resized during the pandemic, continued to run lean. Technology played a more important role than ever, not only in the way we were communicating, but also in the way we were generating a huge spike in data production. Not only did the size of data exponentially grow, but so too did the number of different file types were we becoming exposed to. In the wake of Covid, our digital age also had to face the new normal. Fast access to information became the top priority. The need to feel connected was also so important and as digital content grew, finding a way to harness that information in a meaningful and effective way, become critical. Ironically, the question we were facing looked at the way we could use technology to help us to find the meaning among that data? Identification, automation, and implementation are key.
The increase in cyber-attacks, ransomware, and innovative artificial intelligence really highlighted the need to keep a bead on your data, where it is, who can access it, does it need to even be there? Clients continue to take a more hands-on approach when it comes to identifying, releasing, and reviewing their data. One reason for this is that clients don’t want the vulnerabilities of their data to get out. The issue this presents however, is that they rely less on experts for identification, preferring to keep it all in-house which could result in missing evidence or important information when trying to wrangle the data at a later stage.
The need for Information governance became a really a hot topic. Many of TIMG’s corporate clients are now looking at innovative ways to understand their data and risk events and are feeling open to adopt solutions from outside the box. The education piece around helping clients understand what data they have, and how to defensibly destroy what they are not required to keep, takes far less effort once started, than the alternative of being subject to a data breach.
The approaches to this task do not need to essentially break the bank, however they should be smart, collaborative, built on trust, and partnered with an expert.
2. Automation, not replacement
The debate is no longer focused on if the use of technology is efficient, because we absolutely know that it is, but now it is focusing around, the question of will this technology replace me. Evidence management platforms for example, are designed to assist teams with litigations and investigations, inquiries, and generally data related issues. It is obvious that when you have a data heavy review requirement, the challenge is not the adoption of technology itself, but rather finding the right people to drive so you get the best result. This is something that still needs a human touch. You can programme AI to assist and to make suggestions, but you still need someone to drive it, check it, monitor it, approve it, and ultimately agree with the AI decisions.
Josef is a legal automation platform that that allows lawyers to build their own chatbots tailored to their particular practice. The bots are intuitive, engaging, and can automate the production of personalised documents, like letters and agreements. A chatbot can speak to countless people at the same time (something we can’t do), thus improving the access to justice.
The younger generation of lawyers have got a much better handle on the current technology whether it be presenting information visually, building a personal profile online, working collaboratively, or just simply being open to the adoption and ideas of new technology, and ways we are working.
No one piece of technology is going to do away with everything we need to successfully complete out jobs. Automate, yes, but replace, still a firm no. The key for people like us, professionals and experts in our fields, is to educate the teams about the different technologies available, and to help walk them through the change process from old to new. This is a hard task and often takes a long time to achieve, depending on the change process itself.
The good news is that for the most part, many technological advantages are already being utilised. Going paperless, using laptops in meetings, online production of payslips, automated billing processes, video conferencing capabilities, Skype meetings, the Cloud, the ability to work remotely, email, text, chat messaging systems.
TIMG use Yammer and Microsoft teams as a way of communicating outside the traditional methods. The paradox is, that the technology behind making things faster, more efficient, and cheaper, however, these are the very instances that are creating and adding to the huge volumes of data we are seeing (and different forms we need to remember to search through when running investigations and litigation).
Change is really the key factor here. For the most part, that’s a hard pill to swallow. If we think about it, there is always a magnitude of caution, anxiety, rejection, as new things are introduced to us. How long did it take people to understand and use the internet when it first came out? Now we retreat into the foetal position on the floor should we not be connected to the world.
The key to implementing something firm wide really needs to be driven by information and communication from the top down. People need to be prepared, educated and gently guided into the new mindset. This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a collaborative process that shouldn’t be rushed. We need to understand how the technology can assist and impact our day-to-day life for the better. The education really needs to be centred around how to do something, as well as why we are doing something. Law firms and corporates have needed to respond to this business change with agility, leadership, and knowledge in order to accommodate the new technological opportunities.
The Road Ahead
I think that the world is ready for technological advancements and whilst it is daunting (ChatGPT and GPT-4), when we eventually start to adopt these tools, we really run with them. It took Australia almost 10 years of discussing the concepts of predictive coding before it was put into use. Now we have precedents in Victoria, as well as directives in some practice notes. One thing we can draw from this is the need to reskill.
Law Firms for the past 5 years have been seeking law graduates with combined legal and technology system backgrounds. They know that in order to keep clients, they need to be able to provide the most innovative solutions. They are looking for a combination of people who have really good legal skills, as well as technology and project management skills, so that they will have multidisciplinary teams to meet these types of challenges. Universities and the College of Law are also starting to offer subjects in data management and Information governance.
Based on what we have seen happen in the market in the last few years, I think the key to success is a combination of retraining, re-educating, and the acceptance that we can’t continue to work the same way we used to. I for one, am excited to see where this next year takes us in terms of development of technology tools that can assist our daily processes.