Can Big Data Make Law Firms More Efficient?

Can Big Data Make Law Firms More Efficient?

Ever wonder if Big Data could be used in Law Firms?

When we think of a law firm we don’t generally picture a bunch of lawyers sitting around computers crunching data, but the reality is that there is a lot of paperwork and analysis involved in law.

The processes in law are long and rigorously documented, meaning there is a lot of information lawyers much go through when remaining educated on a case. This Big Data Lawyer enlightens us on how Big Data could be used to analyze documents, saving lawyers valuable time.

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Big Data lawyers believe the utilization of Data Analytics in law firms could be highly beneficial!

Learning How To Manage Big Data

Learning How To Manage Big Data

When Big Data emerged a few years ago it was first questioned and then suddenly exploded in popularity. Big Data became so well known that people now refer to it as a buzz word and convict businesses of having Data Fetish. Many companies became obsessed with Big Data’s promise of success and jumped on the gravy train.

Four years later we are now seeing that It was never about the Big Data that determined success, it was about how it was used. The companies that understood this early on and adapted their company to better manage their data are the ones who are basking in success today.

A recent study has shown that companies utilizing big data are becoming smarter about how they are using their data. Companies are realizing that it is not so much about having a larger amount of data rather than having a sufficient amount of smart data. The trick is that smart data is like gold, analysts must search through large quantities of data to mine out the smart data that contain highly valuable insights.

As companies improve their data management skills they are not only becoming more equipped with better information, but they are also saving money. Having an efficient data analytics sector can result in major profits simply by having more up to date and accurate information to make decisions with.

It is exciting to see how companies have learned to manage their data and the benefits they are reaping from it. Using Big data as a tool is a great way to learn more about your business and your customers, which is why it has become such a great company asset.

Big Data’s Biggest Weakness

Big Data’s Biggest Weakness

You can pretty much look anywhere on the internet today and find an article, post, or book written on the benefits of Big Data. It is on the mind of every executive out there, and rightfully so. While the benefits do greatly outweigh the downsides, it still needs to be brought to attention that there often remains a weak link in big data- the data itself.

Without good data, the business intelligence gained from it can all be deemed useless. Without good data, companies find themselves spending unnecessary time and money in an attempt to clean it up. So, rather than focusing right now on how much data we could possibly gather, shouldn’t we be focusing on how to retrieve the ‘correct’ data?

Annual BI and Big Data expenditures are expected to reach $114 billion by the end of 2018- not a number to be taken lightly! It is estimated that almost $65 Billion of that is absorbed or unrealized by businesses each year due to return mail/bad data. Poor data is prevalent in nearly every major industry, from healthcare to retail and finance to telecommunications.

USPS gave us a perfect example of how crucial good data is when they incurred $1.5 Billion in costs processing “undeliverable as addressed” mail. While there were many other factors, over half a billion dollars in expense was due to businesses having wrong addresses in their databases.

Organizations can continue to go along as many are today, gathering all of the data they can get their hands on, because somewhere within that, the good data will fall.  However, in an age of efficiency and desire to save as much time and money as possible, executives should drive their organizations to ensure data is properly entered from the beginning or corrected within the systems and databases. Thankfully, there are many products already on the market that can help companies with this today.

After getting rid of the crud in the data and spending our time retrieving only what matters, we will begin to see Big Data being used to its fullest potential. Oh, the possibilities!

Is Data Management The Key?

Is Data Management The Key?

Many organizations today struggle to get their cards in order and turn data into dollars.

“The more data you have, the more crucial it is to better manage your master data and improve the maturity of your master data management (MDM) program,” said Saul Judah, research director at Gartner. “Existing approaches to data management are, in many cases, insufficient to accommodate big data sources on an enterprise scale. Collecting data without managing it properly also creates ongoing costs as well as regulatory and compliance risks.”

In order to save money, CIOs and Chief Data Officers who oversee big data initiatives need to consider the following steps:

Update Information Strategy and Architecture
Many organizations have had success leveraging big data insight around specific business operations, but typically it’s limited to a single business unit or use case. Few firms have explored how to make big data insights actionable across the entire organization, by linking big data sources with trusted master data.

For example, many marketing organizations use data from social sources — such as Twitter and Facebook — to inform their campaigns, but they don’t reconcile this with trusted data in customer/prospect repositories that are used by customer services or sales. This can lead to incoherent customer communication that can actually undermine the sales or customer service process.

Become More Agile
Effective use of big data requires a mixture of old and new technologies and practices. This necessitates an agile approach that applies a bimodal IT framework to information governance (see “Why Digital Business Needs Bimodal IT”). MDM traditionally uses a Mode 1 approach which is policy-driven and approval-based. Big data typically uses a Mode 2 approach with little or no predefined processes or controls. Tactical and exploratory initiatives are much better suited to the “faster” Mode 2.

Move to Limit Risk Exposure
When an organization executes actions based on information sources outside the curation of MDM — as is the case in many big data implementations — exposure to certain types of business risk increases. Factors such as poor data quality, loss of critical information, and access to unauthorized information become more likely. Gartner recommends appointing a lead information steward role in relevant business units to assist in creating and executing risk controls with regards to data use in business operations.


All of the above steps to help manage your data can quickly turn around and save or make your firm money. You have the data- now just unlock the value of it with master data management.

Best Practices in Project Management – After the Launch

Best Practices in Project Management – After the Launch

You may have poured the champagne and toasted your new project launch, but that doesn’t mean the project management process is finished. Celebration is certainly appropriate at this point. But don’t forget to follow up the festivities with a thoughtful and thorough review.

Experienced project managers are familiar with the impulse to move on to the next assignment when a project is completed. Stakeholders may see a project management review as unnecessary or low-impact. As a result, the review may be done hastily or not at all. In fact, an effective post-mortem will have tremendous impact on the organization’s ability to improve. Project management is a process of continuous learnng and modification. A
fundamental understanding of your success factors and the bumps in the road that may have compromised the project is essential to making better decisions the next time around. It’s the difference between doing the same thing that led you astray before, and taking a more effective path when you’re confronted with a similar decision.

It’s almost as bad to conduct a project management review and then file the results away, never to be seen again, or hand the results over to the project manager with no follow-up action plan. Effective project management depends on gathering information and putting that information to use.
Work with your project manager on the following steps to get the greatest benefit from your project management review:

Step 1: Gather input

Be sure to conduct a 360-degree review, gathering input from all affected parties in the organization. Talk to the software developers, project managers, stakeholders, and subject matter experts, as well as end users and those responsible for communication and change management. Ask for their perspective on what went right and what went wrong in the project management process.

Step 2: Assign responsibility and create individual action items

Were there problems in development, project management, or communication? What will the responsible parties do differently next time? The purpose is not to assign blame, but to improve. Look to the best practitioners of after-action reporting: the U.S. military. Military leaders review and prepare a factual account of what went right and wrong, and then integrate the results into future strategy and training. They understand full well that this follow-up can literally be a matter of life and death. Lives may not hang in the balance at your company, but effective project management review can certainly affect employees, customers, and investors.

Step 3: Share information

After individual action plans are established, follow up to make sure the knowledge and plans are communicated to everyone involved. Your best efforts won’t stick unless information is driven down to the grass-roots level. See that individual project management information becomes tribal knowledge.

Step 4: Review periodically

Make sure that the fixes were implemented and that they really worked. Keep following up as the project becomes standard practice. By all means, celebrate the completion of your project. But as you’re celebrating, keep in mind that the opportunity to review and improve is never really done.

To learn more about project management best practices, please e-mail

Improve Business Processes with Right Professional Services – Creating Competitive Advantage

Improve Business Processes with Right Professional Services – Creating Competitive Advantage

Project management is among the most popular and familiar of the professional services. By keeping a well-defined project on budget and on time, a skilled project manager can make the difference between successful and failed systems development and process improvement projects. While quantitative project components certainly need to be managed carefully, the job becomes much more challenging when project parameters are fluid, not clearly understood and/or not effectively defined. This is often the case in the development of new software or a new business process. In such situations, it is generally advisable to seek out the professional services of an experienced business analyst. BAs focus on the quality of the deliverable – be it software or process. A BA‘s role is to ensure that the final process improvement solution will meet the company goals and that it connects effectively with the organization’s structure, policies and operations.

In an environment where many companies have reduced internal headcount in response to the economic downturn, today’s successful companies are relying more than ever on professional service providers to help with business process improvements. Engaging a trusted advisor is a wise use of limited resources, and ensures that critical new projects will go forward in sync with day-to-day business operations.

The business analyst can be known by many names, including process analyst, project analyst or, in highly technical settings, systems analyst. While the BA’s job description is highly flexible, the professional service provider can contribute a distinct set of skills to business process improvement. Leading the list are the objectivity and familiarity with your industry that he or she can bring to the project. This combination allows an experienced BA to speak with customers and employees, accurately interpret their input, and translate it into practical and specific technical solutions. A trusted business analyst can see beyond immediate process improvement or data management needs to address potential future issues and requirements from an objective, unbiased position.

Effective business analysts are naturally curious and inquisitive. Among the most valuable professional services they provide is the ability to ask the right questions. A well constructed, objective information collection technique can be the key to quickly determining why things aren’t working and how to improve business processes or tools. An experienced technical BA will be well acquainted with the systems development life cycle – the continuous process of planning, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance that is the foundation of much software development.

Obviously, you can’t improve business processes in a vacuum. Effective business analysts have the flexibility needed to work within the client’s culture and style. Flexibility is also essential as the business analyst must wear multiple hats. At any point in a given project, the BA may be called upon to gather, interpret, or document requirements, design system architecture, support the project manager, or facilitate communication among customer, developer, and the project management team.

When a large business process improvement or data management project is on the line, it’s ideal to engage a support team that includes both a project manager and a business analyst. The team approach offers the most effective balance between quality and budget considerations. But if resources are scarce, and the project is of moderate size, it is possible to find a trusted advisor who is skilled in both professional services – business analysis and project management. Wearing her business analyst hat, your advisor will look at the current state and help determine how it can or should change and the technical requirements needed to get there. As project manager, your advisor can then collect and report essential
information to keep the project on time and on budget. This is a an important, and often challenging, balancing act but the right advisor can make the difference between merely meeting and truly fulfilling your process improvement and data management goals.

To learn more about professional services to improve business processes, please visit or e-mail

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