Finalist: Best Use of Technology
As DXC Technology and its legal department reap the rewards of a digital transformation effort that began five years ago, the global business-to-business IT services company has become emboldened to forge ahead with even more ambitious tech plans for the future.
Last year, the Tysons, Virginia-based organization’s legal team leveraged tech to reduce outside counsel spend by 15% while slashing its legal operating budget by a whopping 41%, or more than $50 million, according to general counsel William Deckelman and global operations lead for DXC legal, Paul Lanzone.
“The trap for young players in the technology space is to go for the shiny tech,” Lanzone said. “But there’s another whole people piece in terms of the vision, process for engineering and then the technology. We’ve learned that lesson.”
DXC’s legal department began its digital transformation by asking how, exactly, new tech tools could be used to make the biggest difference. The answer, which will likely be the same for many other legal departments, turned out to be contract work.
“If we can go faster and manage contracts better, that’s more value for the business. It’s kind of a big bang start,” Deckelman said. “It’s making sure you have an intelligent understanding at the beginning of what you’re trying to do.”
DXC’s in-house legal team began using Salesforce software and worked with the Briefbox platform to develop a Swiss Army-esque tool for contract management and risk assessment, spending and performance analysis, digital learning and as an in-house counsel dashboard for legal announcements, among other things.
“I can manage it and know what’s going on, but I don’t have to manage it, literally, every day myself,” Deckelman said. “I don’t have to carry the burden of that cost. I can have fixed costs through my long-term contract and I know what my budget’s going to be because I have a contract that tells me. The CFO loves it.”
Deckelman stressed the importance of having a managed services provider, which helped his team navigate the increasingly crowded legal tech terrain and find the solutions that worked best for them.
“There’s no way a single person can look at that landscape and intelligently select and integrate their technology,” he said.
Because DXC’s legal department ramped up its use of tech in 2017, the team was able to respond quickly when the company’s business leaders wanted to know how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting its customer contracts. By using artificial intelligence and other tech, the team streamlined contract data collection and sent real-time reports to the company’s leaders.
“If you think you’re just going to wait and then leapfrog and do it all at the end, it doesn’t work,” Deckelman said. “Why? People aren’t ready. They don’t know how to do it. They don’t want to do it. We’ve been working on this with our people for five years.”
The employee engagement component of digital transformation is key. And so is avoiding the “shiny tools that are point solutions but don’t really add value,” Lanzone noted.
“You can look at this as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Some things are food and water, right at the base level, that most legal departments need to get right before they go for AI or a bot,” he said. “Things like contract lifecycle management, e-signature. It’s tying those things together so they’re really tight before moving up to the other things.”
Now, after half a decade of work, Deckelman’s team is ready to create what he envisions as a “single enterprise data strategy” with the legal and business departments. Lanzone describes it as a “single pane of glass … that will almost be as big of a value as everything we’ve done in the last five years.”
If the project is successful, DXC’s legal and business teams will no longer have to grapple with conflicting data and will be able to work together seamlessly, which should increase efficiency, drive better business decisions, lower risks and reduce costs.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do this a year ago,” Deckelman said. “We’re mature enough now that we can hold our own when we’re having those conversations with the data scientists, chief information officer and IT people.”
This article was originally published on Corporate Counsel. To read the full article, click here.