Digital White Papers

October 2013 Risks and Rewards

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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SLAYING THE CRM DRAGON XXXX A well-designed CRM system should include a process that captures relevant data exchanged between attorneys and staff. PROCESS User adoption is perhaps the most challenging aspect of implementation. It takes time for staff to adjust to a new system. Full implementation might take six months to two years, depending on the size of the firm. On the training side, we created different sets of modules for attorneys and secretaries. Since our attorneys were already familiar with Outlook, we trained them in the Outlook-InterAction interface. We created a simple process so the attorneys could capture tacit information and share important email messages with the firm with a few clicks. We also created test contacts to illustrate how some features of the software work. We trained our secretaries in the Web Client, a more advanced interface that allows for greater focus on contact management and data entry. We opted for one-on-one, 15- to 20-minute workshops with the attorneys and their secretaries. This gave us the opportunity to explain both the features and benefits of the software, check computer set up, spot possible problems and ask questions on how they would like to use the software going forward. We introduced advanced features based on attorney requests, and we turned off features that could likely confuse them. We also created special forms, providing attorneys with the option to write their thoughts on paper while the secretaries input them into the system. AFTER IMPLEMENTATION A CRM is viewed as one big collection of contacts and data. Pieces of information become powerful when combined with others. At the same time, a CRM is a place in which duplicates and spelling errors are magnified. CRM systems can provide a lot of benefits, depending on who, or what department, is using the data. CRM efforts because success can be based on several factors, such as numbers or intangible benefits. Data quality is a must but will always be a work in progress due to the dynamic nature of CRM. The technology has to adapt to attorneys' work styles, not the other way around. During implementation, it is easy to become lost in vast amounts of details and customizations. The key is to balance the demands of different groups. If you focus on features that can make attorneys' lives easier and help them save time and increase productivity, you increase the chances of successful implementation — extinguishing the fire of the CRM dragon. After training, efforts usually shift to metrics and improving data quality. It is important to measure Grace Sales is the CRM Specialist of Richards Kibbe & Orbe, a medium-size firm with locations in New York, Washington and London. She focuses on implementations and technology strategies for business development. She can be contacted at

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