September 29, 2021
A new era for large scale project delivery? Brett Aubin, Konexo Head of Projects, analyzes the trend of decentralizing traditional management… We have all adjusted to the world that COVID has wrought. Some of these adjustments have been existential – I think here of the lockdowns and the impacts on health, education and hospitality. Other adjustments though have been more nuanced and carry just enough of the “old world” in them that we are lulled into overlooking how they have changed our behavior. I think here of having to wear a face mask and how this has increased awkwardness in our social interactions. In the professional domain, I would suggest that the wholesale delivery of projects from home is another example of where nuanced adjustments in behavior, have begun to manifest. The ‘projects’ focus in early March 2020 was characterized by a ‘can do’ attitude. There was a scramble to do things like source extra laptops, reinforce home cyber security and think through productivity monitoring. And although this was a little bumpy, nothing felt beyond the wit of common sense and determination. Without time to think or complain, we transitioned into a fully remote way of working. It was late Autumn though when one of our clients started to talk to us about nuanced behaviors within their larger project teams and follow-up conversations with our broader client base confirmed that these observations were indeed more widespread; this triggered us looking into the matter further. No surprise but the elephant in the room turned out to be that we were no longer working in close physical proximity to each other....
August 30, 2021
For the last decade, the phrase “digital disruption” has loomed like a specter over many industries, but the legal world seemed to mostly escape technical innovation. It’s not as though lawyers are still using paper notepads and quill pens. They have deployed the Microsoft software suite and other IT software just like every other sector. But aside from a handful of intriguing apps, the sector hasn’t really experienced the “digital disruption” that sowed chaos through the rest of the economy. Lawyers are quietly happy about dodging the disruption. After all, no one enjoys being made redundant, especially by a machine. But there’s always some satisfaction in deploying a digital tool that makes the workday faster and boosts productivity. The sector can hide, but changes are coming. Imminent technological advances will bring benefits to clients in the form of lower prices and greater ease of use of legal services, along with increased access to justice. But they may also herald tough times for firms as they square up to the challenge. According to the Altman Weil 2020 Law Firms in Transition survey, 62% of law firms now include innovation initiatives in their strategic plan while 60% have created special projects to test ideas. According to the Altman Weil 2020 Law Firms in Transition survey, 62% of law firms now include innovation initiatives in their strategic plan while 60% have created special projects to test ideas. On the other hand, 18% of firms had partnered with a technology company to build new digital solutions and only 18% had appointed an Innovation Director or assigned a specific person to the task of encouraging...
August 23, 2021
The global legal technology industry finally appears to be entering the maturation stage of industrial development. Entrepreneurs are learning that legal services aren’t the low hanging fruit they first viewed them to be and that disruption of legal services requires more thoughtfulness, than simply blue-sky sessions with friends about the next killer app. Gone (thankfully!) are the days of throwing any sort of technology ideas at legal to “see what sticks.” The spectacular failure of US-based legal services provider Atrium serves not only was a fitting end point to legal technology’s wild adolescence, but it was also an inflection point toward a better, more helpful and sustainable industrial future. In 2017, Justin Kan, best known for making an obscene amount of money by creating Twitch, a technology that allows people to watch other people play video games, announced the creation of Atrium, and promptly raised US$10.5 million in seed funding. Justin later admitted this funding request was based on a short and shallow power point presentation. In effect, he was banking on his reputation to get funding, not a thoughtful and robust presentation. The buzz in Silicon Valley and among many in the global legal technology/ innovation community at the time was that if anyone can disrupt legal, it was Kan. Expectations hit a fever pitch in Autumn of 2018 when Atrium raised the absurd sum of US$65m in Series A funding from venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Atrium was awash with money and one could hear Silicon Valley “bros” chest bumping from all parts of the globe. After all, no new law firm on the planet had ever...
August 23, 2021
Poor contract management means you might be losing up to 9% of your annual revenue. Konexo head of technology and transformation Babar Hayat explains how to plug the leaks. The surveys make grim reading across the legal and finance sectors. The World Commerce and Contracting suggests that, on average, companies are losing 9% of their annual revenue as a result of poor contract management. ThoughtRiver, one of our technology partners, has found that 69% of the senior lawyers and general counsel (GCs) surveyed don’t have good visibility of their major contractual obligations. “Revenue leakage is a challenge that a lot of organizations face,” explained Hayat. “They have contracts in place with customers and suppliers, but they don’t necessarily come to realize the value of that contract.” Poor contract management processes such as expired contracts, missed deadlines, unimplemented amendments, unenforced price increases or forgotten renewal fees are some of the reasons an organization may miss the opportunity to maximize the value of its contracts. How Big Is The Hole? With the economy set to be hit further by the fallout of the global Covid-19 pandemic, plus more localized issues specific to the different countries across Asia, not wasting potential income is more important than ever. “Things will undoubtedly be tougher in the wake of the pandemic and it’s not just a legal problem,” said Hayat. “If you’re a chief financial officer or GC of a business with hundreds or thousands of contracts, and you don’t realize the maximum from them, that is a big problem. Effective contract management can pivot the in-house function from being a cost line to a...
August 16, 2021
This may be an odd take on the topic of innovation in a legal services context but there is still an awful lot to be done in the Middle East in the area of contract templating for in-house use. The fit for an in-house legal team looking to drive efficiency and innovation for its contracting activities should be clear. However, there is a lot that still can and need to be done. As legal departments expand technological capabilities, an emphasis of course remains on increasing efficiency while providing value but often the volume of work and contracting being handled by those in-house legal teams can be a real challenge. Contract templating, the appropriate use of a centralized library of pre-approved contract language and contract formats, is an area I have worked in for many years and it can make a real difference if implemented successfully in a way that is tailored to the organization. However, I remain surprised at how few organizations within this region either have no or an inadequate system for the use of automated and appropriate contract templates across its full range of activities. With advantages of course come challenges, however, and that is where any contract templating project must get the process management right also. Just a few of the advantages and challenges are: 1. Reduced Time to Draft Contracts By creating and centralizing the storage of tailored contract templates, your contract documents become accessible to all members of the legal and contract management teams. Having an available template is however only part of the story. 2. Creating an Appropriate Set of Standard Contracts (Contracting...
August 16, 2021
Listing a company on a public stock exchange can be a complex, time-consuming and expensive task. But that does not guarantee future success. Given the lengthy time frame for an IPO (initial public offering), it is wise for pre-IPO companies to update their governance systems early in the process since this is an area potential stakeholders and shareholders will scrutinize. Technology platforms such as board portals (or board management software) can help companies adhere to best practices for good governance and accelerate their readiness for going public. Using board portals can signal to regulators and potential investors that the company is well-governed and positioned for long-term value creation. Defining Board Portals A board portal is a centralized, highly secure, online hub designed for board secretaries and directors to organize and manage meetings, access documents and communicate. They also include digital board packs, e-signatures and voting. Board portals allow board members to execute their governance obligations efficiently and securely, at any time, from any device and location. The Benefits Of Board Portals The use of a board portal makes sense for pre-IPO companies. The technology lets board members collaborate and engage with both internal stakeholders and external advisors, ensuring alignment of overall direction, strategy and goals. More importantly, a board portal embeds transparency, accountability and confidentiality into a board’s processes – all essential parts of good governance. With a board portal, pre-IPO firms can effectively deliver on the following: 1. Manage critical information from a central hub Using a board portal, pre-IPO firms can organize, gather and access documentation for building the prospectus and draft agreements, resolutions, filings or letters...