Dynamics Matters Podcast: Ep 61 – How to deliver customer excellence in the legal industry

The Dynamics Matters Podcast, a podcast series on “everything Microsoft Dynamics” –and much more—is created and hosted by HSO and featuring industry and topical experts. In just 10 minutes, listeners hear about a wide variety of topics, from managing Dynamics 365 updates to measuring ROI from data initiatives to building a strong team.

In this episode, Victoria Gregory, HSO’s Legal Industry Solution Architect & Practice Lead, speaks on the very complex legal industry and its challenges, particularly how change management affects the success of a technology implementation. Surprisingly, that success is based on roughly 5 percent software and 95 percent change management in the form of user adoption. This is especially true in law firms, where very busy, billable lawyers resist dealing with anything that takes time away from the work they’re doing. We then discuss how relationship management solutions such as HSO’s legal360 are making Legal less complex with features that exponentially improve user adoption across the firm.

Introduction

Welcome to episode 61 of the HSO Dynamics matters podcast.

Your regular sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides.

I’m your host Michael Lonnon, and in this episode, I flew over to the windy city for a chat with HSOs Chicago based Head of Legal, Victoria Gregory.

Together we delved into the preposterously complex world of legal, for a chat about how relationship management solutions such as HSOs Legal-360 is making Legal less preposterously complex than it was before.

So, grab a brew, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon

Technology before people or people before technology?

Victoria Gregory

People before technology.

Michael Lonnon

I listened to one of your videos recently Victoria, and in it, you said something about software implementation is 5% about the software and 95% of it is about change management, which is really the people side. But what makes you think that or where did you come up with that, given your background?

Victoria Gregory

From doing implementations and seeing how people react to introducing something new. People generally resist change; they don’t like change so that’s why the focus on change management is so important. New software can be revolutionary, but you’ve got to get people to adopt it and then also continue that retention of using something. So that’s why for me, the change management piece is so much more critical than just the software.

Michael Lonnon

We see that all the time. And lots of people I talk to iterate the same thing. I will ask you some more specific questions, but I want to ask this first, in your experience, how do you get people buying into the things that you’re doing from the technology point of view?

Victoria Gregory

It goes back to the old marketing theory of what’s in it for me. The why should that person care and that’s something that I’ve tried to do during my time in house at law firms, is look at people and the roles they play, and then tailor communications to that role. Sometimes you have to take the extra time with people one on one to understand what it is they’re resistant, why they’re concerned and that can be a way to get feedback to improve a system as well.

Michael Lonnon

That’s a lot about relationship building, isn’t it and that’s a lot of where your background has come from in the legal sector is implementing relationship management technology. What kind of challenges is that addressing, particularly in the legal sector?

Victoria Gregory

That’s what the legal industry is all about is relationships. It’s the relationships lawyers have with their clients, maintaining those relationships, keeping those relationships going is what keeps the business coming in and that’s why I was very interested in early in my career around CRM, technology, client relationship management. But historically, it was only being used within law firms for mailing lists and sending out mailings. I remember back in the day of even using a mailing house to send out hard copies of things and it struck me, we’ve got this system, it’s supposed to be focused on relationship management, but we’re only using it for marketing, for mailings and events, tracking event RSVPs and attendance when we could be tracking all this information about who knows who, why do they know them, how well do they know them. And then what’s that person’s role in their organisation, are they the decision maker, do they hold a budget, all those things that tie into how a law firm makes money. So, the challenges with introducing technology to do that is it can feel like you’re taking away that personal element. But what you’re actually doing is adding efficiencies and technology that can identify gaps. So being able to pinpoint this is a key client, this is somebody that’s important, but they’ve stopped attending our events, they’ve stopped opening the things that we send them, nobody’s communicated with them in the last 30 days. Identifying that and highlighting somebody should reach out to this person.

Michael Lonnon

It’s understanding those individuals how there engaging with you, and it allows you to take an action that depends on what they’ve done before, you’re understanding more about them.

Victoria Gregory

One of the things I’ve tried to explain in more real-life terms when I’ve done training sessions is I once went to my hairdressers, and sat down, and there was a black coffee with two sugars in front of me. Now, my hairdresser didn’t remember that – that’s in a computer somewhere and he looks at that before his clients come in. But it’s that added touch that makes sure I mattered to them. They care, but that’s client relationship management. It’s the same with banks, the way you get tailored communications from your bank, your bank manager doesn’t know that, it’s in a computer system somewhere.

Michael Lonnon

Do you think a lot of legal firms or professional service firms are resistant to that change because they think you are taking that relationship element away?

Victoria Gregory

I think there’s a resistance to change full stop. I think it is the sense that it takes away personalisation. The sense that it could dilute the relationship they have. It’s less so now than when I started 20 years ago in my career; a concern of I don’t want to share my contact information because somebody else is going to call my clients. That’s not how lawyers operate or work. So that was something to say, you’re not giving anything up, what you’re doing is identifying to other people that you have a relationship with that person.

Michael Lonnon

When you put the solution in legal 360, when you were working on the client side, what positive changes did you see as a result of the solution going in?

Victoria Gregory

One of the key things was identifying contacts and relationships that people didn’t know existed. So, Partner A knows a contact and they found out that five other partners know the same contact. It’s the mindset of, only I know this person, but actually lots of other people do within the firm. So, you can be more strategic in the way you communicate with that person. You can invite other partners along to any meetings that can help with cross selling. If it’s a client of one particular practice of the law firm, you could cross sell another practice area into that person’s organisation, there’s lots of benefits to that. One of the key benefits that I saw, being on the staff side of the business, was the reduction in resources needed for some of the pretty straightforward things and that’s around like data management, not needing to have lots and lots of data stewards, who are day in day looking at contact data changes and approving or rejecting them or having to go and find out information as to whether this was accurate or not. The legal 360 system has been developed to reduce those resources that are needed without taking away updates. It’s just now done more passively. There’s not a need for lawyers to be spending a lot of time doing anything. Their time should be spent with clients, and billing time. Then a reduction in resources across firms and across industries so you don’t have the luxury of people that can spend hours and hours combing through data. You need technology to be able to do that for you.

Michael Lonnon

When you put legal 360 in, how quick was the mindset shift from where they were, and where they’ve always been managing the data in a particular siloed way to using this system to build those relationships? How quick was that mind shift change?

Victoria Gregory

So that varied firm to firm. And it depends on the culture of the firm. One of the things I did was identify people within the firm who would be champions from the get-go, and then use their voices to spread the message, because you’re more likely to listen to somebody who’s a pier who believes in something and can explain the benefits directly to your level. But I would say with legal 360, once it’s implemented, and once it’s up and running, the change is evident rapidly. Certainly, with the relationship 360 Power App, which is our enterprise relationship management feature. Once that’s up and running, you can have that bringing in historical data up to a year. So, on day one, you’ve got 12 months’ worth of relationship information, relationship value scores, how many emails in-out, how many appointments have been had with individuals, which is huge, but the lift for the lawyers is zero. They don’t have to do anything; they’ve suddenly have information at their fingertips without having to spend hours doing anything. It really is a game changer.

Michael Lonnon

Somebody has recognised that they’ve got a problem with matching information, or they’ve got a problem with siloed data, or they just can’t see how customer A has engaged with the firm over x period of time.

Victoria Gregory

Again, at the core of that is this relationships piece, who do they know, how well do I know them and who in the firm knows them and using that relationships 360, using data that already exists. So, the lawyers are just going about their daily business, emailing contacts, having appointments, having meetings, and all of that data is extrapolated, and given a scoring and a value so you can see who has the strongest relationship without anybody having to do anything. And that’s what relationships 360 can do. So, I would say for firms that are looking to adopt or change their CRM platform is to identify some of those key areas that are critical to the firm. Then it’s saying how can this CRM platform help us with that, rather than the other way around. It’s not square pegs into round holes. It’s one of the things I love about legal 360 because it is customisable, and the way HSO work with clients to customise it, it’s not an out of the box product. It’s tailored for the law firm, which is so important for the success and user adoption. Simple things like being able to change the names of fields to fit the nomenclature of that firm is critical.

Summary

The key to success in Professional Services, in particular, is relationship management. And by opening up the little black book and embracing digital solutions like Legal-360, this is now easier.

Legal-360 pulls together historical engagement data making it easier to see past interactions and so prioritise where you spend your time.

It also brings together insight from other parts of the business so you can quickly spot opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell other services.

And the good new is this insight is just there – you don’t need to spend hours collating it. As Victoria says: it’s a game-changer.

Thanks for listening, until next time, take care of yourselves.

Michael D’Alesio is VP, Customer Care at HSO ProServ | Michael has served in many roles during his tenure in the Microsoft Partner Channel for the past 25-years.  Michael currently is responsible for supporting, enabling and strategically leading the HSO ProServ Team responsible for HSO ProServ D365 installed based customers to accept, adopt the Microsoft platforms to ensure they attain business value and user adoption.

Gary Mills serves as Senior Vice President of Finance, Planning & Analysis for HSO | ProServ. Gary’s diverse industry background brings a unique perspective to the company, with more than 30 years in corporate finance, banking and commercial real estate.

In his role as CFO of HSO | ProServ, Brian Lounds leverages deep experience implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to drive excellence into the organization’s financial and practice management practices. Having worked with Dynamics solutions since 1998, he has a strong understanding of technology solutions and their application
to business initiatives.

Whit McIsaac is CEO of HSO | ProServ and brings over 20 years of leadership experience in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem to drive the group’s overall business strategy. Whit was Co-founder and CEO of aec360 and legal360 prior to merging these practices into sa.global, where he served as CEO of the Americas prior to launching HSO | ProServ.

Andy Yeomans brings nearly 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics sales and marketing experience to lead the HSO | ProServ sales organization. Under Andy’s leadership, the organization has shown strong growth and has consistently been recognized by Microsoft as a top performing partner, winning multiple Microsoft Inner Circle and Partner of the Year awards.

Jan Dahl Sorensen’s deep experience with Microsoft Dynamics gives him a unique foundation to guide the HSO | ProServ client success team. As part of the original development team under Damgaard Data, Jan has been working with the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions since 1995.

Joe Stuckey is EVP and Director of CRM Product Development for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM product development efforts across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Joe leverages the power of Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform technologies to design and develop purpose-built industry solutions.

Paramesh Rajan is VP, Technology at HSO | ProServ. Paramesh has served in many Microsoft Dynamics project and program management roles over the past 20 years, and currently drives the development of the organization’s vertical ERP and HR solutions and outsourced development services.

A highly respected Microsoft Dynamics veteran, Jen Wisemore serves as CAO for HSO | ProServ. Jen was instrumental in the launch of sa.global’s US subsidiary in 2007 and has served in a wide variety of roles within Microsoft Dynamics consultancies across sales, pre-sales, program management, and leadership capacities.

John Aschenbrener is Director of Delivery Services for HSO | ProServ. John brings over 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics project and program management, consulting, and architect experience to his current role where he is responsible for driving PMO standards, methodology, and overall project delivery.

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In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Sean Skiver brings nearly 25 years of broad Microsoft Dynamics experience to provide strategic leadership around product development and client delivery services across the organization’s solutions and industry segments.

Amy Spencer leads the team that is responsible for go-to-market strategies, messaging, and demand generation in the US.

Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The College of New Jersey and has 25+ years of experience in marketing management for technology and professional services companies.

As Vice President of Human Resources for HSO, Kristen Ramerini is responsible for initiatives including recruitment, onboarding, professional development/career progression, performance management, culture, and employee retention. Prior to her position with HSO, she worked in human resources and recruiting for Seviroli Foods on Long Island and CCN, Inc. in New York City. She holds an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University and is PHR certified.

Darren Gooding is VP of Delivery for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM delivery across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Darren applies his 25 years of experience and HSO’s industry focused intellectual property to successfully deliver large-scale, global engagements that ensure customer success.