Lawyers turn to ‘big picture’ apps

Consumers take it for granted that when launching a smartphone app, they will see clear metrics telling them, for example, how many miles they have traveled or how much they are spending. So corporate lawyers are now borrowing from this approach of visualizing data in the form of charts and maps to show the value of their work.

Last year, as geopolitical tensions rose, in-house lawyers at private equity firm Carlyle created a platform to visualize risk exposures in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. “It gave us the ability to have full transparency at all levels,” says Heather Mitchell, Group Head of Emea Region, Chief Risk Officer and Global General Counsel for Investments. Collecting all the data in one place allowed the team to make nuanced decisions.

Lawyers at Japanese technology company Fujitsu decided to make data visualization a daily activity. Ben Shillito, Head of Digital Services for the Legal Department, says, “We needed the right resource to do the right job, so we decided to get a feel for what was going on.”

Within its service desk, lawyers collect 150,000 data points per month from company requests. They also use workflow dashboards to see where work is allocated and to track how quickly transactions are completed. But, as Shillito points out, getting deep insights with business value requires many years of data: “You’re in it for the long haul.”

Case studies:
outstanding examples of innovative work by in-house legal teams can be found here

Multinational brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev has been building its data infrastructure since acquiring SABMiller in 2016. Its new Lighthouse project is a dashboard that visualizes risks on company IT systems and digital assets, global scale.

The company has more than 500,000 data points to work with, drawn from risk assessments performed by different teams, such as cloud security checks or automated security software reports. Diogo Figueiredo, Global Director of Data Privacy and Digital Risk, explains: “We need a consistent view of risk. We can’t let the cybersecurity or data privacy team say a product is great if IT compliance has a different opinion. » Combining data will lead to consistency.

The challenge was to design a matrix that could meaningfully analyze the data based on the materiality of the asset and the nature of the risk. The results of the automated analysis are presented on a color-coded Lighthouse dashboard that gives AB InBev a nuanced picture of risk across all of the company’s digital assets.

The success of these projects depends on building the right information architecture and gathering the right skills. “All the benefits are realized in how this transformation empowers and empowers people,” says Shillito at Fujitsu. As a team leader, he has 40 people working on digital projects ranging from contract standardization to data privacy. “We want a team that doesn’t just identify as lawyers,” he says. “The Law is a toolbox – you are a flexible advisory resource for the business.”

The in-house team in this report that best demonstrates this quality is French video game maker Ubisoft. Its product designers and user interface (UX) experts work with attorneys to design legal services that are easier to use for the business.

The approach stems from chief innovation officer Jean-Philippe Doho’s aversion to a widespread tendency to jump on new technological solutions without proper prior research.

“Having a product designer and a UX designer was really effective,” he says. “We were asking: what is the existing process and how can we transform it into a more user-centric experience?”

Just like for consumers, if technology is easy to use and attractive in the workplace, use becomes habitual and even enjoyable.

A user-friendly interface was crucial for AB InBev as it is key to the adoption of technology in the legal team and across the business.

The brewing group’s executives need to understand how to easily operate its Lighthouse system, says Rodrigo Cunha, AB InBev’s global director of legal, ethics and compliance.

Ensuring staff understand the risks and are accountable across the business is critical, he adds. “We have to prepare them and empower them to do that.”

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