Digital's dividends


James Gilding|Mitie Document Management

I’m very excited to be writing my first column for Briefing and wanted to start with an area that is very relevant to my customers and management team at this time. I’m sure we are all aware that the process of change can happen more slowly on occasion within the legal sector, and this is probably for good reason. The nature of what you do for your customers, and the necessary management of risk, means a conservative approach with a tried-and-tested model should be the established way forward.

However, it’s also important to keep ahead of the technology curve in the market and remain competitive. That means we need a balanced approach that combines new ways of working and innovation with a good degree of risk control and proper governance. So, how do we do this in the business services sector? The digital journey is unique to each organisation, and can be influenced by sectors or specialisms, but it is essentially a way of gathering digital change management under one capture all umbrella. A digital change programme also has many of the same challenges and constraints we see with other big projects.

I recommend keeping the focus high level, and articulating a clear benefit to the business and the team members. Any project to enable people through technology will require a learning and development element too, so that the change lands positively and is seen as an investment by all team members.

Also, don’t try and do everything at once – pick two or three opportunities to focus your digital roadmap on. You should probably choose areas that will deliver the biggest ROI, and which can be delivered in a timely manner (so, ensuring signoff for the next phase!).

Any project to enable people through technology will require a learning and development element too, so that the change lands positively and is seen as an investment by all team members

Finally, make sure you resource up properly – not just your in-house project team, but also with supply partners. Equal effort from all parties is required to deliver on time and, more importantly, to a budget or savings target. Another thing I find myself discussing more and more with both existing and prospective customers is their need to build careers, rather than offer jobs.

While technology is ever-changing, and creates new opportunities for automation, we can’t get away from how fundamentally important the human factor is to service delivery and good decision-making. Using technology to enhance service delivery or optimise output will, if properly executed, lead to cost efficiencies. My strong recommendation here is to invest some of this benefit back into the team members through better wages, training and development plans.

Service utopia for me is being able to employ highly trained and motivated people who demonstrate real value to the customer’s business. Employees who feel valued are well paid, and with a clear career path they will be highly driven to achieve great things on behalf of business.

In this 24/7 connected working environment, we always seem to be under pressure to reduce budgets, improve service levels, and generally perform alchemy on a daily basis. A structured approach to developing our frontline teams, and helping them perform better through technology-based solutions, is definitely part of the solution to this challenge. It’s also an area where we can build in a continuous improvement cycle, so we can continue to take advantage of further advances in technology.

Technology alone is not the answer to mitigating cost challenges, although combined with a great people strategy it can be.

This article can be found in Briefing’s June magazine: Cash me if you can



Damien Behan
Director of IT, Brodies


Richard Brent