What’s the policy on…? How do I…? Who in the firm knows…? What’s the status on…?
How many times a day do you use or hear these questions at your firm? If the answer is “countless,” you’re far from alone! Issues around internal knowledge management are gaining prominence as law firms restructure their business models to include remote and hybrid work, with many executives pondering the same key question:
How can we help remote and hybrid staff access internal content and resources more effectively?
Knowledge sharing is an important topic for law firms as they continue to digitize their operations at an accelerated pace, and firms need to make several important mindset shifts to set the stage for improving their knowledge management processes. They also need to know what an effective knowledge sharing environment looks like in practice. Let’s dive a little deeper into both of these topics.
Four Key Mindset Shifts for Better Knowledge Sharing
Before moving forward, let’s review four key mindset shifts we at Helm360 see as necessary for moving your firm in the right direction:
- Make knowledge sharing a high priority. Firm information is foundational to your business operations. Knowledge sharing issues impact your bottom line, workflow, customer satisfaction, and firm morale. It deserves to be a high priority.
- Treat knowledge sharing as an infrastructure issue. This critical data is already in your systems. Aligning it with remote-friendly technology (cloud-based solutions, the newest versions of applications, etc.) makes it accessible to more users.
- Reclassify this information as critical data. Elevating this data to the “critical data” category gives it more prominence throughout the firm. Not only does this reclassification promote better overall content maintenance, it also provides for more cohesive content creation.
- Leverage interconnectivity. Today’s business environment relies on interconnectivity. Be it accessing data in the cloud or tapping into the Internet, making the databases that store your firm knowledge as interconnected as possible can enhance productivity at your firm in a big way.
Shifting how you view firm content and resources is the critical first step to facilitating remote knowledge sharing. Without this shift, knowledge sharing is stymied by disorganization and outdated systems. Reframing and elevating these issues at your firm will set the stage for leveraging advanced technologies that bridge the gap between your firm’s knowledge repositories and your users.
Why Interconnectivity Matters
As stated above, interconnectivity is crucial to a robust, highly functional technology. It underpins the seamless workflow and at-your-fingertips information stream that users have come to know, expect, and rely on.
Unfortunately, firm knowledge (user manuals, training videos, policies, and procedures, etc.) is usually left out of the discussion when it comes to building interconnected systems. It’s not critical data, right? So, although it is digitized, its accessibility is severely hampered by being omitted from the foundational, interconnected ecosystem.
Why is this a major oversight? Because getting your firm to the next level when it comes to knowledge management requires AI, and AI requires interconnectivity.
AI-enabled tools mimic human intelligence in problem-solving or “learning” activities. That’s their superpower. AI tools’ ability to anticipate and predict allows it to provide efficient shortcuts for simplifying and streamlining low-level tasks like accessing firm content.
Typically, executives only think about bringing this level of sophistication to critical processes like billing, legal research, and case management. However, viewing firm processes holistically and giving all data equal importance makes it possible to apply AI-enabled capabilities to your entire ecosystem, opening the door to innovative AI-enabled solutions for knowledge sharing.
Bridging the Knowledge Sharing Gap
With your firm content and resources plugged into your interconnected infrastructure, the last piece of the knowledge-sharing puzzle is bringing in an AI-enabled tool, like an integrated chatbot. At Helm360, we use a chatbot called Termi.
These sophisticated chatbots nest into common productivity tools like Microsoft® Outlook®, Teams, Slack, etc. to create a single point of entry into your firm’s systems. “Smart” functionality allows the chatbots to fill the internal knowledge void created when users (especially new hires) are working remotely.
Helm360’s Executive Vice President, Bim Dave, says:
“Where we see the true power of AI-enabled integrated chatbots is in situations where a lawyer would normally turn to an assistant or support person for help with very routine tasks. Implementing the chatbot allows lawyers a quick and easy avenue to ask for help so that support staff are freed up to work on higher-level tasks that they would normally have to delay or ignore.”
In essence, chatbots give each user their own digital personal assistant. For example, instead of asking a secretary who in the firm speaks Spanish and waiting for that person to find and send the answer, the lawyer simply types the question into the chatbot interface. The AI finds the information in the firm directory and delivers it to the lawyer in seconds.
Well-designed chatbot systems also smoothly facilitate activities like remote onboarding. Regardless of where a new hire is located, the chatbot can deliver training videos, firm policies, and other firm-specific information directly to their device whenever they need it. From “how do I edit my WIP?” to “how do I submit my leave request?,” the chatbot acts as an on-hand information hub that’s easy to learn and quick to use.
When it comes to solving a firm’s most pressing knowledge sharing problems, AI is underpinning the latest wave of innovation—and on-demand information assistance is only the tip of the iceberg.
High-level Benefits of AI-enabled Tools
Beyond bridging the knowledge sharing gap and making remote/hybrid work feasible, AI-enabled tools deliver many other high-level benefits.
These tools have the ability to help attorneys streamline research efforts, check for conflicts, and much more.
Dave says of Helm360’s Termi tool:
“Termi is able to interact with any third-party system through its advanced plugin framework. This means it has tremendous potential to transform technology usage and adoption within a firm and drive success.”
AI-enabled tools also facilitate many aspects of data democratization, which in turn boosts business capabilities. For example, AI can:
- Keep data cohesive and up to date. AI-enabled tools can be used to capture updates and additions to firm data repositories in real time, reducing database maintenance as well as ensuring everyone has the most current information.
- Streamline timekeeper productivity. As mentioned above, chatbot systems help attorneys cut down the switching costs of moving between applications and stay on task. There’s no time wasted waiting for support staff to get back with answers, reports, research data, etc. when you can simply ask a chatbot to query your applications for you, receive the relevant information, and keep going.
- Return time to support staff. When IT help desks and other support functions aren’t inundated with low-level requests and tickets, they can stay focused on more important issues and projects.
Implementing a single AI tool to solve knowledge sharing issues at your firm can quickly cascade into a virtuous cycle of benefits. Future-focused technology infrastructure that integrates AI-enabled tools is one of the best ways we are seeing firms keep themselves ready for growth, capable of scaling, and poised to respond to unexpected events.
By making the right mindset shifts around knowledge sharing, firms can position themselves to begin seriously realizing the benefits of AI-enabled tools at the forefront of legal tech innovation. Chatbots are a particularly compelling example of how these tools might be used at scale to solve one of today’s biggest headaches: how to share information effectively in a remote or hybrid work environment.
Smart firms are exploring options for using AI to solve their knowledge sharing problems and seeing massive knock-on improvements in other areas of business as a result. If this is a shift your firm has been considering, there’s no better time than today to get started.
Want more information about how Termi can improve knowledge sharing at your firm? Contact Helm360 for a free consultation.