4 min read

Use Self-Service to Transform Your Legal Operations and Outcomes

By Joseph Lane on Dec 30, 2020 1:41:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_How to Use Self-Service to Transform Your Legal Operations and OutcomesYour Legal Services team plays an important role in your organization, not only by ensuring that its traditional legal needs are met but also playing a part in its corporate digital transformation activities. This is true especially in light of the acceleration of digital transformation that many organizations have experienced on the back of the COVID-19 crisis – which highlighted the many failure points and inefficiencies of traditional, manually-reliant processes.

However, it’s also important to recognize that there’s a need for your legal operations to digitally transform too. Because any reliance on manual activities and processes – especially where there’s now a mix of office-based and remote working – is likely to slow down operations at a time when the effective handling of increased demand and the need for speed are paramount.

Digital transformation and Legal Services

Much of the discussion around digital transformation over the last half-decade has been focused on two “front-office” elements:

  1. The creation of new products and services that exploit technology and data to create new revenue streams.
  2. The improvement of customer engagement mechanisms, throughout the customer lifecycle, that again exploit technology and data.

Your Legal Services team is also playing its part in both transformations. 

However, there’s also a third – and critical – element that shouldn’t be overlooked: the need to improve business operations such that they’re fit to support the delivery of the new products and services and the improved customer engagement mechanisms.

This “back-office digital transformation” is generally replacing antiquated, manually-reliant business practices with improved, technology-enabled ways of working. It’s very much in line with a proven IT approach called “Enterprise Service Management” where IT service management (ITSM) principles, best practices, and technology are used by other business functions to improve their services, performance, and business outcomes.

A good example of this is the provision of self-service capabilities to customers (employees) to provide them with a single, simple route to legal assistance and a better service experience – including self-help when appropriate.

Employing self-service capabilities to improve legal services and support

On the one hand, it’s easy to view self-service as something that’s now expected by employees based on their often-superior, consumer-world service and support experiences. On the other, there are many benefits available to your Legal Services team and the people it supports.

Done right, self-service provides a “better, faster, and cheaper” way to deal with the corporate demand for legal services. Everyone wins! For example:

  • Customers (employees) get an easier way to engage with your Legal Services team. Plus, quicker access to information and resolutions, especially when self-help can be used.
  • Legal staff can firstly benefit from the “deflection” of a high proportion of demand thanks to self-help. Second, automated workflows ensure that work is efficiently passed to the right people, and back-end capabilities such as notifications, approvals, and alerts further enhance the flow of work and outcome delivery. Third, there’s improved insight into demand, workloads, and performance that can be used to further enhance the self-service capability and other areas of your legal operations.
  • The business as a whole benefits from the lower costs of legal assistance and increases in capacity and speed.

Ultimately, a Legal Services self-service capability will be the most efficient and effective way of handling corporate requests for legal assistance – from their receipt (through a single channel), through their handling and management, to delivering the desired outcomes. With this capability readily available to your Legal Services team through the use of the corporate ITSM tool – such as Jira Service Management – and service management principles via an enterprise service management approach.

Learning from the self-service experiences of IT

While self-service adoption is prevalent in the consumer world, the use of self-service capabilities by IT departments – as an ITSM best practice – has brought with it a number of common issues and associated insight into the factors that cause them.

These can all be learned from so that your Legal Services team can offer a self-service capability that will not only be actively used by employees but will also deliver a better service experience, speed up work and outcomes, and reduce the effort required of lawyers and paralegals. Freeing up your legal experts to focus their time on the most important things.

So, when planning and implementing a legal self-service capability, ensure that those involved:

  • Understand that the successful introduction of self-service capabilities is more about the need to effectively manage people change – using organizational change management capabilities – than it is the implementation of new technology. This is because it’s a change to the traditional ways of working for both the service requester and the service provider.
  • Design the self-service capability around the wants, needs, and expectations of employees rather than those of the Legal Services (or the IT) team. Failing to do this will simply cause employees to remain fixed to the use of the existing telephone, email, and walk-up routes.
  • Provide a sufficient level of knowledge articles for the capability’s launch. This is because the ability to self-help, with an immediate resolution, is a key factor in creating repeat users of the self-service capability.
  • Automate the backend. If this isn’t done, then the shiny new self-service capability is nothing more than a web-based request submission system – that’s little different to email – and the potential speed and cost benefits of self-service are forgone.

Got questions? We got answers! Contact us and find out how Praecipio Consulting can help your Legal Services team.

Topics: legal self-service itsm digital-transformation covid-19
4 min read

Provide the Digital Transformation Your HR Department Needs

By Joseph Lane on Dec 28, 2020 1:56:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_It’s Time to Provide the Digital Transformation Your HR Department NeedsThe COVID-19 crisis has changed the world forever, from how we interact with others in our personal lives to the more complicated requirements of business operations. These changes have evidenced the need to accelerate the corporate digital transformation strategies that have previously been slow in execution.

Now, as your human resources (HR) department assists your organization in rebounding from the adverse impact of the crisis on operations and revenues, there’s much that needs to be done to ensure that your traditional practices can quickly evolve to the higher needs of the “new normal.”

Surviving the long tail of the COVID-19 crisis

At the height of the crisis, with people working from home or perhaps not working at all, there was an immediate need for new IT services and support practices to ensure that working employees could still work effectively and remain safe. For many organizations, “mountains were moved” in quickly creating the technology-based ways of working needed to keep things going. And employees hopefully appreciated the potentially new IT capabilities that enabled their remote working – both in terms of their personal productivity and the need to collaborate with others when working within business processes.

Now, with some employees returning to offices and others continuing to work remotely – at least in the short term – there’s a need to formalize and improve upon the “emergency” capabilities that helped your organization through the crisis. There’s also likely a need to respond to the mandated budget cuts that come as a result of the initial and ongoing effect of the crisis on company sales and revenues. Plus, the move to homeworking, in particular, has further increased the importance of employee experience and the need for organizations to maximize employee productivity.

In light of all these needs, and potential pressures, your HR department likely needs new ways of working that remove – or at least minimize – the reliance on manual practices, that while always potentially inefficient, are now difficult to operate in a distributed working environment.

Leveraging technology and service management principles to digitally transform

While digital transformation might seem like something that’s focused on technology and data, it’s ultimately about new ways of working and driving successful people change. So, while this blog covers the improvement possibilities available through the greater use of technology and IT service management (ITSM) best practices, there’s still the need to apply organizational change management tools and techniques to what might feel like a daunting change to many.

In terms of quickly transforming your manually-reliant operations, your organization’s IT department might already have the necessary ingredients for improvement at its fingertips. Through an approach it calls “Enterprise Service Management” – “the use of proven ITSM capabilities to improve other business function operations, services, and outcomes” – with this providing a backbone for the required back-office digital transformation in HR and other business functions. In fact, at a business-level, “back-office digital transformation” is a better term for this approach to leveraging technology and service management principles outside of IT.

Even before the crisis highlighted the many failure points of the traditional reliance on manual operations, IT organizations had already bought into the business benefits of enterprise service management – with the 2019 ITSM.tools Future of ITSM Survey finding that two-thirds of organizations either had or were planning to develop an ESM strategy.

How digital transformation will help your HR department

Whether it’s through the adoption of an enterprise service management approach or via another route to organizational improvement, the use of service management principles and the associated enabling technology will make your HR department all three of “better, faster, and cheaper.”

Examples of the ITSM capabilities that can be leveraged by your HR department include:

  • Automated workflows for issue handling and request fulfillment – saving time and costs, and providing a better employee experience.
  • Knowledge management – augmenting the knowledge of HR staff and providing the foundation for employee self-help, making for better, faster, and cheaper HR services.
  • Self-service and self-help – empowering employees to help themselves via a now-expected, consumer-like capability. It also reduces the demand-based pressures on your HR support capability.
  • Problem management for repeat issue minimization – preventing common issues altogether rather than simply trying to remedy them more swiftly.
  • Greater insight into performance and improvement – with it easier to gain the visibility required for better decision making when work is no longer trapped inside personal email accounts and spreadsheets.
  • The use of newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to improve across all three of better, faster, and cheaper.

Common HR digital transformation use-case scenarios

All of these proven ITSM capabilities, and others, can be successfully employed by HR departments to improve their service and support capabilities, the employee experience, and business outcomes.

Common examples of HR practices that are already benefitting from service management and digital transformation – perhaps via an enterprise service management approach – include:

  • Employee query and case handling
  • Recruitment
  • Employee on-boarding and off-boarding
  • Learning and development
  • Payroll and employee benefit administration
  • Demand planning.

Using service management best practices and an ITSM tools, there’s no limit to how your HR practices can be improved to deliver the better, faster, and cheaper ways of working that are needed in the “new normal.”

At Preacipio Consulting, we can help your organization take advantage of the opportunities of digital transformation and enterprise service management to HR: Reach out, we'd love to help.

Topics: service-management human-resource itsm digital-transformation covid-19
4 min read

Essential Services for Pivoting Your Business During a Pandemic

By Brian Nye on Apr 17, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_Services Companies Consider During a Pandemic

2020 has been a roller coaster of a year, and few would have predicted that this year many of us would be working from home and facing some of the most critical challenges of our professional careers. And while this will pass, many leading businesses are taking this time as an opportunity to break away from traditional molds to better position themselves for the next challenge.

Over the past few weeks, we have worked closely with our clients, some of the largest names in their respective industries, to understand where they want to focus their resources to not only weather this storm but also better prepare them for future ones as well. We found that our clients are primarily in need of solutions that keep the business moving forward, connect employees, and control costs. 

Shifting from Legacy Systems

Servers and the teams that maintain them are expensive. This is by no means news to anyone, but when we look at critical systems and infrastructure, most solutions now have cloud options that are less expensive and perform better than legacy server solutions. Most companies that reach out to us want to understand two things:

  • Which is the best solution for me: Atlassian Cloud or an AWS Data Center?
  • What will it take to get me there?

Offloading your current infrastructure for critical business tools like Jira and Confluence on to more scalable, lower-overhead-cost options like AWS or the Atlassian Cloud can save your business a lot of money, plus it takes the maintenance burden off of your teams. To find out which option is best for your business, there are a lot of considerations - things like data residency and customizations made to your current environment.

Praecipio Consulting has a team of experts that would be happy to work with you virtually to understand the complexities of your situation and provide a solution fit for you. For more depth on the subject, try this webinar on planning your Jira Server to Cloud migration, which focuses on migrating to the Atlassian Cloud and walks you through the steps in preparing for any type of migration. This case study on a project we completed with one of our clients in the healthcare industry is also helpful for understanding how to achieve a successful migration. 

Contracting out administrative functions

Businesses are restructuring teams to best serve their companies. This can take the form of job alignment since people are the most expensive and valuable resource. The Atlassian tools are often administered by folks as a secondary job, and in our experience, this role is one that bounces around from person to person in times of reorganization. When companies go through a transition, people tend to make unintentional bad decisions that negatively impact the instance in the long run due to undertrained and overstretched administrators.

If that sounds familiar, now is the time to offload the day-to-day problems of administration to our Managed Service team who can proactively support your organization's administrative needs and on an ad-hoc basis when necessary. This allows your administrators to focus on their key functions, and it gives you greater peace of mind knowing that the work inside your Atlassian environment is performed correctly and fulfilling your requirements. To better understand how Managed Services can support your organization, check out this case study on how we helped a leading rail technology company achieve stability and more functionality through Managed Services.

Optimizing for virtual work

Given that many Atlassian administrators are implementing requests and fixes rather than providing a solution for the problem, many processes built in the tool are not optimized for virtual work. Processes are often built into the tool that assume employees will be in the same setting, which may not translate well for remote work settings. This is the downfall of a powerful tool that has infinite configuration possibilities.

Praecipio Consulting can help your teams understand the principles of leading frameworks like SAFe, DevOps, and ITL, and we develop solutions that align with any type of work environment. Having these frameworks in place and powerful tools to support them sets you up for success and gives you the capacity to easily scale your infrastructure as your business evolves.  For a better understanding of how we maximized the Atlassian tools for a worldwide electronic payment processor using ITSM best practices, check out this case study.  

Virtual training on the Atlassian tools

As employees have shifted to working from home, businesses are seeing that employees may not possess the level of understanding with Jira that they thought. Without the in-person help that comes from an office setting, businesses are in search of ways to train their employees from their homes. At Praecipio Consulting, we are equipped to offer several Atlassian-designed and custom training courses around the Atlassian applications. We have provided virtual training long before the current state of affairs and can easily bring your employees up to speed with essential knowledge and hands-on practice. 

We are in this together!

Although these times are unprecedented, we have operated and navigated within the virtual landscape for many years and would be happy to discuss your organization's challenges. Together, we can keep you on the path for greater success in the future by taking the right steps today. We look forward to learning how we can serve your organization, but until then, stay safe and stay healthy. 

Topics: blog managed-services training culture digital-transformation covid-19 work-from-home remote-work
4 min read

Navigating a Pandemic in a Digital Age

By Morgan Folsom on Apr 10, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_NavigatingAPandemicInDigitalAge

Right now we're living in unprecedented times. With COVID-19 moving across the planet, families and businesses are having to learn how to keep moving forward amongst an onslaught of swiftly changing information. During a conversation with one of our technology partners, Splunk, they shared their current COVID-19 data aggregation:

splunk image

This got us thinking: How can we best stay informed during this crisis while still staying sane?

Check your sources

First and foremost, with public health emergencies, it is always best to stick to official agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC), or state, county, and local agencies where appropriate. 

Outside of that, it is as important as ever that we check our sources before reading or sharing. Not all resources are alike, and with a situation as widespread as this novel coronavirus, not only is there a lot of information out there but misinformation as well. A study by MIT researchers determined that, at least on Twitter, false news stories spread faster and farther than the truth. There are many ways that both individuals and businesses can be sure that the information they are sharing is correct. As someone who reads a lot of news online, there are a few things that I check for. 

  1. Date: When was this published? Is it recent enough to still be relevant, or has it resurfaced due to a clickbait headline? If an article is old enough, try googling some of the keywords for more up-to-date information
  2. Authority: Who wrote the content? Look at both the website and the specific author for signs of bias and credibility. 
  3. Look & feel: Does the website look suspicious? Most of us have run into a website and immediately turned around - whether that means it's extremely ad-heavy, trying to trick you into clicking on things, or looks like it was made in the early '00s. Trust your instincts if something looks off. 

When in doubt, try searching elsewhere for the same information. If you can find it corroborated elsewhere by known reliable sources, you're probably good to go. Some large online platforms, content aggregators, and social media companies are doing their part to assist in this. Pinterest, for example, has limited all of the relevant search results to only internationally-recognized health organizations. Many major news outlets, like the New York Times and The Washington Post that have removed COVID-19 related articles from behind paywalls, are allowing people access to the content without a subscription. Even further, I'm sure you've noticed your inbox filling with notifications from every company you've ever interacted with, letting you know their contingency plan for their services and their employees. 

pinterest image

Right now, it is essential as both individuals and businesses to be sure that the data we're reading and sharing is clear and accurate. 

However...

Stop scrolling 

Amanda Mull recently wrote about plague dread, the specific anxiety that comes from an onslaught of information paired with a lot of unexpected time spent at home or alone. While it is important to follow recommended guidelines and stay informed about local and national announcements, there's nothing wrong with signing off once you get the information you need. My strategy for this is pretty simple: limiting screen time. When at home, it's easy to accidentally spend hours on my phone or computer, so I try to be conscious of this. When I can tell that all the scrolling is taking an emotional toll, I'll leave my phone in another room and focus on something else (have you seen this Buzzfeed list of quarantine hobbies?). 

These are certainly unprecedented times, but we're more connected now than at any point in the past, and that can make navigating situations like these a bit easier. For more information, see Praecipio Consulting's COVID-19 response to see how we're working through this crisis. 

Looking for tips on how your team can adjust to remote work? Check out How ChatOps Can Connect Your Remote & Traveling Workers or Less Meetings More Collaboration.

 
Topics: covid-19 work-from-home
5 min read

Best Practices for Working from Home: Tips from a 100% Remote Company

By Amanda Babb on Apr 8, 2020 9:14:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_Workfromhome

Given the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus and the need for people to practice social distancing, people around the world have found themselves working, teaching and learning from home. Working remotely has its benefits, but adjusting to this environment has its challenges. 

When I started with Praecipio Consulting in 2013, I was the second remote employee for the company. Seven years later, we've grown significantly and while many of my colleagues are in Austin, a significant number of people work remotely from cities like Houston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Vermont, and San Jose, to name a few. Even as a remote-work-friendly company, we are are still able to support all of our clients, even our largest ones with 24/7 operations and people distributed across the globe. 

In October of 2019, Praecipio Consulting went 100% remote, which was in large part due to our efforts to become carbon neutral by the end of 2020. Previous to this, we had Work from Home Thursdays, where we set a few clear expectations: 

  • Be online and available from 9 am to 5 pm Central
  • Your calendar must be up-to-date
  • Camera must be on for all internal meetings
  • Be mindful of meeting start/end times
  • Use Slack or Zoom for 1:1 or impromptu meetings

The habits we built during that time positioned us to become entirely remote and prepared us for the world's current events.  Below is an excerpt from our internal Confluence instance, where we manage all policy documentation and communication. 

Best Practices for Working from Home

When working in an office, the routine of waking up, getting ready, commuting, etc., can start your day on the right foot. Even though we had Work from Home Thursdays, it became a lot more difficult to work from home every day. There are distractions: other people, pets, chores, solicitors. Here are some best practices that will help you transition from office culture to working remotely: 

1. Establish a routine and stick with it

You've likely established a routine when going to the office or even to visit a client site every day. Now that you're working from home, it's easy to slip into bad habits. We joke about wearing a robe to work or forgetting to put on pants. However, this is a real thing. Working from home is a 10,000-hour skill; it takes some time to master.

  • Maintain your morning routine
    • Having a "commute" is helpful and gets your body moving. For some folks, it's taking kids to school or walking a pet. For others it might be going to the gym or for a run.
    • Hygiene is important. If you typically bathe before work in the morning, continue to do so. Answering that email first thing in the morning while you are still in your pajamas can quickly lead to a day's worth of work without you realizing it.
  • Wear "normal" clothes
    • If you wouldn't wear it in the office, don't wear it when you're "at work".
  • Set your end-of-day time and turn notifications off
  • Set a lunchtime
    • Inform others by blocking it on your calendar.
    • Keep diverse snack/lunch options in your fridge and pantry.
    • If you don't cook (or don't know how), reach out to others for ideas.

2. Create a designated space to call "your office" 

This space should be all yours. Communicating the use of the space to anyone living with you is critical as well. If you're in "your office", other people should respect that space. At the same time, be respectful about working in your space too. Make sure you can keep background noise down so that you can focus when you're working. Either way, communicate clearly what your workspace is and stick to it. 

  • Designate an entire room, if possible, or area of your house as your workspace. 
  • Invest in a quality desk and office chair.
  • Make sure that space is de-cluttered.
  • Focus on ergonomics, not style.
  • Try not to eat breakfast/lunch in your assigned work area.

3. Minimize distractions, stay focused on work and breaks

Distractions don't disappear when you're working from home instead of the office. Resist the urge to do things you wouldn't do at the office like watch TV, interact with social media, visit with your roommate or neighbors, or work from bed. It's important to practice self-discipline to stay focused on the task at hand and know when to take a break. Carve out parts of your day between tasks or meetings to stretch and to tend to things around the house like your pet, laundry, tidying up, or cooking.

  • Minimize distractions like TV, social media, and those in your remote work environment.
  • Schedule time for everyday tasks.
  • Set a reminder to stretch regularly.

4. Set up a physical barrier between you and "your office"

It's important to have a physical barrier between your work space and your home space. At the beginning of the day, you should be ready to start, and at the end of the day, you will need to be "done." A physical barrier will help separate work and home life. 

  • Have a separate room or privacy screen.
  • Close your laptop.
  • Close the door.

5. Switch it up every once in a while 

Once you've established your routine, make some small changes. Working remotely can be extremely isolating, and there are some weeks when you'll realize you haven't left your home all week or interacted with another human. While we are all currently practicing social distancing and only leaving our homes for the essentials, be sure you don't completely isolate yourselves. Take advantage of the technology available to virtually interact with colleagues and friends. 

  • Schedule a "virtual" lunch date or happy hour with a colleague or friend.
  • Make time for exercise at home and block it off in your calendar. 
  • Take a walk around your neighborhood or complex with your dog or just yourself.
  • Listen to a podcast during the time you set aside to tidy up or tend to your home. 

For those working from home for the first time, we hope this will be helpful in the coming weeks. And for company leaders, we encourage you to use this time to explore the opportunities of technology and the benefits of working remotely. 

Other helpful resources

Topics: blog tips culture covid-19 work-from-home remote-work
2 min read

A Message from our CEO

By Christian Lane on Mar 18, 2020 11:45:00 AM

Hi Friend,

I hope this finds you and yours well and in good spirits. The pace of change may feel overwhelming as the world responds to the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. We appreciate your time in reading this message and your continued faith in our ability to deliver services to you through the pandemic. Praecipio Consulting has taken measures to ensure the safety of our staff and our customers. This is mainly by restricting travel and in-person meetings. Praecipio Consulting has always operated in a decentralized and adaptive manner that is central to our business continuity plan.

As of Monday March 16th, Praecipio Consulting returned to being a 100% remote company with both Austin and Monterrey offices closed. Our distributed teams across North America are taking extra steps to ensure that all capabilities are resilient in the event that anyone falls ill. We are leveraging video conferencing, the Atlassian suite of tools, and a host of SaaS products to ensure that our team is able to collaborate effectively. In addition, we have reviewed our vendors' business continuity plans and continue to monitor them for updates. We want to assure you that we are committed to delivering high quality work through these uncertain times and beyond.

We do not anticipate any disruption in services, but we do ask for your understanding in our inability to accommodate in-person meetings at this time. In an effort to reduce illness within our team and to help flatten the curve, we are isolating and practicing social distancing following the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). When it is deemed appropriate, we will resume our in-person capabilities. In the meantime, we plan to have cameras on during our meetings, and give you the personal experience that we have found is critical to successful projects, hosting, and managed services.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. Please let us know if there is anything we can assist with; we've built a business on enabling teams to collaborate. And most important, please take care of yourselves, your loved ones, your colleagues, and your communities. We'll get through this, together.

Best,

Christian Lane, Partner and CEO
Praecipio Consulting


And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

-- Kitty O'Meara

Topics: blog culture covid-19 life-sciences remote-work

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.

atlassian-platinum-solution-partner-enterprise

In need of professional assistance?

WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK

Contact Us