Watch Now:

Workflow Automation for Legal 101

Join us as we explore the world of legal automation from the fundamentals of - what is it, how is it different and why do legal operations teams, from new to established, center their strategy around it.


Evan Wong, CEO & Co-Founder at Checkbox

Dave Moore, Director of Sales, North America at Checkbox


41 Minutes

View Transcript

Evan (00:00):
Welcome to the pilot episode of Go with the Workflow, where we interview world-class leaders in legal and experts in workflow automation to learn from their hard-earned experiences, designing and implementing process automation to make work more efficient and more meaningful. I'm your host, Evan Wong, and my day job is being the co-founder and CEO of Checkbox. And in my role, I have the privilege of meeting some seriously impressive people who have both the strategic mind and the ability to drive change and execute workflow automation programs. And what I realized is that there is such a wealth of knowledge in the industry that currently doesn’t have a dedicated platform. So, our goal with this show is to bring those people who have been there, done that, and go deep on their stories, have them share their wisdom on real practical perspectives and tactics, and help you with your own journey with workflow automation.

I’m incredibly excited about the line-up of guests we’ve prepared for you. Over the coming episodes, you'll hear from industry titans who have implemented workflow at companies like Netflix, Meta, and Yahoo. But as this is the first episode, we wanted to cover some basics. And to help me with that, my guest today is Dave Moore. Dave has spent the last six years deep on a variety of legal technologies, including e-billing and matter management, contract lifecycle management, and of course workflow automation. He has seen many teams in his career go through their transformation journey with workflow, and when combined with his thoughtful and analytical mind, Dave holds an impressive wealth of knowledge that I'm grateful to be able to share with you. Today. On this episode, you'll hear our take on what exactly is workflow automation, what's really legal about it when we talk about it in the industry compared to enterprise workflow, where workflow automation fits within the broader legal tech stack, and how workflow automation as a product is different from workflow automation as a feature in other products such as c, lb, and matter management.

We address misconceptions, use cases, and some of the outcomes of implementing workflow automation and lay the foundational knowledge for the rest of the show. And with that, I hope you enjoy this episode. So, I've got Dave Moore, Dave Moore reigns from our team here at Checkbox. He's our director of sales in North America.  but as you get to know him, you'll realize that he doesn't come across as a sales guy at all.  but, you'll see that come through, I'm sure in this, in this session today. But, maybe Dave, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s your background? How did you end up in the workflow? And I know you've spent quite a number of years working in spaces, you know, outside of workflow,  in legal spaces as well. So yeah, tell us a bit about your story.

Dave (02:50):
Yeah. And nice to be described, not as a sales guy, I guess.  I've been in sales since I was 17 years old, so yeah, going on maybe 23 years now. I think somewhere along the way, I was introduced to cloud-based technology, and I just sort of fell in love with it. And I think maybe most relevant, like I spent the last six years specifically in legal tech and I worked with clients,  all the way from maybe a sort of medium size business, maybe a hundred million in revenue, something like that. All, although the way up to, you know, some of your global, 100 companies, some of the largest, most sophisticated organizations out there. And I just learned a tonne,  working with those folks on projects that involve technologies such as matter and spend management,  contract lifecycle management,  legal hold, and of course, like the thing that we're here today.  and, and really the reason why I'm at, at checkbox today,  which is a workflow automation and, and really just fell in love with, with the idea and, and really had the most fun and, and the most interesting work that I’ve done, I think in my career so far, has been around workflow automation. So,  yeah, really happy to be talking with you today.

Evan (04:02):
Great. And look through the sort of web series that we'll be doing, we'll be covering topics from,  sort of, you know, how to build the business case for workflow. You know, deep, deep dives into specific use cases and getting really deep across the life cycle from ideation through to change management at the other end. In monitoring, you know, woebegone be geeing out on, the details, of implementation and change management and maybe even getting the perspective from CLOs and GCs around workflow automation. So really, we want to create the hub,  and the knowledgebase and the expert sort of community around workflow,  for, for the legal industry. But today,  this session is going to be a bit 101. It's sort of like a lead in the introduction to workflow, answering some of the most basic sorts of questions that are still, I think, largely unanswered,  for many people in the industry. , and so that's kind of the conversation that I'll have with Dave today. Now Dave, maybe just to start off,  given that you have spent, as you say, more than six years in the space,  how do you define workflow automation? I think the phrase gets thrown around quite a bit.  In the industry, people hear workflow a lot, but when you ask them point flank, what is it exactly? I think people will struggle to define it. So how do you define workflow automation?

Dave (05:17):
Yeah, like, surprisingly, a tough question to answer, I would say. So, if I had a one-line,  the definition of it would be, you know, the use of technology to streamline and optimize business processes. But I think even as I'm saying that I'm going to myself like, what a bunch of nonsense that sounds like to anybody listening, right? Like, I don’t even know what that means.  and I think early in my career too, I, as I was, at least with workflow, as I was,  explaining it to clients, I would use cases and I would say, okay, so here's an example of a use case. And still, people walk away going, oh, okay. So, it's, you know, so it's a tool to provide self-service for NDAs, I got it. Or it's, you know, a way to,  submit a conflict of interest, or it's a way to, you know, onboard a new vendor.

And I'm going, yes, absolutely. It's those things, but it's also a whole bunch of other things depending on your internal business process and, and sort of what you want to use the technology to help to automate. And so, I think maybe to answer the question, I will use an example,  talk about sort of some of the characteristics of the business process and then,  help you to understand that example how we, how it’s commonly done, and how workflow automation can sort of fit into that. So,  I’ve got a friend named Julian Marketing for an insurance company. And, insurance of, of course, as we all know, like highly regulated,  everything, marketing-wise has to go through legal. And so, if Julie has, an upcoming campaign, maybe there's an event that Julie needs to get some creative out in, into the marketplace to, to ramp up press for the, the event, or, you know, there's some product launch or whatever the case may be.

Julie knows she has to pass that process, that creative through to legal ticket approval. And of course, Julie's excited about this because she knows that this is probably not at the top of legal’s priority list.  so, you know, typically how is this, you know, done,  Julie has to, you know, put together the materials for her campaign,  she has to pass that through to legal somehow. Typically, what we see in the past is that you know, way back, if you think about it,  I’m told actually, that there were paper forms. You would have a file clerk maybe passing things around from desk to desk to get the proper authority and signatures.  we've obviously progressed from there. And now you have things like email and slack and still phone calls that you can use to facilitate some of that stuff.

And so, you know, Julie will put that together, she’ll pass it through email,  to maybe the right person or maybe a shared email inbox. And there's some drawbacks to that.  obviously it's a bit of a manual effort to, you know, type out the email. Is she putting all of the right things into the email that that legal needs to approve? Is she attaching the right documentation?  All of this is sort of an unstructured way of doing it. And so, the drawback there is that all that data can't really be leveraged in, in sort of aggregate, so that people can see what's going on. There's a requirement or sort of like,  I guess a requirement on Julie to make sure that all the information that’s going into that submission to legal is the exact same information that’s in the source system for her marketing campaign.

So, she's not mistyping things.  and it can be really inefficient. So maybe the legal system gets that and they say, hey, we, we actually, we need some more information from you because we didn't get it all the first time.  The other piece of it is that there's often poor resourcing, you know, who's working on this, from the legal side, is that the right person to be working on it, gets into the hands of that person, very quickly. And so there can be some resourcing decisions that aren’t made very well,  in that situation as well. And all around, I think everybody’s, you know, sort of concerned when you have all this email back and forth, where's the visibility? If I'm a person that's involved or some other stakeholder that's sort of maybe indirectly involved in the process, how do I know where we're at and if are we going to meet our deadline?

And so, I think oftentimes businesses will create business processes around these things which have, you know, certain characteristics. We have a business process, right? So that you can have a predictable result and that you have high performance out of the process. And so,  for that reason, you know, technology becomes a really, really good fit.  because processes have, you know, a sequential number of steps, there’s typically a timeline associated with a business process,  where there’s an expectation, there's an understanding of, you know, what resources that may be involved or required for that process. And so again, sort of adding a workflow automation tool,  lends itself really well because the characteristics of workflow automation map really well to that, you know, based on logic and those types of things. So, if we go back to the example, right?  Julie's got her, her content, and her creativity that needs to go to legal, maybe the process looks a little bit different.

adding workflow automation, because you can design that process and all the steps and logic into a system and sort of offload the responsibility of Julie to know exactly what that process is on the system. You can design a form for Julia, fill out where she knows like, these are the required things that I need to put in the first time. And, and then there, it sort of eliminates that, that back and forth. And when you’ve got structure, you know, different from email or Slack or teams, some of these more sort of,  unstructured , OpenText type of forums, then that data can then be reportable. You can leverage those attributes. So if there are, let's take an example. Maybe it's the size of the campaign, maybe it’s the region of the world where that campaign is being distributed. So these attributes can be used for, for routing purposes, they can be used as part of an approval matrix to make sure that you get the right approvals,  you know, signed off.

And, and of course, like there may not be in this example necessarily, but there may be additional documentation that needs to be produced. So, there's a template and some of those attributes, right? From the fields into the template automatically you can produce documentation with the help of a system as opposed to relying on somebody to go out and search for the right template. And so, that situation now looks like, hey, I, I fill out a form or, you know, through integration, the information goes into the form automatically that gets sent to a person,  automatically the right person documentation can be produced. Even things like, if there's some processing of the data to produce some sort of scoring system or some insight that will help somebody make an approval. And,  and sort of the outcome of all of that is that you get a business process now that's fast, it's totally auditable.

you get all of the right information, you get visibility that you can provide to the stakeholders and, and anybody that might, you know, need to know what's the status of this and how are we doing with it. And then you can take all that data and sort of bubble it up and use that information to really look at your processes and, and make, you know, just, improvements and, and really, you know, get a lot better at, at process overall. So, I don't know if I did a wonderful job at explaining that, but,  but sort of, you know, workflow, workflow automation in a nutshell. Yeah.

Evan (12:58):
Yeah. What's really interesting about your answer though is that you leaned into an example that for many legal departments looking at workflow,  they tend to gravitate towards contracting workflows, which makes a lot of sense. I think a lot of the low-hanging fruit, the sort of,  most obvious use cases sit in, self-help contracting. I think you used the NDA as an example, but with your example of Julie just then the example that she was going through, it was a lot more sort of business process, wasn't it? And, and, and sort of you realize that workflow as a concept, a workflow automation as a, as a tool is kind of like the, the plumbing or the Swiss Army knife of legal ops, where you can really,  use it as a way to,  patch up a lot of the manual processes in the, and actually it’s them, it's the connectedness between legal and outside counsel, other parts of business, each other, you know, the business clients, et cetera. It's very much the interaction layer almost,  whether it's approvals or documents or advice or getting information,  that I took away from, from your kind of,  description there.

Dave (14:03):
Yeah. Like as far as analogies go, right? I have a perfect way to describe it. I like to think of it often as,  almost like a vehicle or, or a transit system.  whereas before somebody’s just sort of relying on, on their knowledge of, you know, oftentimes companies, will put a standard operating procedure somewhere on a shared site. No one’s going to that shared site. Like, we like to think that we have control over these things. Like we rely on memory a lot.  we, like, we rely on people just manually doing things. And so, when you can put this thing that can operate outside of that, somebody says, you know, click a button and pass this information over here, and by the way, while you're doing it, do these other two processes,  that have to take place that maybe aren't even in my department, right?

That just provides visibility or kicks off these other things that need to happen and do it in an automatic way where you don’t have a human being having to, to focus on that. It's just a, a wonderful thing too, to be able to provide that sort of speed and efficiency and really help to take,  I think especially for the folks in legal, you know, that process that I was talking about with Julie and, and probably a whole host of other, processes that are coming to your minds as you're, as you're listening, from the audience perspective right now, you have things that are really high value, like high strategic value for the organization, high risk that, that are priorities for you. And then you have all these other things. And I've heard it like, you know, I, when I get this type of work goes to the bottom of my pile,  probably the right thing to do, right?

you know, as your responsibility to the business, but to the person that's requesting it, that's really important for them to get done. And so, it does have to be done. And here's a way that you know, you can, you can leverage a piece of technology that helps everybody to get them what they need faster and, and to remain a really great partner too, to the business in that way. But also focus on the things that, like you went to, to school, you know, for probably a fairly expensive education. You've got a really high skillset,  allow you to work at, at sort of the, the top of your skillset and licensure and, and really focus on the things that matter for the business strategically. Mm-hmm.

Evan (16:10):
Yep. Absolutely. And, and we talk about workflow a lot and workflow being, you know, sometimes when, when legal teams,  look at workflow,  they get really excited about it, and eventually it hits this point where they're speaking with it, of course, because it's a really important stakeholder for us to, to get on board when we look at vendors. And then, it says, well, workflow automation, that shouldn't be a legal thing. That's an enterprise consideration. Have you kind of come across that before in, in your time, sort of working with workflow the last sort of six years or so, Dave, particularly in the, in the legal context where legal is championing workflow and how it kind of intersects with that? What, what's been your experience?

Dave (16:48):
Yeah, I think certainly you, you've got all over the business there, there are technologies,  you know, and you've got some overlap with, you know, some things that this department wants to do something that legal wants to do. I think that,  with workflow automation, and, you know, there is, it did find a home. I remember hearing this early on when I first heard about it. It was, it was like, it wasn't designed specifically for legal use.  it got, it found a home in law because it was such a natural fit, I think based on the characteristics of the type of work that legal does, right? It's, it, it's, it's a risk. It's very logic based oftentimes theirs,  a, a need for,  audibility and, and these types of things. And, there's, you know, document creation oftentimes involved. And so, I think it just finds a natural fit. I mean, I don't know what, what, what are your thoughts on why it's, you know, more of, a legal than an enterprise IT thing?

Evan (17:46):
I think about this,  quite a lot, and I’ve really drilled it down to, I would say three. Well, first of all, I think I should acknowledge that workflow automation is in fact an enterprise concept. The reason why legal workflow automation or particular tools,  like Checkbox are specifically designed for legal use, really comes down to three things, right? Like the first thing I think you mentioned, it's around legal processes that tend to be a lot more logic based. And I say that because when you compare that with other types of workflow automation tools, as an example like Zapier or Ricardo,  you know, these tools are very much system orchestration, right? They're still workflow automation, but they're automating the workflow between systems as opposed to between people that are typically doing some sort of intake, some sort of approval.  and so it's, it's the type of workflow automation, I would say it's like an umbrella term legal workflow automation kind of fits as a subcategory to meet the use cases of, and the processes of, of legal, I think there's certain, you know, metrics life cycle times that's very important to legal, right?

Often, we get thrown under the bus around turnaround times.  you know, we might work on it for one hour, send it over to the counterparty, and they take two weeks. And to the sales rep, we took two weeks in legal, right? Of course, we didn't. But, you know, there's no visibility in metrics and particularly the cycle time, not just from start to end, but sort of segmented by the different parties that play a role in, in, in the overall sort of end-to-end. And so, I think there are a lot of metrics. There's, there are types of, you know, processes that really lean into legal as a department that is actually quite unique from our friends over in, say, HR or,  or, or it, who traditionally work with systems and not necessarily, you know, the interaction of, of people across the, across the organization. But, the second big thing is I think the focus is on contracting.

Because again, if you look at a lot of these enterprise workflow automation tools that are a bit more logic-based, they still typically don't have the contracting component because they tend to serve,  you know, other departments that are outside of legal. The unfortunate truth is, legal often gets underserved, right? And so, I think legal workflow automation specifically has a focus on, you know, document review, document generation. It's native to these systems as opposed to having to, try and cobble something together and integrate it, right? So, it’s, it’s that kind of focus on self-serve contracting that, that centricity around contracts.  and then I would say the third and last thing is, more of a, more of a point around time to value, which is your legal focus. Workflow automation tools tend to have your integrations with the rest of the Tech stack, your legal tech stack, right?

So, things like your e-billing, your CLM, your matter management,  you know, et cetera, those typically come already, as part of the library, which means that you don't have to spin out separate It integration projects.  related to that is the idea of templates. So again, these workflow automation tools will come with templates. So, you don't have to start from scratch. You already have that base NDA template or the base conflict of interest or the gift register. And, so what that allows you to do is not just take an IT system, which typically feels very IT, and then have to get people to code and customize it before you get to your sort of launchable product.  it's, it's much shorter and much easier and, and, typically is no code. So, the legal department can also sort of maintain and configure itself. So, you know, it's, it's, it's an interesting point because I think like workflow automation, it legal, they, they, they, they tend to kind of sometimes, clash worlds, but, when you look under the hood, there’s, there's a lot of, specificity that comes with,  a tool that’s built for the industry.

Dave (21:38):
Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think it might, I might be changing a little bit, I think, I think it is, is starting to show a little bit more love to legal as legal is starting, especially with tools like this, right? It's, it's, they're starting to, to demonstrate,  that it's not that historical reputation. I think that a lot of that I've just heard over my career is that people want to get away from it, it's like a cost center or a bottleneck or what have you.  I hear all the time, legalists finding ways to demonstrate how they're impacting revenue, how they're enabling the business, and, and this is one of the ways that they can do.

Evan (22:13):
That. Absolutely. And I see that I see that as well as a big part of the data piece. I mean, we talked a lot already about the,  sort of the efficiencies and, and sort of going from manual to automated, but there's a whole entire data layer that kind of wraps around once you start to bring things from, you know, the, the, the more manual methods, and I'm not talking about necessarily paper-based. I'm, I'm talking about things that might, to your point, just by email, slack, and teams where that, you know, communication and that data isn't captured in any way. There are no business insights that come out of it. But when you start to shift these processes,  into more structured formats, then you start to also get the dashboard and the analytics and the reporting around, you know,  how often are we getting certain types of work? What are the types of work, which departments are coming to us more frequently and are there any bottlenecks actually in the processes that have been designed that actually allow us to free up that efficiency in the business, but also, again, be able to demonstrate that value to your point that, that legal has in the organization.  so I think, yeah, that's a really interesting point you made.

Dave (23:16):
Yeah, the, the analytics piece is, is probably the most interesting to me because it's so strategic, but I, I think that there are a few different things that I, I look at like, one is sort of that, that tactical piece, which is what's coming in and what's the volume of, of how much is coming in and how are we allocating it and how quick are we getting it done?  I think that there's a, there's sort of a, a reputational,  piece Toit as well. So, when you were talking about, hey, it came into us and we sent it back, and then it sat with the counterparty for two weeks, and I've heard stories where you get, you know, a deal that goes south, right? Mm-hmm., who everybody wants to point the finger at legal, ah, look at this. And so, but hey, we have the data now.

no, no, no. To your point, it sat with the counterparty for two months at a time, and the whole thing lasted, you know, a year long. And, and, and that's how it got lost. It wasn't us, we were turning around an average of two days or something like that. So there’s that risk to sort of the reputation management piece of it.  and then that third piece I think is really interesting too, which is not just like, how quickly can we turn around work, but the ability to go in and, and look at the process and say, Hey, we, we could see the milestones between when things are happening, like where are we getting stuck and do we need to go and, and deliver some training to the business, or do we need to optimize like the pro, do we need to go in using this low-code tool as a business user and say, Hey, if we just eliminate this step, or if we added this field, we get this piece of information earlier and we can actually improve this process and, and, and then go back and demonstrate to the business, Hey, look how much time we just saved this is, or look how much money we just saved,  you know, through efficiency and, gains really powerful stuff.

Evan (24:54):
Absolutely. And, and, and you've spent, you know, obviously a lot of time in other systems as well.  sort of what, what do you see, and I, I have my thoughts too, but I'd love to hear yours first. Like, where do you typically see workflow automation as a technology fit within the broader legal tech stack? I think, you know, today,  a lot of people when they think about legal technology and sort of the first place they go is either, you know, sort of e-billing where they're trying to get some efficiencies on, on outside counsel spend, or they might look at CLM, which, which seems to,  dominate a lot of the conversations at conferences and things like that. But, you know, workflow automation, you'll hear here and there, you’ll hear it on panels, you'll hear certain people, on their journey get, get a lot out of that.  But, where does it exactly fit if we were trying to create a mental model,  for, for workflow so that people, when they’re, when they're sort of designing that tech stack, where, where, where do you see it kind of fit into that tech strategy.

Dave (25:47):
In, in between, and everywhere? I think that, you know, I wouldn't pretend to tell a business which, , is the most appropriate, for them to do first. I think. So, if you take a look at your, your overall spin, and it's, and it’s pretty darn low, and you're using,  you know, a small group of vendors, right?  do, do you, is Ise-billing going to give you like the, the, the biggest gain compared to maybe you’ve got lots of, of process and a high volume of requests? Is that going to be better than workflow? I don't know. Oftentimes what I've seen is that e-billing can have a huge return on investment, right? So, there are big time savings to be had there, and it's an awesome technology, but,  the workflow can be an amazing companion to that. So as you think about how you're interacting with your vendors, maybe there's certain information that you want to capture with them, maybe there's a certain way that you need to engage with those vendors and,  and you can leverage a workflow tool in combination with your-billing to get further value out of it.

And I think maybe that's the point,  that, that’s really not misunderstood, but maybe not emphasized enough.  In our discussions, Evan is like this, this tool not only is going to live like this, the workflow automation tool, it's not just going to give you efficiency gains from the processes that you automate, but it's also non enhancing the value of your other tools. So, I, I don't ever think of it as a, you know, should I get e-billing or should I get matter management, or should I get CLM versus workflow? I see it as a workflow and get those other things too, and whatever, like, you know, steps that you need to take,  in terms of technology selection, first do it with workflow because you can get a lot of information. You know, I've, I've worked with companies where they said, here’s the honest truth, we don't know what everybody's doing. Okay. And it's scary though, but until we figure that out, we don't know where we want to invest in technology next or in people next, right? So, we need to figure this initial piece out, provide some sort of intake and understanding of what's the volume and what's the type of work and how are we spending our time before we go out and, and invest further in, in technology. So, it's a long-winded answer, but I think like in between and everywhere,  is where I see it fitting.

Evan (28:10):
Yeah, I, I like that answer because it, it, it shows that you are sort of focusing on business value and what is the problem to be solved here, right? Because there is no one answer for all departments. It really depends on, you know, taking a diagnostic approach and, and seeing what sort of,  works for you. But I think, like, to your point, like workflow being the plumbing aspect,  I agree with, by the way, I think it’s like a very useful tool that's sort of agnostic in a way to any particular thing that's interesting about workflow. It's agnostic to any particular use case, which is why it's so flexible to really connect all of the different parts of your, of your tech stack and the enterprise tech stack and the sort of people that wrap around the systems as well.  I tend to see it as having two other roles by the way.

So, sort of theirs the plumbing aspect that, that you kind of alluded to, but, but also one that's really emerging,  over the last few months that I've, I've seen in, in just almost every conversation I’ve had is the front door.  and I think you mentioned intake a little bit there, but it's really the concept of the front door and it's the experience of how the business interacts and, and sort of request,  help from legal and workflow has really emerged as the kind of technology to address that particular,  that area because of how flexible it can be in designing those experiences.  and so that's, that's what I've seen,  another key role of workflow. It's like how do you design that top layer interaction between legal and the business? Then you have sort of the plumbing that you talked about.

But then the third role that I've, that I’ve, that I've always known workflow for actually initially is really around the self-help tools,  that sit at the back of the plumbing. So, it's almost like your catch-all for the rest of the use cases that don't actually fit well in any of the existing systems, right? So if you've ever come across like a process that you wanna really improve, but you're like, eh, it doesn't really get solved by CLM because it's not really contracting or maybe the, the, the, the,  maybe like the, the design is, is, is, not flexible enough or maybe it's, doesn't fit with your say e-billing system or E L M, et Cetera. Often what happens in those cases is workflow is a good ex is a good solution to those sorts of, you know, that's right.

Tidbit use cases all over the place that don't fit into your kind of existing tech stack. And so, you know, it is your self-help,  maybe n d for the more straightforward,  sort of contracting use cases, but it could also be like your, like where would you fit a contract, a conflict-of-interest use case, like it doesn't really fit in any of those traditional, pieces of the, of the tech stack. So, workflow automation is sort of that catchall. So, I would say it's like the front door feeds into the plumbing. The plumbing then has either on the, on the end endpoints, you know, your e-billing, your CLM, your actual lawyers who may need to work on the strategic work, but also you might have a, a, a suite of self-help tools,  or approval processes that's actually powered by the workflow automation platform itself.

Dave (31:09):
Yeah, it's, and it's funny too because what I’ve seen companies do with this, those processes that you're talking about, they’re everywhere. Mm-hmm.  and you, you see it happen with companies and like sort of the light bulb goes off and they'll say, well, we initially brought this in because we had these five right initial processes, we, we thought these are like, you know, things we need to solve for right now. Okay. But then, you know, they, they start to get, and they go, oh wait, this could be good for that. And then somebody else that interacts with that process goes, hey, what are you guys doing with, what is that thing? We need that. And then it just sort of, I've seen it go viral where you are now you've got processes that are being handled by work automation that are even going beyond legal and they're going into HR and they're going into some of these other departments where they can be really valued.

Maybe it's still touching legal, you know, to some degree, but maybe they're not even the process owner anymore. And it’s just sort of spread because it is that thing that can fit in between where it’s like, ah, you know, maybe there's a system out there that handles that one thing, but I don't want to buy a system that, you know, I have to go in and Iota, you know, go through all my, approvals. I got to get budgeted, I have to have it, you know,  build it out and go through this big configuration implementation process. I have this thing over here that fills that gap so nicely, and I can build it myself, like that's, you know, that's where we start getting excited and, and seeing companies really, really excel and get, like, maximize their value out of a tool like this.

Evan (32:38):
I've seen organizations, I mean, I've seen legal departments specifically become the champions of, of almost transformation,  through workflow because of that,  the visibility, like it's Ju it just has so much visibility to the rest of the organization because of how outward-facing it is.  so that totally resonates. I've got one last big question for you. This is a challenge, this might be a challenging one, Dave, but I’ll throw it at you anyway.  workflow automation, we talked about the phrase being used a lot in the industry, and we hear a lot here and there, and maybe part of the confusion is because workflow automation is a category in itself as a technology category, but it's also sometimes a feature of some other categories. Like you, you might hear CLM talking about having workflow automation or matter management having workflow automation. And I think that kind of, that kind of creates a little bit of confusion there. I'm not saying that they don't, they do, but I would love for you to clarify like how do, how you see the difference between like a workflow automation platform versus workflow automation as a feature, in some of these other tools.

Dave (33:42):
Yeah, I, so I think, I think you are right. A lot of tools have a workflow,  included in them, even in the ones that we’ve been talking about, CLM, management, some of those tools have an element of, or even low-code workflow automation built within them, right?  I think the key difference is that, and maybe there's two,  one is think of licensing, so like the commercial structure of, of how the workflow is commonly sold. And I think the second one, which is probably the most important one, is user experience. So, the licensing one I think, is easier to sort of cover,  with no code workflow automation, you know, it’s, it’s not a per seat license, right? So, whereas with matter management e-billing with CLM systems, right? You have,  you know, a seat license.

That means that if you have a workflow that needs to go out for approval to your finance team,  before that contract can get out the door, whatever the case may be,  they need a license too. And,  you know, you may be able to, to make use of some sort of limited privilege at a lower cost, but even then, you, you're still managing a license for a user, and there, you know, getting them on board and their profile and so on.  and so, so there's a licensing piece. And, then I think about the other piece, which again, is I think more important, the user experience piece, which is,  with those systems workflow, let's imagine that I'm, a, a person that’s part of a process, right? I'm not in, le I'm not on the legal team. And so, you know, if I'm, let's say it's matter management related, so there's a legal dispute or there's a matter that I need to weigh in on or provide approval or provide input or whatever the case may be.

If I want to use the workflow in that system, I’m now looking at, you know, going into that system specifically in order to provide my input or intake some information that allows me to make an approval or a decision or what have you. And so, and there, and so, and there may be multiple of those. So, I may be participating in a matter management system, but also A CLM and also an e-discovery, and so on. And so now I have three different systems that I have to learn. And, at least from what I've seen most of the time, that means that I'm looking at a screen that wasn't designed for me, both in terms of how it's laid out, but also the language that's being used. I'm not, you know, I'm not a legal person. So, you know, if I'm looking at, I'm trying to think of a really good example, but let's say I'm looking at a contract and someone's asking me, you know, do we need a warranty clause?

It's like, well, I don't know what a warranty clause is, but you could ask that question differently. Like, does the, do we need to know that the person that's discussing information with us has the right to discuss that information because we're going to be using it in some other way? It's like, that's more of a business way to ask the question, do we need a warranty clause? You can create an experience with workflow that really meets a user in, in layman's terms, as simple as possible communication style.  you can create an experience where they get an email for their part of the workflow that has a link in it, and you click on that link, and it opens up to a page that's got just the information that you need to do your part. Not like every screen that's available within a record, within a, you know, matter management, but just the part you need.

And that allows you to have an experience as a user that requires absolutely no training.  it's the same as any website that you've ever been to in your life. There's an instruction, click this box or answer this question, or here's where you input this information and you hit submit and it, and it goes on to whatever the next sort of experience is. And so, I think sort of like the non-training part, the non, you know, being able to see things in your language or catered, like the experience catered to you, and then not having to, like to find your own way to log onto something. You know, if you have a matter management system and you're working with your outside counsel, you either provide them a login or you have a tool that’s capable of going beyond the bounds, of your system to even external parties, ex-party's external to your, to your company for them to be able to participate in this. And a workflow tool can do that in a way that doesn't require them to create an account and, you know, again, sort of train on the product. So, I think it just, it really comes down to user experience.

Evan (38:02):
Yeah, I,  I was told by someone, a few weeks back,  it's very similar to some of the insurance website products you go on and you're trying to figure out what insurance products, right for you, the user experiences in those tools are so limited to exactly sort of the question that you need to be asking yourself at that point in time with the information that you need. And there's really nowhere you can go wrong with kind of just clicking through answering questions and you kind of let the system that's hidden behind like guide you to the correct point. And, I think that's kind of the point you're making around the user experience, which is you really can't go wrong with it. Like there's, it's almost like it’s, it's a tool that doesn't even need training for the end user because, because it's so restrictive in exactly getting them to do what they need and, and what you want them to do.

and, and, and I think, you know, in terms of the,  the, the process as well, I think,  being able to launch out of different sorts of entry points as well, I think is a very interesting point. Like, again, going back to the point of,  interfacing with the business, being able to embed within your existing CLM, right? Like, you don't have to launch necessarily out of workflow till you can embed workflow throughout all the systems that you have and meet the users where they are, I think is, is another, another key part of,  differentiation. Yeah.

Dave (39:20):
Really huge that it's so easy to integrate with other things because ideally, you wouldn't see a form at all, right? If I'm in, if I have all my information in, why not just have the ability to say, package this stuff up and send it into that form behind the scenes?  you know, like the, the form is easy, right? It makes it easy for somebody without, without the training. But if you've already got data in another system, right? Take the, take the, the, the data risk out of play altogether and, and integrate it where possible. But I, I, I totally agree with your point, like it's the lack of, of training. It's the idea that somebody can get in and use it day one and know exactly what to do because it’s in line with other experiences that they've already had. It's the user's expectation with other software,  that they already know how to use it. So yeah, a hundred percent agree.

Evan (40:09):
Amazing. Fantastic. Well, that's a really good start, I think to the series.  I think we've covered some fantastic points and some foundations and probably cleared up a lot of, maybe misunderstanding or perhaps open questions around workflow before we dive into all the guests that we'll bring on board. And on that note, Dave, I’m really excited for the upcoming sessions. We're going to have, you know, directors of legal ops from companies like Netflix and Spotify and Meta and Net Apps,  and people who have really been there and done that with workflow. , so I'm really excited for the upcoming sessions.  Like I said, we’ll be covering topics from not only how to build the business case, but right throughout,  to, implementation and down to specific use cases and going really, really deep. So, I think this has been a great sort of overview,  sort of pilot episode, but we'll be definitely getting much deeper, much more tactical and action orientated with the coming sessions with all of our friends in the workflow automation space. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of Go with the Workflow. If you found it valuable, you can subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app like Spotify or Apple Podcast. Also, please consider giving us a rating or leave a review, as that really helps other listeners find the podcast too. That's all for now. So, we'll see you in the next episode.

Digitize and scale the delivery of your services