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LegalApril 17, 2023

Legal Leaders Exchange: Change management with AI-driven technology

It is widely accepted that strong change management is a critical contributor to success when introducing new technologies to users. When that new technology is AI-driven, the change management challenge can become more complex because of the impact these solutions can have on a legal department’s processes. Given the extraordinary level of benefit such technology can yield, however, rising to the additional challenge is worthwhile.

This is the focus of the conversation on the most recent episode of our Legal Leaders Exchange podcast featuring Jeffrey Solomon, Senior Director of Product Management at Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions, and Abhishek Mittal, Vice President of Data Analytics and Operational Excellence at Wolters Kluwer. Both have extensive experience helping legal teams successfully implement AI-enabled solutions, which gives them perspective on how legal leaders can guide users in a successful transition to these breakthrough technologies.

Here, we cover a few of the highlights of that discussion.

What is the challenge?

When users are accustomed to accomplishing tasks with tools and processes they are used to and understand well, it can be difficult for them to adapt to new ways of working. This is an obstacle that can be overcome by well-planned change management. However, AI-enabled solutions are being introduced, there is an additional layer of complexity to be dealt with.

Unlike traditional software solutions that generate a limited set of expected outcomes, AI-enabled solutions are not deterministic and are less predictable. Because AI-enabled software is probabilistic, it allows for a broader scope of outcomes, sometimes encompassing nuance that isn’t present with traditional software. Particularly when users are more familiar with clear black-and-white results from their software, this difference can lead to uncertainty and resistance, which make change management somewhat more difficult.

There are steps legal departments can take, however, to prevent these issues from arising and build user acceptance and enthusiasm for the new solution. It may require a little bit more work, but the efficiency and performance gains that AI can introduce are well worth the additional effort.

Prepare users early in the process

The most important ingredient in AI-related change management is awareness. When you make users aware of how the AI-enabled solution works and give them the opportunity to experience it for themselves, it helps demonstrate the benefits and earn trust. Some of the ways this can be accomplished include:

  • Conducting a proof of concept that gives end users a dry run with the solutions before they need to use it to do their jobs
  • Engaging change agents, team members who can act as early adopters and then teach their colleagues about the solution
  • Being transparent by talking about the weaknesses in addition to the benefits. This sets users up with the right expectations and gives them the confidence to understand how to respond when something doesn’t go as expected.

Make the right selection

The process of choosing a solution is often not considered as part of the change management program. However, your change management efforts can only be built on a solid foundation if you make the right choice of solutions in the beginning. There are aspects of the selection process that can position you for stronger change management down the line.

The very first step is to look inward and gain a solid understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. The team members evaluating solutions must have a firm grasp of the goals and pain points, and solving these issues should be at the top of the team’s priority list. This will help to ensure that the solution you choose will truly make an impact and not simply add another process or step.

With that understanding, you are ready to look outward at potential solutions and vendors. The support model a vendor offers can have a significant impact on your change management efforts. With an AI-enabled solution, models need to be updated regularly, and it is important to know how and often each solution you consider gets these updates. Also, who will be available to support you and your team in your work? Does the vendor offer access to customer support staff only? Or will you also be able to talk to the data and domain experts behind the solution?

To hear the full discussion or to read the transcript, visit the podcast page: Legal Leaders Exchange: Change management is hard, but even harder with AI. If you are a podcast app user, be sure to follow our Legal Leaders Exchange show on your favorite app (Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon / Audible.comiHeart Radio), to make sure that you don’t miss any of our informative episodes. 

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