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In early 2023, before ChatGPT began sweeping through the business world, BJSS commenced a project with a multinational law firm. The firm wanted to explore how modern, AI enabled low-code solutions could address some of the constraints of its legacy applications and enhance business processes.
The firm provides expert legal advice and support to governments, major corporations, financial institutions, and non-profit organisations across multiple sectors. It specialises in banking and finance, corporate and M&A, dispute resolution, employment and incentives, energy and infrastructure, intellectual property, real estate, and tax.
Employing over 7,000 globally dispersed professionals and with a stated mission to continuously innovate to “challenge the present and shape the future”, the firm’s request represented the kind of challenge beyond the scope of most technology consultancies.
Following a successful piece of work around cognitive analytics, the firm could see BJSS's expertise in the Microsoft space. Stakeholders recognised that BJSS could be relied on as a trusted partner and could use our extensive Office 365 knowledge to identify the right solution and allow valuable data insights to be unlocked.
A human-centred approach: Working collaboratively with the firm’s stakeholders and users, BJSS and SPARCK began by establishing a human-centred approach to understand the nature of user needs. This approach helped identify core pain-points, such as painstaking ‘copy and paste’ activities and an approval process grounded on role-based access.
Building a Proof of Concept: Next, we built a Proof of Concept (PoC) that demonstrated why the low-code Power Platform was the ideal replacement for the firm’s legacy system. By taking a sample form structure of an existing document process and showing the ease with which paralegals could record data, the PoC quickly proved Power Platform’s validity. It also showed that the firm’s existing legacy applications could work in tandem with Power Platform, preventing an unnecessary, expensive, and high-risk ‘rip and replace’ exercise.
Product demonstrations: Stakeholders were then shown how Power BI could automatically display published data in reports that any authorised personnel could access. Adding to this powerful time-saving benefit, Business Flows and Power Automate were employed to add an approval–status-notification component to improve data visibility and document tracking.
BJSS engaged with the client over a six-week scheme of work that followed the Lean Product Development methodology.
Lean Product Development: Built around the idea of doing, building, documenting, designing, and testing ‘just enough’ to prove a hypothesis, Lean Product Development can also deliver versions of a product with ‘just enough’ features to validate the idea.
The power of doing ‘just enough’: The methodology is proven to save clients the time, money, and effort associated with traditional product development. After all, you don’t need all the bells and whistles to prove that your product idea is worth pursuing – you only need to do ‘just enough’.
Validating hypotheses: Our approach involved two weeks determining whether a low-code technology was the best fit for the firm’s challenge. Upon agreeing that it was correct, the next four weeks were spent validating other hypotheses considered for the project. At the end of the project, BJSS had generated the highest volume of learnings from the least number of resources and was able to inform the client which hypotheses were achievable.
Low-code tools and automation: BJSS built parts of a model-driven application within the law firm’s environment, demonstrated the hypotheses, and validated the automation and BI visualisations.
We quickly validated with users that low-codeas the right tool and unlocked automation by combining model-driven applications with Microsoft’s AI builder.
Natural Language Processing: The AI builder used Natural Language Processing (NLP) to extract key terms from contracts and pre-populate them into forms for validation, eliminating the need for employees to spend time on manual extraction.
Valuable resources released to focus on other priorities: The Lean Product Development approach saved time and effort by allowing the team to focus on doing only what was necessary to validate the hypotheses. This included conducting user research and holding interviews to gather insights, enabling the PoC to progress, and providing an archive of information to aid the project’s next phase.
BJSS demonstrated the business benefit of replacing legacy software with Power Platform in just six weeks.
Data accuracy increased: Power Platform and Process Automation heavily reduced the time junior lawyers and paralegals spent processing SPA documents, increased data accuracy, limited human error, and accelerated data preparation before BI ingestion.
Time saved: The law firm’s end users would ultimately benefit from less time spent on extracting data from contracts, freeing up space to complete the billable work that generates increased revenues.
Errors reduced: Meanwhile, newly deployed automation reduced error and duplication of effort by automatically populating data between systems.
BJSS surpassed every performance metric: Through the lean and agile custom changes BJSS made, prototypes were quickly developed and adjusted based on user feedback.
BJSS also went beyond the initially agreed hypothesis by making space to hear user needs and pain points and demonstrating that each one could be addressed through Power Platform.
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