Business Intelligence for law firms: getting started

Which roles in a law firm can benefit from Business Intelligence? Partners, barristers, solicitors, finance directors, financial controllers… They all have different insight and reporting needs. Here, we describe the most common needs in the law industry.

Written by: Jacob Sanchez Garcia, Consultant Business Intelligence, Abakion

You have already started with BI

If you use a case processing and financial management system (such as Navokat, Capto, Unik, Advopro etc.), you already have a lot of data that can be translated into insight and effective reporting that will enable you to make informed decisions and follow up on objectives and performance.

In other words, you are already well on your way to realizing your law firm’s data potential, and fortunately it has now become easier than before to collect, structure and analyse data and generate insight.

Law firms’ increasing desire for business insight and growing need for reporting and analysis has led to a proliferation of BI tools. This also means that what used to be the preserve of the few, requiring considerable outlay and specialized development and data analysis skills, has now become more accessible.

Which tool is right for you depends on your specific needs – and your budget.

What functionality do you need?

What sort of data do you want to drill down into, and where does it come from? Who is going to use the tool, and how will you and your colleagues access and share insight? What are your user interface and feature requirements?

These are just a couple of the questions you should ask yourself when choosing a Business Intelligence tool.

After the choice of BI tool comes the exercise of collecting and structuring data and setting up the reports and metrics (KPIs) that are important to your company. What you want the BI solution to help with is something that is individual to each company, and it will also vary according to the role you are in.

Where law firms are concerned, though, there are some reports and KPIs that are very common in the industry.

BI for the law firm

In a law firm with partners, barristers, solicitors, financial controllers, secretaries etc., there are many different needs for a BI solution to meet.

Partners and lawyers will typically need an overall view of the business as a whole, spanning case areas, clients and staff, and will require reports and metrics on billing and chargeability rates, time worked, production and case surplus/deficit.

For their part, lawyers want to be able to keep up with developments in their own cases and get updates on agreed turnover and invoicing objectives.

Finally, the finance director and financial controller will be more interested in financial figures relating to income and expenditure, budget follow-up, preparation of monthly and annual accounts and miscellaneous periodic reporting.

The above is just a selection of the most common things that might be required of the BI solution in a law firm; depending on the complexity of your firm and the roles in it, many more are conceivable.

We can recommend Power BI

At Abakion, we ourselves use Microsoft Power BI together with Navokat and Dynamics NAV. It is an easy-to-use BI tool with broad functionality and an intuitive user interface. Microsoft Power BI has just been named as one of the leading systems by analysis company Gartner – for the eleventh year in a row (1).

Anyway, that is one possibility, but the most important thing is for you to choose a solution that suits your case processing and financial management system.

If you want to have a look at Abakion’s BI solution for law firms, you can see more on our website here. We have created a BI solution specifically designed for lawyers that works out of the box and can be taken into use straight away. Data structuring and report and visualization development are ready to go, and you can drill straight down into the figures and open up new insights into your business.

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