September 12, 2021
By BRYTERReading Time: 4 minutes
As workloads continue to increase while budget and resources plateau or decrease, legal operations teams are tasked with finding more efficient ways of delivering the same services. Using digital solutions to automate routine work is one way to boost efficiency—and doing so without requiring time and resource from IT is even better. No-code development platforms empower legal ops teams to get the right tools as needed, without any programming knowledge.
The Pain of Repetition
In-house legal experts face numerous requests, each slightly different from the other, taking time away from strategic work. While legal counsel and compliance managers deal with many bespoke tasks, a big part of the daily “business-as-usual” work is repetitive and relatively easy to assist with software—if the right software is available. Whether the responsibilities of legal ops are managed with a specialized role or by in-house counsel, the goal is typically to streamline as many of these processes as possible.
Digital applications bring an immediately visible, enormous value to legal teams by allowing the automation of low-complexity, repetitive tasks, enabling legal professionals to focus on the more complex, bespoke work. With software tools, legal ops can build and improve business process management, smart spreadsheets, data visualization, workflow automation, web and mobile applications, as well as chatbots and digital assistance tools, and a virtually unlimited number of other use cases.
Typical examples are compliance requests based on gift and hospitality guidelines, or responsibilities based on signature guidelines. Those requests are similar and can easily be sorted, streamlined and answered with digital technology today.
However, digital resources are scarce: Well-financed legal operations teams in need of software tools might work with either their company’s IT team or external IT agencies to code custom solutions—but this requires waiting for the developers to write and test the code for the application, plus other challenges that accompany trying to explain project needs to an outside team.
The No-Code Promise: Faster, Cheaper, Easier
This is where no-code can make all the difference. Essentially, no-code technology is just what it sounds like: a way to create applications without having to code anything or use IT’s assistance. In operational terms, no-code uses building blocks and forms to design the logic behind the application, creating visual representations of business processes and application flows using logical decision trees.
Compared to traditional manual programming, using no-code to develop digital solutions is much faster. The core idea is similar to constructing ready-made houses: instead of writing custom code from scratch, users only configure, through user-friendly, visual interfaces. Using no-code solutions is so fast, in fact, that the first no-code applications were used by developers themselves to accelerate their work where applications were similar. It also provides a number of other benefits.
3 Key Benefits of No-Code
- Save time by quickly creating digital solutions that were previously out of reach
While utilizing IT is an option for some, most legal operations teams don’t have enough budget to do so; projects rarely present a sufficient “business case” to win resources from IT. It can take months (or even years) to get a project off the ground because the needs of legal operations are often deprioritized compared with revenue-generating areas of the business.
For legal ops teams that want to adopt digital solutions but lack the time or resources, no-code makes application development fast and affordable. This is why, for many, switching to no-code solutions also means using applications as part of a workflow for the first time, and benefitting from time savings as a result.
If the status quo for writing a contract involves manually entering key information throughout the document, for example, then using a digital tool with form-fills that automatically generates completed contracts will be significantly faster. For Tech Data, one of the world’s largest IT distributors, automating their entire decisioning workflow and using document automation saved the team 95% of their time that was previously spent on manual work.
At ING, Germany’s third-largest bank, the legal ops team used no-code to build self-service applications that saved not only their own time, but also that of their commercial partners—savings that translate directly into higher productivity, improved bottom line and more time to build meaningful relationships with partners.
The virtuous cycle of fast app development also leads to greater adoption of better digital tools. GEA, one of the world’s largest system suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors, adopted no-code to automate repetitive tasks that were taking up too much time and energy, e.g. amending standard documents for a specific purpose. Since adopting no-code, they have built over 20 applications in one year, including document automation and applications for corporate housekeeping documents.
2. Empower the legal team
No-code technology empowers those with subject matter expertise to build up-to-date apps themselves, quickly and within the approved budget, democratizing access to application development in the same way that WordPress brought web development to all.
Software developers who build traditional tools are typically experts in programming rather than law and will not intuitively understand the goals of the finished product, resulting in back-and-forth and development delays. Legal teams are better equipped to know what they want to get out of the tools they are trying to make.
Being able to create tools immediately—without having to communicate the specifications or wait for software products to be delivered—gives power and control back to the legal team. Change management is also significantly easier when the legal team owns the tool and can instantly edit, re-use and update it to respond to dynamic business needs.
3. Reduce the risk of project failure
The beauty of no-code solutions is that they are quick and easy to implement and use, which means new applications built with them can be finished before they have a chance to be derailed by competing priorities. Large-scale, homegrown IT projects are slow, often delayed, and can be upended by a key person leaving the company—and even after substantial resource investment, they aren’t guaranteed to work.
No-code, in contrast, is built incrementally around an agile core, meaning value is delivered right away. A simple no-code application can be built to achieve one goal first, with verifiable success, and additional functionalities can be added on later without impacting the other capabilities. The speed of no-code development reduces time to value and mitigates risk.
Power to the people – Power to your Legal Ops team
Legal ops professionals are already making use of no-code technology in a variety of ways and achieving immediate and long-term benefits, from time-savings to better risk management. For many organizations, no-code can be a key part of technology and process support, enabling legal experts to transform their expertise into custom-made apps.