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Company-wide innovation delivers returns

Company-wide commitment to innovation generates the biggest return on investment for the business, says Bishu Solomon of Epiq, a leading global provider of legal services and technology.

Solomon, director of eDiscovery Solutions at Epiq's Toronto office, tells AdvocateDaily.com that more than 200 of the organizations' global workforce are devoted to innovation. However, she says their impact would be dulled if they were siloed in one separate department.

“For us, innovation is a multidisciplinary partnership between all business units,” Solomon says. “We’re putting a great deal of time and effort into innovation because we want to continue to find new ways to service our clients’ needs.

“And the way you get the most bang for your buck, and benefit for clients, is to have people from all groups coming together, and talking about the challenges we face. We are not content with the status quo. We want to keep driving forward,” she adds.

Solomon says companies that focus too much on the cost of legal technology innovations are missing half the picture.

“I was at a conference recently where people were expressing concerns about the high cost of investing in technology,” she says. “While companies need to consider the additional revenue they can generate through the use of technology, they also need to think about the revenue they may lose if they don’t innovate. There’s an opportunity cost you have to factor into the analysis.”

When most people think of innovation, Solomon says that new inventions will often come to mind. And while the development of additional products is one of the aims at Epiq, she says the company takes a wider view of the term.

In addition to innovation for products, Epiq also focuses on the process and the business model, she explains.

“Process innovation just means doing something that you already do, but in a vastly different and more efficient way,” Solomon says.

Skillful business model innovation, meanwhile, involves analyzing trends in the market and adapting practices to match the needs of individual clients.

“Technology is a huge part of how you achieve those goals,” Solomon says.

At Epiq, for example, she says the organization began looking at the huge amounts of data it collects about clients’ business operations via its eDiscovery offerings.

“The primary reason we’re hosting their data is because the client was subject to litigation or regulatory investigation,” Solomon says. “But that’s not all it can be used for.”

The organization’s conceptual analytics tools, which search for relevant portions of documents and group files together based on the presence and prevalence of related words, give lawyers unique insights into their cases during eDiscovery. However, Solomon says the same tools can be used to give executives insight into what’s being discussed within their own organizations.  

“It can highlight issues that might never have been otherwise identified,” she says. “By using data that has already been collected in a way that they might not have thought of, you can help a client turn a pain point, which litigation often is, into an opportunity to add value to the business.”

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