How can your business make best use of its data to save money?

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David Holm, CEO of Exigent
David Holme, CEO of Exigent

Business Leader Magazine recently interviewed David Holme – one of the founders and the current CEO of legal services outsourcing and contract management solutions firm, Exigent.

Global law firms and corporate lawyers have access to an incredible amount of data and legal information, and Holme explains how these businesses can save on the bottom line.

Holme proposes that removing data barriers between finance, procurement and legal teams, through using the correct analysing technology can help save time, data and resources. This can then lead to a company capitalising on the shared data.

In an economic climate where budgets are always tightened, how can businesses best make use of data that they already own in order to save on the bottom line?

I know that the ability to extract data has been transformed in the last year alone.  It is a once in a generation moment – we can extract, track, and analyse information from multiple sources that will go straight to the bottom line.  In the contract area alone, mixing all the data in a contract with external data sources (FX) or internal (HR or finance) will provide extraordinary results.  There is 3% left on the table by most companies.  That’s 3% on to the bottom line.

How can businesses remove the barriers between their finance, procurement and legal teams by using the correct technologies available to them in order to extract and analyse their data?

That’s an interesting conundrum that we see all the time.  The truth is that you can always negotiate better with good information (procurement), document faster and more efficiently (legal) and enforce the obligations better (finance).  Now, each of those key responsibilities may sit in different departments (part of the issue), but the real challenge is that it is seen as career suicide to admit that your team could do better.

It seems to me that this falls to senior executives to cut out the politics around this optimisation of data and so, results.  Easy for me to say; even within my own team’s fear of failure or showing a perceived weakness – it is a daily battler to overcome.  My advice is to set a small goal and deliver it as a team.

How can teams identify patterns and anomalies?

The range of tools available to do this is mind boggling.  But don’t think that data analytics is like falling off a log.  You do need data disciplines in extracting and organising data to be able to use the vast array of inexpensive business intelligence tools available in the market at minimal cost.  Most companies just don’t have a data optimisation strategy and survive in silos.  If the last 10 years have taught us anything, it is that barriers internally are barriers to optimising profit.

How can this data be used for commercial gain?

The list is quite simply endless.  Think of it more simply.  You already have data streams across your business.  Because of legacy issues they are mostly never mixed.  An example might be mixing office leases with HR.  Why? That gives you occupancy percentages and overhead costs.  So, what?  Well, that means you can make decisions about what you want those metrics to do for you.  Do I want my office space that is expensive to house non-revenue generating staff?  What is the impact of having a standard occupancy?

What are the benefits of removing such barriers?

The most important benefit in removing the barriers between various departments (procurement, legal and finance) is the bottom line.  If you are able to share all your data in a timely, efficient and adequate fashion you can save time and money – the crux of any business.

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