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Better data, better decisions

A year on from implementing matters+ we speak to the General Counsel of Weetabix, Helen Wilson, to hear about Weetabix’s legal tech journey. Here’s what Helen had to say.

Helen Wilson, General Counsel of Weetabix

Helen is an accomplished lawyer having worked at the highest levels in practice and in-house. She is at the forefront of implementing legal tech and realising the benefits of process engineering, much to the satisfaction of her internal clients.

On joining the business in March 2018, I was keen to understand how the legal team interacted with internal stakeholders and business partners. It coincided with Weetabix introducing its “Change for Better” strategy, and so was a great opportunity to more closely align the legal team to the wider business priorities - we now talk about embedding a ‘safe, legal and compliant’ culture at Weetabix.

At that time, legal work triaging was undertaken by an MLS provider, but internal client feedback suggested they’d prefer a more personalised service from in-house colleagues. We also noticed that outsourcing inevitably led to a time lag with instructions so it was clear that improvements could be made.

My overall goal was to achieve a more accessible approach to the delivery of legal services – a genuinely customer-focused support function.

It was clear to me that the key to fulfilling that ambition was having reliable and accurate data on the team’s activities and performance, which aligned nicely with Weetabix’s ‘better data, better decisions’ strategic driver.

I wanted something simple and intuitive and after an extensive review of what was available in the legal tech space (much of which is cumbersome, complicated or just didn’t work), matters+ was the obvious choice.

We needed something easy to use, and simple for lawyers and our customers – we couldn’t afford to blind them with science! They needed something that just worked.

How did you find the implementation of matters+ at Weetabix?

It was super straightforward and only took one afternoon!

Choosing an ‘out of the box’ SaaS solution like matters+ made life so much easier as we didn’t need a complex IT integration involving our IS colleagues. We were able to access and configure matters+ right from the browser on our laptops.

I now have complete visibility of what we do for the business.

The data and analytics produced as a result of the lawyers using matters+ means that I’m now able to make better decisions across the board – for example on resourcing, to allocate work at the appropriate level.

I have much better visibility on the time it takes us to complete different types of work for the business so we can better manage client expectations, whilst also looking at ways to improve processes and drive efficiencies.

For example, I’m able to identify where we’re giving repeat advice across the business and so issue ‘Weetaguides’, put together newsletters or provide training to prevent that duplicated effort. This also adds of course to our customer focus – we are giving something valuable back to our clients.

It’s also helped us to better focus our time – for example, international accounts for 10% of our business and I can see that 10% of our time and resources are indeed dedicated to international matters.

It’s changed our approach to partnering with external providers too. Taking commercial disputes, we can now easily track timelines and milestones and formulate case strategies and decision trees which generate cost savings through smarter resource allocation decisions.

Using contract automation tools synced with Docusign has also helped us reduce NDA completion timescales from 20 business days to 3 business days. The business loves it!

Another example relates to our supplier set-up process which was quite cumbersome and time-consuming. matters+ helped to streamline and speed up the onboarding process, which resulted in significantly improved supplier relations.

I’m also now able to tell the business what a project has cost and whether savings were made or could have been made compared with going external.

As far as my team goes, by using the capacity and performance data, I’ve been able to make the case for internal promotions, which would otherwise have been far more challenging to justify.

What impact do you think matters+? has had in terms of your clients at Weetabix?

We’ve had a tremendous amount of overwhelmingly positive feedback following the transformation journey of the legal team.

We carry out an annual legal survey as well as taking regular sounds from clients on the work we do for them and the feedback has been really positive, which is music to my ears.

Clients particularly appreciate being kept in the loop through the notifications generated automatically when my team is using matters+. They really appreciate the touch points and proactive approach and it translates to a legal function that is seen as being more responsive, even though the notifications are generated automatically by the system – we’re able to tailor the messages for a more personalised approach.

Access to the technology has also meant that clients now have better than ever visibility of the work we’re doing for them, which results in improved customer satisfaction scores.

In your experience, how has using matters+ made a difference to the lawyers at Weetabix?

We’ve all got a much clearer view of what we’ve got on – it’s much better than a pad and paper!

The dashboards provide us with visual representations of what’s outstanding and are really helpful in terms of prioritising tasks. By way of example, we can now track more accurately data subject access requests, which have strict reply timescales. It’s far more effective than an Outlook reminder on a crowded calendar!

We have matters+ on our screens every day and update the status of matters on a regular basis so we can be more proactive with clients in chasing up the progress of matters. It all leads to a far better customer experience with us.

We’re also now working far more closely with our procurement colleagues on project plans, and by using matters+ we’re able to flag key milestones and critical dates to offer a far more proactive service – we often end up chasing our colleagues to show we’re really on it!

How matters+ helped make you a more effective GC at Weetabix?

This aligns with our wider business priorities – it’s enabled me to free up resources to do other things. For example, we’re able to ask questions like - why are we doing this lower-value stuff? Let’s automate it instead so we can concentrate on the higher value/complex stuff.

It’s also helped put us on the map - people have a better grasp of who’s in the legal team. Believe it or not, the system has introduced the sense of a more personal approach through automated email messages.

And of course, being able to demonstrate the value of my team is extremely helpful. The system tracks every piece of advice we deliver to the business (not just the big stuff) and in a world where budgets are being squeezed and headcount challenged, having the extra layer of evidence to show what’s being done, helps to facilitate informed discussions.

As a team, we’ve processed more than 1700 matters already!

So what would you say are the top 3 benefits of using matters+?

1) Having total and complete visibility of what’s going on in my function.

2) Access to better data means better decisions to drive our strategy.

3) It’s made it far slicker and easier for internal customers to access legal services from us.

Finally, do you think the investment in matters+ has been worth it?

Yes, for sure!

Aside from all the best practices and operational benefits we’ve enjoyed, the aggregate cost savings generated as a result of using have far exceeded its cost.

Put simply, it’s more than paid for itself…

Ready to get started?

Contact us to request a demo and hear about how matters+ will revolutionize the way you and your team work.