As part of my ongoing review of technology systems supporting professional service firms (PSFs), I went along recently to speak to Mark Bilson of Intapp. Intapp is an interesting cloud-based platform as Intapp integrates technology and information across the client life cycle at a firm – once understood the potential impact of the platform is far-reaching
The platform leverages data, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) across the client lifecycle – to allow the interrogation and analysis of information on clients, projects (matters) and people regardless of where it is captured. It therefore supports applications such as profitability analysis, risk management, client journey mapping and pitch support. They call it “transformative technology” and I would tend to agree with them.
There are three main components to the platform:
- Client development – Covering applications such as pricing, client experience mapping, pitch support and key account management (typically used by marketing and business development staff)
- Business acceptance – Onboarding/client acceptance, conflict checking and management, terms and conditions monitoring and (Chinese) walls operation (typically used by risk management and compliance teams)
- Client delivery – Time recording, project management and work flow analysis (typically used by the finance department but also supports cross-selling initiatives)
Focusing on client development, the platform empowers:
What particularly impressed me was that the system could search (or mine) narratives on time records, emails, documents and bills. This means that even though you haven’t coded or classified information in practice management, financial, human resources (HR), time recording, web sites or other systems, Intapp can find it for you with its “elastic” searches. This makes searches for relevant experience in people, transactions or sectors easy to find as you analyse the profitability of different types of work or referrers or prepare pitches and tenders. The machine learning component means that the system may identify trends that require further investigation.
Smart data capture
The “passive capture” of data makes research easier too – with facilities to automatically grab corporate trees from commercial systems such as D&B. Some firms have used the facility to automate people on-boarding – updating all systems with information about new joiners automatically.
But there is also “active capture” of data. Where information is unverified or missing in the firm’s systems, Intapp can automatically alert fee-earners to prompt them to complete it. One UK law firm found that over 90% of these alerts were actioned meaning that they now have over 1,000 accurate credentials statements on their systems.
Implications for marketing and business development
One of the main barriers to marketing and business development success in professional service firms has always been the lack of data. This can be because the data is held in systems such as time-recording or practice management systems rather than CRM-based applications. Or because the data is held as tacit knowledge in the heads of fee-earners who have not encoded it into the firm’s systems.
To be able to access all of the firm’s data – and supplement it with verified external sources – means that marketers and business developers now have an extremely powerful tool that can be used to drive all manner of applications from profitability analysis and pricing, through client experience management and cross-selling and on to pitching and tendering.
There is clearly a competitive advantage available to those firms who adopt the technology to improve efficiency and identify ways in which to innovate their internal operations and external service delivery.
About Intapp and its users
There are 700 professional service firms using Intapp including 96 of the US top 100 law firms, five Magic Circle law firms in the UK, two of the big four accountants and eight of the top 10 economic consultancies. Six new clients have signed in the last six months so the user base is constantly growing.
All systems commonly used in professional service firms can be used with Intapp including all the financial management systems such as Elite and Aderant, document management systems and leading CRM systems such as InterAction.
The system is purchased on a subscription basis. Users have between 50 and 4,000 fee-earners. Typically, it takes as little as a year for Intapp to be installed and integrated.
Intapp was established 17 years ago and employs 500 people. There are 135 in its engineering team in Silicon Valley including data scientists and legal technologists.
Video of Clyde & Co (conflict checking) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm1PZ6-lydw
Video of Osborne Clark (technology strategy supporting innovation) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLDIM45-P7k
Video of Foot Anstey (time recording) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu0NqHgTi-4
The system recently won an award for data-driven business development for peer monitoring.