Since it was formed in 2017, business-to-business IT services titan DXC Technologies has been a pioneer in digital innovation. Head of legal for greater China, Ivy Wu outlines what this commitment to innovation means for the legal team.
Digital transformation is a hot topic right now and DXC Technologies is an industry leader in this field. We leverage technological innovations to deliver better business outcomes by driving new levels of performance, competitiveness and lower prices. Put simply, we work hard to make sure other businesses stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology.
The legal team has embraced this approach. As [DXC general counsel] Bill Deckelman said, the digital innovation tools that our department has had access to since 2017, [when DXC was formed through a merger of the recently spun-off Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Enterprise Service segment and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC)], represent a unique opportunity to position our legal team as global thought leaders in legal digital transformation.
From the very start of our journey we aimed to do something different, partnering with UnitedLex to help restructure the global legal team. At the time, this was the largest-ever managed services transaction in the legal space. By bringing in new technologies we have developed a far more agile way of working that enables us to cover more ground than ever before. We have created a digital platform housing legal research, templates and advice. This allows us to provide a lawyers on demand service for a range of matters, from documentation to compliance, from litigations to procurement. Supplementing this, AI-based legal tools and machine learning allow us to better predict risks, understand customers’ problems and improve performance.
This technology has undoubtedly improved our efficiency. It can streamline templates and playbooks, assist with negotiations, help with training and rationalise workflows. It also allows each team member to properly track their work in real time so the management team is constantly aware of the progress being made on a matter. This means management can identify gaps in our coverage and move to respond to potential issues faster than ever before.
It has also helped us show management the value our team brings to the company. We can track the value of each matter we are supporting, whether that is by managing litigation risk or contributing to new business. The feedback from business has been very positive. They are able to see that the cost saved or value added by the legal department far exceeds our budget.
Technology reduces the barriers to collaboration across functions. It can be a useful way of working with various business units to identify pain points, opportunities and solutions. In fact, the new ways of working we have developed have been so successful that we plan to make remote working, at least to some degree, a permanent feature of the way we operate. Technology will not replace lawyers, but it will require a re-imagining of resources, both technical and personal. Legal work will place much more emphasis on the ability to collect, analyse and process relevant data.
The push to introduce new legal technologies is to be welcomed, but there is still a long way to go. Many of the new tools that have come to market are very complex, does not allow for optimisation, and requires a big time commitment on the part of GCs to fully learn its functionalities. Of course, the more time you have to spend learning a new system, the less effective it is as a cost-saving tool. Team members may also need to repeatedly log in, complete registration forms, or provide other information.
International legal service providers should also consider customising their products to work in Mandarin, or tailoring them to fit local cultural usage. China is a very large market, and enhanced support for our lawyers would be beneficial to both domestic businesses and multinational companies.
There is no doubt that legal technology has helped everyone in the market improve their performance. Most interesting has been the impact it has had on the judicial system. The ability to file lawsuits electronically or attend virtual hearings has proved very successful in China. This is a very important development, especially for employees of multinational companies who are not able to be physically present during the course of a matter. Other developments are even more surprising. While previously it was very time consuming to notarise electronic evidence, we are now able to apply blockchain technologies to preserve electronic evidence.
There are a lot of changes taking place. Our mission in the DXC legal department is to understand these changes, learn as much as possible about the technologies powering them and, most importantly, to be at the forefront of any future change.