With approximately 5,200 people, including some 530 partners, working in 44 offices worldwide, Allen & Overy is one of the world’s largest law firms, providing legal advice in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
As one of the first firms to provide a range of client facing online products, Allen & Overy had previously built its own bespoke client portal product, with the technology being a key differentiator for the firm in the legal space. Since then, with the availability of secure cloud solutions, the firm has been able to focus entirely on the content, leaving the technology to HighQ Publisher. Mark Dibble, Head of Online Services, explains how Allen & Overy is redefining the client experience.
The challenge: personalised client content – buy vs build
For over ten years, Allen & Overy has been publishing aggregated personalised content to its clients.
In 2009, having recognised that technology built in-house is no longer a differentiator, the firm looked to moving its offering to the cloud.
Mark explains: “What we actually want to do is license the best technology available in the cloud so we don’t have to worry about looking after the technology, we want to focus on content and the client experience and that’s where we’re going to differentiate.”
Reducing technology costs and freeing up time to focus on value adding client services was the objective for the firm at this juncture.
The solution: a content hub with multiple uses
Moving to HighQ Publisher enabled Allen & Overy to make this shift to the cloud, while migrating, maintaining and building upon their online product offering.
Six years on, having recently upgraded to the vastly improved latest version Publisher 4, the service is going from strength to strength. Known amongst Allen & Overy’s clients as aohub, it hosts a huge back catalogue of content, 21 cross-border guides and microsites and is also, more recently, used for key client management.
“We have three main uses at the moment,” says Mark. “One is the elibrary, which is a current awareness service of client facing know how and publications, with an archive going back to 2006.”
“We also heavily use the comparison toolkit, which we call cross-border guides,” he explains. “The guides provide access to the global institutional knowledge within A&O, across various legal topics and business areas, and are hugely popular with our clients.”
“The third use case is providing bespoke content to client organisations,” says Mark: “Clients will log onto aohub and we might provide key contact details, training materials and specific publications that we think are useful to them. Basically it’s a very focused and tailored client experience and a great way to manage key clients.”
Mark cites Publisher’s wide feature set, granular permissions and ease of use as what sets it apart. “Publisher’s toolset is really rich, extremely functional, and extremely reusable,” he explains.
“Obviously HighQ is competing against other products that specialise in a more narrow set, but the depth of features combined with integrations with other technology providers in the space actually makes the offering more sticky,” Mark says. “The platform’s ease of use for someone contributing content, whether that’s a blog, publication or something else, makes it very compelling.”
The results: redefining the client experience
According to Mark, Publisher has allowed the firm to take the client experience on to the next level.
“We think Publisher is a very powerful engine to help drive personalised content to clients. As an organisation we create an awful lot of content so whilst it’s great to have that breadth and depth of content available for our clients, that brings its own problems,” he says.
“You’ve got to be able to provide good experiences to clients – they don’t want to spend time searching for information, they want to find what’s relevant to them as quickly as possible. Publisher does that very well – it allows clients to personalise their experience of aohub, from email alerts to topical dashboards, and it allows us to promote the content that we feel is relevant to them – so that’s been really positive.”
In particular, it’s becoming a very useful tool for the Allen & Overy’s client relationship teams.
“Our marketing and client relationship teams are excited by the audit information and reports that you can generate from the system which is really helpful in trying to get a sense for how clients are using our content and how they’re navigating through it, which starts to paint a picture of what’s on their minds today,” he explains.
External feedback has also been great, says Mark: “People enjoy using the products, particularly as they are optimised for mobile, which is going down well. I think people are really engaged with the modern look and sense of freshness. It’s easier for clients to use and that’s really the key thing.”
From Mark’s point of view, the time and cost savings are evident: “Once we’ve paid our license, we’re not spending additional money to create new products on this technology so that’s changing the ambition within the organisation.”
“Say 10-15 years ago, it would cost us up to £15,000 to create a microsite around a particular legal topic, but now people can actually think about creating products that might have quite a short shelf life, because the technology costs and overheads are very low,” he explains. “If we want to make a new product available for 3-9 months to cover the implementation, say on a new piece of EU legislation, then the technology allows us to do that quickly and economically.”
In conclusion: strengthened value and future potential
Publisher has enabled Allen & Overy to offer a wider footprint of client focused digital experiences in a single place.
Mark concludes: “Publisher really does offer a good, single content solution. It allows us to provide content in numerous channel types, and in time we’ll make more of the mix of public and gated content going forwards. It’s clear to me that HighQ Publisher could be used for other major use cases for law firms including intranets and corporate websites. I’m very excited to see how HighQ develops that roadmap over the next 2-3 years.”
HighQ (highq.com) is a leading provider of secure document exchange and team collaboration software. We provide innovative collaboration and publishing products to some of the world’s leading law firms, investment banks and corporations. We uniquely combine secure, enterprise-grade document management with the best corporate social tools. Now you can securely exchange critical business information and collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners in one unified space.
About Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy (www.allenovery.com) is a leading global law firm with 44 offices in 31 countries. At a time of significant change in the legal industry, we are determined to continue leading the market as we have done throughout our 86-year history. We will do this by ensuring we always challenge ourselves to bring new and original ways of thinking to the complex legal challenges our clients face.