Keeping hold of your best people: The value of Viva to your law firm
- Posted on December 9, 2021
- Estimated reading time 7 minutes
Microsoft Viva is the new ‘employee experience’ platform from the Seattle software giant. The first thing you might ask is ‘what is employee experience and why does it need a whole product dedicated to it?’
Both good questions
Enhancing the employee experience and boosting talent acquisition and retention is a major priority for every organisation, but it has grown in importance since the pandemic made remote working an expectation rather than an exception.
Around the world, companies spend billions of dollars on employee experience, including collaboration tools, training, surveys, document management systems, knowledge management and case management software. It’s a $300bn industry, and includes every major software vendor from ADP to Workday, Cisco, SAP, Oracle, ServiceNow, and hundreds more.
You can now add to that list Microsoft, with its brand-new Viva product. Viva is an employee experience platform (EXP) that promises to act as a wrapper for all your many employee experience apps and services.
It’s perfect if you already use Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 apps extensively across your law firm, as it pulls pretty much every Microsoft business-focused product you can think of. The real advantage here is that the Teams is the cure for your ‘app sprawl’ – no one wants to navigate 84 different apps just to book time off or log time in a timesheet. Teams brings simplification, acting as the easy-to-use wrapper for all your business apps. And we all know that ‘easy to use’ means happier employees and better productivity.
What makes Microsoft Viva great for law firms?
By improving productivity while also supporting your people’s wellbeing, personal insight, growth, and professional enlightenment, Viva helps your whole organisation thrive.
It does this in a number of ways. First, it is an organising layer for employee experiences, powered by the full Microsoft 365 suite, using Microsoft Teams as its main day-to-day interface. It delivers personalised and actionable insights when and where they’re needed throughout the workday.
It also makes it easy to share knowledge, skills, and connections in the natural flow of the workday. It’s designed to be intuitive and easy to use to drive adoption and immediate value.
Viva offers privacy and security you can trust. For example, your personal insights are visible only to you, while insights for managers and leaders use aggregated and de-identified data.
Lastly, it provides an open and extensible platform, and a strong and growing ecosystem of partners. This means it works seamlessly with your existing systems and tools, like your HR and learning platforms.
All of this means Viva has the potential to transform your work in the legal sector in 3 main ways:
- Faster document and matters management
Intelligent knowledge sharing hands time back to fee earners, integrating with existing Microsoft tools to transform the way teams collaborate.
- Deeper insights into employee wellbeing
Insights that help your HR and management teams reduce stress, burnout and associated talent risks amongst your employees.
- Better training opportunities
Lawyers learn all the time, so Viva helps you do just that by helping you and your people learn in the flow of their work.
Combined, these three transformative areas combined could yield a value potential of £60m per annum, while learning and communications offer further tangible improvements to employee experience.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these three powerful benefits.
- Find materials and matters faster with intelligent knowledge management
We all want to spend less time looking for the information we need. A big part of the attraction of Viva to law firms is its time- and cost-saving potential. So let’s take a look at the numbers in more detail:
- Deeper insights into employee wellbeing
Lawyers work long hours, and exhaustion and burnout are perhaps more common than we might like to admit. Viva’s Insights tools help your HR and partners reduce stress, burnout and associated talent risks amongst your employees. It’s a powerful way to measure and reduce the mental health impact at work.
As noted in Legal Futures, if you can improve productivity by just 1%, you stand a chance of increasing turnover and profitability by £30,800 per fee-earner.
A 1% improvement in productivity is equivalent to just one additional six-minute unit per fee-earner per day.
Six minutes a day isn’t much. Especially when you consider that solicitors can burn through as much as 6 hours a week searching for documents and files. To compound the problem, these are non-billable hours. If you could reduce that wasted time by just 30 minutes, you’d achieve that magic 1% productivity increase.
Stepping up your knowledge management game
It’s well understood that many law firms are using outdated on-premises software for document and knowledge management. Microsoft Viva Topics is an AI-powered solution that automatically organises content and expertise across your systems and teams into related topics such as projects, products, processes, and clients. Viva extracts information from documents and transfers it into knowledge, letting subject matter experts rapidly curate and share knowledge through simple, highly customisable web pages.
Viva Topics applies AI to existing tools to automatically surface topics within conversations and documents stored across Microsoft 365 and Teams. For example, as you chat on Teams or create documents in Word, Viva Topics will suggest relevant information and subject matters that might help shed light on your in-progress work.
AI beats human lawyers
Viva Topics comes with an AI pedigree. It was born from Microsoft’s Project Cortex, the company’s data and AI project. And if you’re not convinced that AI can speed up your legal work, think about this proof-of-concept experiment: back in 2018 an AI beat a team of experienced lawyers at analysing an NDA contract for legal issues.
Not only did the AI perform the task more accurately than its human counterparts (95% accurate compared to the flesh-and-blood legal team’s 85%), it did it in just 26 seconds. The AI’s human competitors took 92 minutes to do the same job. Ouch.
Viva Insights helps you but tangible numbers against the impact of your work, helping law firms like yours:
- Deliver personalised and actionable insights
Empower individuals, teams and business units to achieve balance, build better work habits through personalised insights and recommended actions.
- Quantify the impact of work on your people and practice
Gain data-driven, privacy-protected visibility into how work patterns affect wellbeing, productivity, and results.
- Address complex challenges affecting your law firm
Use advanced tools and additional data sources to perform deeper analysis, address challenges important to your practice, and respond quickly to change.
Let’s face it, most lawyers are learning all the time. They’re absorbing information from clients, colleagues and case histories. There’s very little space for allocated training days. Peer-to-peer learning is the most common educational methodology at work, where your people learn in ‘in the flow of work’.
This is where Viva’s Learning area comes into its own. It makes learning a natural part of the day, fostering a culture of learning by enabling people to easily discover, share, and engage with learning integrated into Microsoft Teams.Viva makes all your learning content available in one place
Viva Learning simplifies the learning experience by bringing together great content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and your own content (via SharePoint), plus other third-party providers Curseara, edX, Microsoft 365 Training, Pluralsight, and Skillsoft. Additional content providers are in the works.
While Viva is not a Learning Management System (LMS), it does let you integrate with third-party LMS partners like Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba, and SAP SuccessFactors.
Viva as an integration layer helps you address ‘app fatigue’ by reducing the number of apps your people need to connect, get their work done and access learning. It has the potential to change the shape of your teams, with fewer people working on each case or project.