Is it time to embrace the AI revolution?
Discover how HR tech can solve core business problems

Is it time to embrace the Artificial Intelligence revolution? Discover How HR tech can solve core business problems

The legal sector has increasingly adopted AI technology in recent years.  In 2018 the SRA reported that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to increase business efficiency while adding perhaps £630bn to the economy by 2035*.  Law firms are embracing automation and machine learning for legal research, billing, database management, and chatbots**, with 43% of firms considering new HR technology as a high priority***.  In deploying the right HR tech, law firms have further potential to gain a competitive advantage.  So how can you make the right choice that provides a good return on your investment (ROI)?

What is HR tech and why is it important?

HR technology is largely software deployed to automate various functions such as payroll, recruitment and performance management.  Such software is crucial to the modern firm because it provides data to make informed decisions on how you can grow and develop your workforce and the business.  Although AI tech can make a significant difference to processes it is not the tech that is vital but how we think and work differently about effectiveness and efficiency.  It is the shift in thinking that must occur first before we can realise the full potential of enabling technology.

What parts of your business need HR tech support most?

Before being tempted by a persuasive salesperson to make a purchase, analyse what you need from the business perspective by defining your key issue(s).  What are the biggest HR challenges facing the business? It could be employee turnover, falling productivity or disparate systems for recruitment, induction, payroll or performance management, making collating and reporting key metrics time consuming and difficult.

HR software companies focus their products on problems falling broadly into the following categories: talent acquisition, workforce management, learning and development, wellbeing, performance management, workplace productivity, benefits/reward, and HR analytics. Therefore, understanding and defining your priority business problem(s) in detail will provide direction in and assist your choice.  Your key issue statement might say, ‘our retention rate of 65% leads to talent acquisition costs of thousands of pounds per year, training costs of hundreds and lost productivity of more hundreds.’  Intangible costs must also be considered, such as lower productivity due to low employee engagement.

What are the people challenges connected to the key issue? 

The next step is to uncover the various perspectives that your management team will have on why targets/goals are not being met.  This step could identify skill gaps or cultural and communication issues that are causing poor employee engagement. 

How to select the right tools

After assessing and prioritising your business problem(s) you will have a clearer idea of which area of HR tech might be required.  As part of evaluating suitable tool an analysis of your employee experience required. This entails asking questions to gain a deeper understanding of their day-to-day activities and usage to establish their pain points. Deploying a design-thinking methodology helps to connect people with technology, ensuring a smoother experience to solve business problems.  With this approach, you will now be much clearer on whether you need to replace your HR system completely or whether an additional tool can be integrated.     

What is the return on your investment?

Calculating your ROI is necessary to test viability and track progress. The formula is:

ROI = potential savings/cost of investment x 100.

For example, what are all the key financial benefits, such as saving time and money by reducing ineffective processes, against the annual cost of software, first year set-up cost and ongoing cost?  Assumptions will have to be made but you can assess the accuracy over time.

Do think of all related matters that will be impacted when considering financial benefits. For example, a centralised HR can streamline data management, thereby easing compliance management.


A thorough analysis of the business problem and design thinking are essential before making that all-important HR tech purchase. AI tech is changing the way we service our clients and stakeholders, creating efficiencies, but it is how we think about solving problems that is the real power behind the technology.  If people are a firm’s most important asset then HR leaders occupy a pivotal role to inspire action and gain a competitive advantage.  



**2020 PWC annual legal firm survey

*** 2019 HSBC legal tech analysis 

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or if you are curious to know how your people strategy compares with the legal industry please schedule a call or take our people strategy assessment.