“Nearly 100% Adoption”—How Workday Used Tonkean To Fix Intake

Executive Summary: 
  • The Problem: Manual Matter Creation and Low Process Adoption. Workday needed help with legal matter intake. The Workday Legal Ops team was creating matters entirely manually, and adoption of prescribed intake processes was intractably low. 
  • The Solution: Tonkean's AI-Powered Intake Orchestration. Workday turned to Tonkean AI-powered intake orchestration for help. “Tonkean aligned perfectly with our strategy,” said Kenny Trinh, who leads Workday’s Legal Automation Group. “Tonkean allows us to meet employees where they’re at, intelligently sort requests, and automate actions on them after they’ve come in.”
  • The Results:  ~100% Adoption of Workday's Key Intake Process. Next up, they’re working to leverage Tonkean’s Legal AI Front Door to make “Submitting intake or updating policies even easier.”

Workday’s Legal Ops process adoption problem

Kenny Trinh is a data analytics program manager at Workday, a top provider of financial management and human capital management software. 

Kenny leads Workday’s Legal Automation Group. His charge is to help the Workday Legal Ops team better support the Workday Legal org, composed of some 210 legal professionals worldwide.

Kenny has helped the Workday Legal Ops teams solve a number of key operational problems over the years, but their focus heading into 2023 was transformation, agility, and simplification. 

The team wanted to simplify complex processes and remove bottlenecks on their own agility, which would help them improve process adoption, and, in turn, better serve the legal team.

“We had too many different processes spread out across too many different systems,” Kenny said recently, in a webinar he co-hosted with Tonkean and Legal Operators about fixing legal intake. Employees couldn’t keep track, and so instead of following the processes Kenny’s team had designed—for submitting intake requests, for example—they’d just go straight to the Legal Ops team via email or Slack. This would force even more manual work onto Legal Ops. 

Kenny wanted to leverage automation technology to transform these processes one by one. He started with legal matter intake.

Watch the webinar here:

The process: legal matter intake.

Legal intake is a headache in most every enterprise. 

It’s complicated by lots of low-risk, high-volume tasks that come in via disparate intake channels. 

But for this reason, it also represents low-hanging fruit for innovation.

Take, for example, Workday’s old process for outside counsel billing. Any time that outside counsel wants to bill, they need a new matter created. Kenny’s team would have to manually create that matter inside the e-Billing system themselves. Automating this, Kenny knew, would have massive downstream effects.

The problem: lots of manual work and a bad employee experience

The old process was rife with problems. 

  • There were no integrations. Kenny’s team had to do everything themselves, toggling back and forth between systems manually.
  • People didn’t follow the process. Invoices would be received before a matter was created. And whenever employees had questions or needed a new action taken, they forgot about protocols and just reached out to Legal Ops via Slack or email.
  • The process didn’t scale. As Workday grew and the number of outside counsel engagements increased, Legal Ops had trouble keeping up. 

“Folks reached out to us across various channels,” Kenny said. “We had to manually take that information and put it into the E-billing system. We had to allocate the cost codes and things like that in the system on our own. It was… a lot.”

Of course, E-billing wasn’t the only Legal Ops process that suffered from these kinds of issues. 

“Any process that involves triaging lots of different requests that come in through different channels, and that we need to gather manually, they all fall into this intake bucket, and deal with these kinds of issues.”

Kenny realized that to address any of these intake issues, he needed certain fundamental capabilities.

  • Flexible intake and automated, centralized triage. Intake channels should meet employees where they already are, and yet automatically funnel captured data back to a centralized dashboard—making intake processes so simple to follow it would be almost impossible not to, and saving time for Legal Ops.
  • Better integrations. Specifically with the e-Billing system, but ideally with every piece of technology your organization uses, from communication tools to ticketing systems, such that intake can be truly orchestrated.
  • Employee agency and experience. Legal Ops shouldn’t have to create all new matters themselves. Rather, the ability to do so should be democratized—specifically via intuitive, guided experiences that encourage adoption. 

All of these capabilities would serve, in practice, not only to increase the efficiency of the legal ops team, but to ensure the lawyers got their new matter quickly.

The solution: Intake Orchestration

Kenny tried a few different tactics to achieve these goals. First, Workday’s IT team set Legal Ops up with a form inside IT’s system management tool. The idea was directing employees to one form, all the time, would simplify the process adequately. The problem was, Legal Ops remained dependent on IT, which was itself overburdened, to make changes to the process or tool, which slowed Legal Ops down even further. 

At the same time, the new form lacked any integration. And process adoption remained way too low, in part because the new process still forced employees to change their behavior. At least 50% of employees still reached out to Legal Ops manually, instead of completing the specified form. 

Next, Kenny tried using a matter creation feature built into Workday’s e-Billing system. But completing processes in this new feature required access to the e-Billing tool, which not all stakeholders had (appropriately so, perhaps). Legal Ops still had to create all the matters themselves. Adoption remained low. 

That’s when Kenny found Tonkean LegalWorks. “Tonkean aligned perfectly with our strategy,” Kenny said. “Tonkean allows us to meet employees where they’re at, intelligently sort requests, and automate actions on them after they’ve come in.”

Among other things Tonkean was able to integrate with all of Workday’s existing tech stack, meaning neither Legal Ops nor end-users would have to toggle back and forth between platforms to complete intake processes—rather, Tonkean could meet employees where they already like to work, and pass essential data into connected systems for them. 

“Tonkean integrates with all the tech you use, and so it can just work in the background and help you use your tools with more complete data that you can be sure is just there, where you need it,” Kenny said.

The Workday team benefitted from the guided, intuitive, and dynamic intake experiences Tonkean enabled them to create. These experiences understand context, meaning they know what to ask for in accordance with the nature of the request—which helps ensure the data you’re collecting is consistent and complete.

And because Tonkean’s process editor is 100% no-code, they can iterate on new legal workflows as often as they need to, and without ever having to rely on an overburdened IT department. 

How Workday used Tonkean to fix intake.

The difference, with Tonkean, Kenny says, is night and day. 

Before, stakeholders reached out to Legal Ops across a wide array of channels with unstructured information. Legal Ops had to take that information and input it manually into their e-billing system and structure it painstakingly themselves.

Now, using Tonkean—in the case of outside counsel billing, for example—stakeholders can enter intake information via an easily accessible, guided, and intelligent intake form that only ever asks of them whatever relevant information is needed to complete their specific task. 

Once the form has been submitted, all Kenny’s team has to do on the other end is review and approve it. Because Tonkean integrates with the e-Billing system, complete matters can be created automatically. Legal Ops need only conduct a kind of health check, or otherwise survey the process from a high level. 

The process is much simpler, more effective, and exponentially easier for employees to follow. More dexterous, reliably followed intake processes save Legal Ops hours of manual work a week. The improved functionality, in turn, improves Legal Op’s ability to do the work they need to do in order to better serve Legal. 

Perhaps most impactful of all, Kenny’s team is now seeing close to 100% adoption of the new outside counsel billing process. That adoption rate does more than save time and boost performance. It means Legal Ops can get real, accurate visibility into their process efficacy and understand where they can make substantive improvements.

What’s next?

With an improved process in place and the tools for improving it further in their control, Kenny’s team can iterate upon it or add functionalities to their new intake processes whenever they’re so inspired. 

Ideas he mentioned on the webinar include implementing an in-process Conflict Check, creating automated vendor onboarding workflows, providing opportunities for initiating RFPs in-workflow, and facilitating guided outside counsel guideline reviews.

What Kenny’s most excited about, however, as he further improves the legal intake function inside Workday, is melding the new intake process with AI. 

“We want to leverage Tonkean’s Legal AI Front Door to make submitting intake or updating policies even easier,” Kenny said on the webinar. “Also, Tonkean AI keeps humans in the loop, which ensures nothing ever falls through the cracks. And so we’re excited to try out AI as a means of increasing visibility into the data we collect and use every day.” 

Kenny knew finding a way to more effectively and seamlessly triage and resolve intake requests could be a boon to Legal Ops and a value driver for Workday as a whole. With Tonkean LegalWorks, he’s proved the theory. This is what improving legal intake, and turning it into a value driver for your organization writ large, really looks like. 

What’s most exciting, however, is thinking about what Workday and AI-powered intake orchestration will be able to innovate next. 

Want to learn more about what Tonkean LegalWorks can do for your Legal Ops team? Click here.

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