AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / July/August 2020 / Volume 24, Number 6

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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JULY/AUGUST 2020 | AALL SPECTRUM 49 expect little change or adjustment to the workflow over time. Once you build the process or tool, you will want to limit the number of times the process needs to be tweaked. Bots of various forms can be used to automate a host of activities. Chatbots are already being employed in a variety of legal information settings. These bots are helpful for handling simple Q&A sessions. Chatbots can help with patron self-service for questions such as "How do I find my password?" and "Do we have access to XYZ database?" This frees up the time librarians would other- wise spend answering such straightfor- ward questions. The use of RPA creates even more opportunities for library spaces to auto- mate. Standardized business processes with defined business rules are the best candidates for RPA automation. If you can identify a process for which you can write out step-by-step instructions that define rule-based procedures, then you already have an RPA candidate in mind. When building out a rule- based process for automation, selecting processes that have few exceptions is crucial. The key is to focus on tasks that require little to no discretionary deci- sion making. Some examples of RPA in law libraries might include repetitive research tasks such as complaint pulls, some electronic filings, and internal auditing tasks. How Do I Find a Vendor for Task Automation? Finding the right vendor is paramount to success in any task automation pro- cess. Whether you are looking for a chatbot platform or RPA software, you will want to rely on traditional vendor evaluation rubrics. Many aspects to explore in looking at automation ven- dors involve the same metrics you use for standard research vendor inquires. The use of a standard process or form for comparing vendors is highly recom- mended because the market is full of vastly different offerings. Not all tools are interchangeable, even when they hold themselves out as being available for the same or similar use. Evaluate vendors with a known project in mind to avoid surprises and disappointment. You want to find a vendor whose skills and services map directly to your project requirements. If you do not map out the requirements before vendor selection, your project will be subject to the limits of your ven- dor. A proof of concept engagement can be a good way to identify a fruitful relationship. Successful automation projects require support for both successful onboarding and ongoing maintenance. Be sure to evaluate the maturity and sustainability of each vendor's business at the outset. When dealing with tech vendors, there may be enhanced danger of the vendor not being sustainable. As part of your evaluation, look into the vendor history and record of success. Where possible, try to speak with for- mer clients, get feedback from peers, and explore the written reviews or assessments of the product and service. Follow standard vendor vetting criteria and keep in mind such factors as price, scalability, cognitive roadmap, inte- gration with existing technologies, and ease of implementation. What training is provided by or needed to work with the vendor? What is their road map for future developments? The Next Frontier Task automation is the next frontier for law libraries. Our information work- force can harness the power of technol- ogy to improve day-to-day operations. Let the robots do the "boring stuff " while information professionals engage in high-level, meaningful work. Research + Analysis Information Management RPA, bots, and task automation will not replace librarians, but they can certainly help fill some gaps. Highly skilled information professionals will still need to perform tasks such as complex substantive research. JENNIFER MENDEZ DIRECTOR OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT INNOVATION Fisher & Phillips LLP Murray Hill, NJ jmenefisherphillipsom © 2020 BY JENNIFER MENDEZ MICHELLE HOOK DEWEY LEGAL RESEARCH SERVICES MANAGER BakerHostetler Atlanta, GA mdewey@bakerlaw.com © 2020 BY MICHELLE DEWEY CYNTHIA BROWN SR. DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH SERVICES Littler Mendelson, P.C. Fresno, CA cbrown@littler.com © 2020 BY CYNTHIA BROWN

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