More than ever, legal marketing teams want to identify the best candidates for Strategic Account Management and focus business development efforts on clients with the greatest “growth potential.” Yet many don’t currently have the capabilities or knowledge to determine which factors are most crucial to identifying the right clients.
The primary reason for why so many law firms struggle to identify Strategic Account Management candidates stems from decentralized and siloed data that isn’t formatted for easy analysis. “Growth potential” is a complex concept and assigning quantitative scores to complex and interconnected concepts such as “depth of relationship” or even “profitability” requires underlying data from multiple systems. By using a knowledge graph to determine which data inputs are required, law firms can now leverage advanced technology to simplify the process and determine which candidates best fit their Strategic Account Management criteria.
So what is a knowledge graph?
At its core, a knowledge graph is like a smart database where the meaning and relationship of the people, places, and things mentioned in the database are connected and defined – tagged – based on a standard structure of labels called “Ontologies.” Rather than rows and columns like traditional databases, knowledge graphs typically store and visualize data with nodes and edges that clearly define the meaning of data through formal semantics, breaking down traditional data silos across various systems to facilitate integration and alignment.
One of the most important benefits of using a knowledge graph is the ability to answer queries in the form of natural language questions. Another benefit is the ability to visualise the data as connected notes and see relationships that might otherwise go unnoticed. With this enhanced contextual understanding of how things are interlinked, new and advanced insights are uncovered that create opportunity intelligence.
How does a knowledge graph help strategic account management?
Law firms that integrate client data into a knowledge graph can leverage its data to build a 360-degree view of a client and the firm’s associated work. Users can drill down to find more information without having to log into and query multiple data sources separately. This saves time and yields analytical insights because the firm can easily compare clients along various dimensions and determine their “growth potential”.
Laying the foundation for a 360-degree client view
To move forward on strategic account management as a use case for knowledge graphs a firm would do the following:
- Determine which variables and corresponding data fields are key to identifying Strategic Account Management candidates
- Ensure that the data associated with each variable is clearly defined, captured, complete, and sufficient for analytics
- Deconstruct complex concepts into functions alongside the data that produces them
- Create an ontology from the necessary data fields
- Design the knowledge graph visualization by mapping the relational data sources
- Develop APIs to query the data in the knowledge graph
Strategic Account Management is just one of many marketing and Business Development use cases for knowledge graphs. In the article entitled ‘Using Knowledge Graphs to Deliver Better and Faster Insights’ as featured in the January/February 2020 edition of LMA Strategies Magazine we described various other use cases.
It is important to note that enterprise knowledge graphs lay the foundation for greater agility and lower costs in rolling out all new applications that utilize the data they contain. It is significantly less expensive to add new data sources and build applications that utilize the enterprise knowledge graph than to integrate separate products from different vendors in an ad-hoc and point-to-point manner. Data lakes don’t describe the data they contain with machine-readable semantic structures and therefore cannot fulfill this potential. Law firms should pick a knowledge graph use case that quickly delivers high return on investment.