his scenario should be familiar to lawyers: your law firm or law department purchases a new software solution that your bosses plan to implement department wide. You attend the mandatory training sessions, even though you know — because you’ve seen this movie before — that no one will actually use this shiny, new solution. Like so many prior software purchases, it will simply sit collecting dust.
This problem is not unique to legal.
Businesses today run on software, but most employees don’t know how to use or get the most out of their business software. I loved PLC as a junior attorney, but trust me I didn’t really know how to use it properly. Traditionally, the solution to this problem was training sessions, user manuals and — my personal favorite — desperate calls to your help desk in the middle of the night. I remember as a junior attorney staying up all night before a deal signed and nearly breaking into tears because I didn’t know how to use Adobe to properly format PDFs.
The problem I have found with training sessions is that, in addition to being a massive timesuck, they are the equivalent of getting directions from a map. And, in case it’s been a while since you used a map, let me break down the steps for you:
- You stare at the map and determine a route (hopefully your eyes do not glaze over); and
You get in your car and follow instructions with the expectation that, at some point, you will have to pull over at a gas station (the “helpdesk” in this equation) and ask for directions.
What makes manuals and training sessions so challenging is that the training exists separate and apart from using the software. You might have understood how to use the new system while the firm librarian was doing a demonstration that made it look easy, but then when you actually go to use the system in the course of your work, you feel that paralyzing sense of tech-induced anxiety and you start wondering, “Why can’t I just do this the way I’ve been doing it until now?”
WalkMe is shifting the map-training paradigm and, in so doing, it has become one of the fastest-growing software companies in the world. Instead of a map, WalkMe is the GPS that shows you how to use your software while you are using it to get your work done.
How does it work? WalkMe sits on top of your software and displays friendly HTML bubbles that point you in the right direction and guide you through your software. You are no longer looking at a complex dashboard wondering where you need to click in order to get started; instead, WalkMe is prompting you to take certain actions that might have been obvious to the person designing the software, but not to the rest of us. As WalkMe has grown, so has its sophistication, and the company is constantly developing tools and analytics that help IT departments identify where their employees are getting stuck, which then allows the IT department to build customized prompts into their WalkMe. You have to use WalkMe once to really understand its value, but, if you are like me, after using it once you won’t want to go back. Can you imagine trying to drive somewhere you’ve never been before without using Waze or Google Maps? WalkMe has that same effect.
I met WalkMe three-and-a-half years ago before they were a Silicon Valley unicorn company on their way to a billion-dollar valuation. A good friend of mine who was an early employee told me that the company was growing exponentially and that I should keep them on my radar. Last year, I met with the marketing folks in WalkMe who walked me (no pun intended) through a presentation on the company’s rapid growth. Now, being the legal tech guy, what stood out to me was that WalkMe had penetrated just about every industry vertical you can imagine — except for one: legal.
The fact that WalkMe has never made its way to legal should come as no great surprise. Far more people use Salesforce than do Relativity or NetDocuments, and it’s a lot easier to sell software to sales teams than it is to sell to law firms and law departments. But, I recently showed WalkMe to a select group of law firm and law department decision makers as well as a handful of tech companies who were wowed by the capabilities. Many decision makers from firms and law departments are converging on New York this week at the annual Legalweek conference to evaluate and invest money in new software. The worst fear of a CIO, head of practice support, or head of knowledge management is purchasing technology that no one can quite figure out how to use; WalkMe acts as a potential insurance plan.
As carried in AL