Michael Conner is Director of Global Business Development at NightOwl Discovery. I interviewed him at Legaltech in New York and asked him to explain what actually happens when NightOwl wins a new client.
NightOwl Discovery’s main clients are corporations. The usual form of agreement is a multi-year outsourcing arrangement under which NightOwl Discovery has the opportunity to become familiar with the client’s processes and requirements, and brings its own skills and processes to bear on addressing the many business problems posed by the management of data.
Michael Conner said that NightOwl’s agreements are usually reached at a high level with a corporation or law firm after discussions with diverse groups of people whose business areas are affected, including legal and IT.
The implementation of that agreement generally involves people who were not involved in those discussions on either side. They must now work together to give effect to the agreement. This has the potential to be threatening for some who might legitimately ask what NightOwl’s involvement means for their position and their daily activities, and it is part of the implementation to manage those fears as well as the expectations of the client.
As soon as the agreement takes effect, there are a series of on-site meetings, often a two- to three-day process. It has the potential to seem intrusive, and are big investment on both sides. Done properly, these meetings create the foundations for a good relationship. Distribution lists are set up, and point people are appointed on both sides. Many of these agreements apply across different time zones, so agreeing things like appropriate response times is vital.
The longer the arrangement lasts, the more NightOwl is able to develop a closer and more intuitive understanding of how the client works, to the benefits of both parties. The relationship improves with time, and both sides get back the time which was invested up-front.