Brightflag Case Study: Dropbox
Dropbox is one of the world’s largest cloud-based file storage services. They have more than 700 million registered users across 180 countries. Dropbox’s mission is to design a more enlightened way of working by providing one place to keep life organized and keep work moving.
With operations on a truly global scale, Dropbox’s legal team manages hundreds of matters and processes thousands of legal invoices each year. Dropbox deals with this challenging workload by continuously looking for ways to improve efficiency and save time for its busy team.
Legacy System Struggled to Deliver Efficiency
The Dropbox legal team implemented a legal spend management system early in their company history. That’s because they needed help managing their large legal operations. But as the company grew in scale, it became clear that this legacy system could not deliver the efficiencies needed to keep up with the team’s ever-increasing number of matters, vendors, and invoices across the globe.
Amy Drury, senior Intellectual Property (IP) paralegal with responsibility for legal spend management, explains the difficulties of using the legacy system:
‘We regularly had invoices rejected by Finance because vendors billed with unauthorized currency and legal entity combinations. It was hard to review invoices, open matters and generate reports to understand our spend. It was just causing headache after headache.”
The Dropbox legal team knew that next-generation legal operations software could ease many of their headaches. They put together a team of lawyers, operations and finance staff to evaluate new tools. Then they went looking for the right solution.
When assessing solutions, Brightflag immediately stood out from the crowd.
Brightflag could alleviate the finance team’s frustration by catering for the needs of a global business. By solving for currency complexities and ensuring vendors billed to the right legal entities, Brightflag eliminated the need for time-consuming invoice rejections.
Additionally, Brightflag had the ability to automatically review invoices with its patented A.I. engine. This meant that busy attorneys would spend less time on administrative tasks. It also freed them up to focus on delivering valuable legal work.
After narrowing down the vendors under consideration, the selection panel voted to move forward with Brightflag.
Strengthening the Partnership with Finance
Dropbox had three clear objectives in mind when launching with Brightflag. The first of these was to remove unnecessary manual work from the Finance team.
“Cutting down on manual labor for our AP team, who are dealing with so much work every single day from all over the company, was a key objective,” Drury explained. Dropbox saw an immediate benefit on go-live due to the direct integration of Brightflag with their AP system.
Brightflag’s Vendor Pay Sites feature ensures that vendors always submit invoices with the correct combinations of legal entities and currencies. This feature saves days per month for the finance and legal teams.
Previously invoices went through a full invoice review and approval process before being rejected back to vendors. This wasted time for both Legal and Finance. With Brightflag, the back-and-forth is eliminated entirely. That’s because the currency and entity are checked upfront when the vendor submits the invoice. This allows them to correct any issues straight away.
Brightflag also automated Dropbox’s accruals, so closing the books became much easier. Dropbox now sees a higher proportion of vendors submitting accruals while spending two days less on accruals each month.
Increasing Visibility Over Legal Spend
Dropbox’s second objective when launching with Brightflag was to improve visibility over their legal spend.
‘For the legal team, it was important to see how much we’re spending on different matter types and with different vendors. And if we could become more strategic with our spend.’
Brightflag’s dashboards allow Dropbox to understand their spend across matters types, vendors, and practice areas at a glance. At the same time, user-friendly, out-of-the-box, and custom reporting enables them to drill down into their spend and answer specific business questions.
‘We can now quickly produce reports that provide actionable data and help us identify savings opportunities.’
Saving Attorney Time
Dropbox’s final objective was to remove manual steps to free up time for their busy attorneys.
“Process efficiency was also crucial: being able to open matters quickly, review invoices quickly, and save attorney time was high on our agenda.”
Brightflag’s one-step matter opening allows Dropbox to shave valuable time off the opening of each matter. Brightflag’s patented A.I. engine automates the invoice review process. It also ensures the Dropbox billing guidelines are applied consistently, keeping costs in check. Additionally, Dropbox could apply fixed and capped fees for IP spend automatically. This was something that was a time-consuming manual process in their legacy system.
“Invoice review and opening matters is really quick, which is a huge win for our lawyers in particular. We have also seen significant invoice write-downs in areas where vendors were not complying with the agreed billing guidelines.”
Improving the Vendor Experience
As an additional upside, Dropbox’s legal vendors are happier using Brightflag. That’s because they get paid quicker with fewer invoice rejections for avoidable errors. When invoices are rejected or adjusted by the legal team, the reasons are clear and easily addressed through Brightflag’s vendor portal.
Dropbox knew there was a better way to achieve legal spend management efficiency than struggling with a legacy system. With Brightflag, Dropbox has been able to reduce manual work for finance, gain visibility over their operations and create process efficiencies for the legal team.
Looking towards the future, they hope to gain even greater value from their partnership with Brightflag. With years of historical spend data coded by Brightflag’s A.I. engine, Dropbox is using Brightflag’s insights for a more data-driven approach. That includes more comprehensive vendor assessments, and increased predictability in budgeting. Drury meets regularly with Brightflag’s Customer Success Manager to uncover legal spending trends and highlight new ways to improve their legal operations.