Factor + BT Expand Partnership, Create ‘Virtual Bench’ Team

Contract-focused ALSP Factor and telecoms giant BT have renewed and expanded their long-term managed services relationship. They have also created a special nine-person ‘virtual bench’ team that helps the company on a range of issues in addition to the main Factor contract service.

Prash Mehta (pictured below) Director for Transformation & Projects, Legal & Regulatory at BT, told Artificial Lawyer that they had first started working together back in 2013 when the relationship was a ‘typical LPO outsourcing’ model focused on ‘low risk matters’.

However, they steadily got to know each other as businesses and ‘now Factor feels like they are part of BT’.

‘They know our pressure points. They can tell us how to do things in a more efficient way. So now we look at our contracting processes differently,’ Mehta said.

In short, things have evolved – and so has Factor, which span out of Axiom a couple of years ago and has since expanded, as well as brought in more tech to help its contract experts handle the needs of a range of large companies.

One other recent Factor development is the creation of a special team of nine people, which helps BT’s inhouse groups on more advanced legal needs and can fit into a range of divisional areas.

What impressed us is the flexible capacity. We have nine people from Factor who sit on a virtual bench and they get deployed to BT teams whenever needed. They can do complex work in different divisions of BT and that gives us choices,’ he added.

This helps with a range of needs, from maternity cover, to providing an extra capability to analyse legal data.

‘It’s an additional pool of resource and also fills any gaps we have,’ Mehta said.

He also added that having Factor work so closely, both on the managed side and with the special team, brought know-how from other clients to BT.

‘They have telecoms insights and so they bring in expertise from the market to BT, and we can pick up things from other parts of the industry,’ he concluded.

Plus, the addition of the virtual bench is interesting for another reason, this site would say, and that’s because offering flexible resource is what Factor’s old alma mater, Axiom, used to do – and still does.

Chris DeConti, Head of Strategy for Factor, added: ‘The virtual bench are senior people at Factor. While we started working with BT 9 years ago, what we offer now is much broader and it’s also a much closer partnership.’

‘We are pushing each other to see what more we can do together,’ he added.

DeConti and Mehta also noted that as they handled more and more complex work together they in turn grew closer together.

Artificial Lawyer added this shows that complexity demands proximity, i.e. you can have a very arm’s length relationship (in fact not a real relationship at all) for very simple work that is low risk, low complexity, but as you become more engaged in the gnarly details of the client’s legal needs you in turn have to engage more and more closely. Inevitably you develop a more symbiotic relationship that is tightly knitted together.

All in all, it’s good to see an ALSP both deepening its relationship with a major corporate and also offering a more sophisticated and flexible input.