In the #Spotlight: David Greetham of RICOH speaks with High Performance Counsel

#eDiscovery, #Features, #Spotlight, #TheScoop, Legal Content, Legal Leadership

 

It takes the confidence of experience – and a true perspective on the measure of success – not to swing at every ball.

I chatted recently with David Greetham who heads up one of the most successful business teams in the modern legal industry. In three years, David and his highly-talented leadership team have successfully undertaken a transformation of the RICOH eDiscovery organization – creating a timely readiness for exciting days ahead. Knowing what you don’t need – is as important as knowing what you want.

At High Performance Counsel our prediction is that we will see as much change in the next 3 years (1,000 days) as we have seen in the last 50 years combined. Even if we’re off by a day or two, the smart money knows that great change is afoot – so it’s essential to be equipped and ready for the ride.

You know what you’re getting with David. He’s plain-spoken and practical. He’s acutely aware of the business climate in which his clients operate and the importance of reflecting this in how his business deploys. In his words, what he likes about the organization: “Our goal is to truly partner with our clients and this is a perspective that fits with my personal culture too.” In more direct terms, as the head of a highly successful business team, he speaks of record revenues without anyone simply “dialing for dollars”. The latter is universally uncomfortable for salespeople and clients alike. Greetham seeks a higher ground in the relationship being created with clients.

Says David: “Relationship goes beyond price. What we do goes beyond being just a service provider. We are a service partner.” He speaks with candor about their own journey of understanding this and working it out in practice. “It’s essential to bring value. It has to be a good fit for both parties. A one size fits all approach is not going to cut it.

“In a marketplace that is increasingly busy and often price-sensitive, Greetham says they don’t seek to be “everything to everyone” – nor do they simply try to be the cheapest price on the street. Akin to how some successful financial services firms have stayed above the retail fray, RICOH works on being the best and the best fit for the clients it supports. I asked David how that works. His answer is very clear: “We are invested in our clients’ wellbeing and support. We understand their world – and we anticipate their needs.”

While some in the marketplace may be busy chasing deals, this team has been building even deeper, stronger roots with a remarkable portfolio of clients. Under David’s leadership they’ve focused on being what clients seek – instead of simply being a sales pitch. They’ve succeeded where others have struggled – in creating demand by attraction. There is a palpable sense that RICOH “gets it” and clients facing complex matters need that watertight assurance.

There is a common theme among the clients that David and his team support. It is the maturity of business understanding that they share. Most if not all clients experience increasing data volumes, increasingly complex regulatory environments and of course, budget limitations – and these things are part of any solution. But at the heart of this team’s success is the more fundamental propositions of “understanding”, “anticipation”, and “partnering”.

This year every team member is pursuing knowledge advancement – formal education in and around technology and client environments. It’s not education for the sake of education. Instead, the core theme is how the team can be more innovative and more proactive in identifying and meeting clients’ changing needs.

David describes a critical shift toward proactive thinking and information delivery. It’s a reflection of the marketplace in which clients are operating. The number of clients looking for “shiny things” is far smaller than the number of organizations who place emphasis on great data and self-empowerment.

It’s a segway to a conversation about innovation. We spoke about the plethora of startups in the marketplace and how things play out for clients “in real life”. “Innovation is often confused with simply being the latest shiny startup. In reality, that’s just one piece of the innovation puzzle” notes David. Indeed, David’s team see a lot of case by case innovation – not one size fits all.

I was left with the distinct sense that David is focused on the substance of innovation – and that seems to work well for large, sophisticated clients looking for practical improvements and enhancements.

We turned to the road ahead. So what does David see ahead for the legal industry? David is pragmatic about the advances in technology already – and the inroads this has already made in traditional labor models. He speaks plainly about the implications of competency requirements for attorneys: “The lawyer role will evolve further as eDiscovery becomes a business process. The value for the lawyer and their clients will be in the specialist legal advice and legal strategy insights provided.”

To industry observers, it’s not hard to see the growing similarity between Legal Ops and other specialized areas such as eDiscovery. Each shares a “better, faster, cheaper” mission. Indeed, they also share a common theme of increased technology deployment and decreasing reliance on manual labor.

So where does new value come from? As we spoke about the next 3 years or 1,000 days in the legal industry, I asked David what he felt the “hot buttons” are. One such item he shared can be summarized in one word: Cybersecurity.

David speaks candidly about the time and investment committed by RICOH in its transition to Cloud and becoming cyber-prepared. The table stakes are now so high on Cybersecurity that this has become a key competitive advantage for the organization – and it’s one that clients love. Cybersecurity is a complex issue and daunting to many buyers so there is a real benefit in knowing that an organization like RICOH has it covered.

We tend to agree on this one. Like the experience of playing Major League Baseball or Premier League Soccer, it’s something that is very hard to replicate unless you’ve done it and you’ve got it. The novice batter at the plate will swing at everything to see what they can get. The experienced, prepared player knows how to prepare – and what to swing at.

As we always do, we wrapped up our discussion with some of our fun wildcard questions.

HPC: Fancy restaurant or gastro truck?

DG: Gastro truck.

HPC: If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

DG: Photography – to enjoy my creative side.

HPC: What book would you want on a desert island?

DG: A blank book – to write in.

HPC: Which would you want? A Ferrari, a Prius or a bicycle?

DG: All three!

HPC: David’s answers rang true. He is who he says he is and he doesn’t stand on attention. What you see is what you get – and he’s focused on what matters. In a noisy marketplace, that’s incredibly important for both his clients and his team. No flannel. Just the real deal.

“Our goal is to truly partner with our clients and this is a perspective that fits with my personal culture too.” DG

“Relationship goes beyond price. What we do goes beyond being just a service provider. We are a service partner.” DG

“It’s essential to bring value. It has to be a good fit for both parties. A one size fits all approach is not going to cut it.” DG

“We are invested in our clients’ wellbeing and support. We understand their world – and we anticipate their needs.” DG

“Innovation is often confused with simply being the latest shiny startup. In reality, that’s just one piece of the innovation puzzle.” DG

“The lawyer role will evolve further as eDiscovery becomes a business process. The value for the lawyer and their clients will be in the specialist legal advice and legal strategy insights provided.” DG

DAVID A. GREETHAM, CFE

Vice President, eDiscovery Sales and Operations, Ricoh USA, Inc.

David A. Greetham is the Vice President of eDiscovery Sales and Operations at Ricoh USA, Inc. Throughout his career, David has been retained by law firms and corporations as a Testifying and Consulting Expert in the areas of Computer Forensics, eDiscovery and Information Governance. Additionally, he has been responsible for forensic examinations of computer systems involved in theft of trade secrets, internet misuse, harassment, murder, fraud and alleged spoliation. David is a sought after thought leader and frequent speaker and author on the topics of digital forensics, eDiscovery and secure cloud operations.

David has testified as a computer forensics expert on many occasions both nationally and internationally and is the inventor of Remlox™ a patented, remote forensic collection tool which has been used in 37 different countries and is the recipient of the coveted Ricoh Global “Star Patent Award”. David also holds many other patents in relation to eDiscovery technology.