ILTACON 2019 Recap: The Team Shares Impressions

Fresh from the conference, the Kraft Kennedy team takes stock in an ILTACON 2019 recap. Here are our impressions, musings, favorite memories, and industry predictions.

 
 

Dominick Ciacciarelli, Practice Group Leader, Infrastructure & Enterprise Systems

The legal industry has stopped asking if it should or shouldn’t go to the cloud, and has started asking about the best, safest ways to get there. Security is a big concern, but many people don’t know if they are asking the right questions. I see a lot of potential in spreading awareness about Microsoft’s full set of security tools and offerings. I also foresee that firms will have to do a great deal of work to prepare themselves for the end of support for Windows Server 2008R2, Exchange 2010, and Windows 7.

 
 

Brian Podolsky, Practice Group Leader, Enterprise Content Management

It’s always fascinating to walk the Exhibit Hall floor. Over the years, I have come to know many of the industry’s thought leaders, and it’s great to catch up and see what everyone has been up to. The opening events, the demo room sessions, the various happy hours and vendor receptions were all great opportunities to network and get to know some new people in the community.

The iManage and NetDocuments Company Update sessions were valuable. Each vendor shared their recent updates and upcoming product roadmap. Beyond the vendors that I know well, it was also an opportunity to learn about new ones. The eDockets solution from American Legalnet, for instance, looked intriguing. They have about a dozen full-time attorneys on staff who keep comprehensive court rules up to date, and the calendaring piece of the solution integrates with an attorney’s Outlook calendar. It will be interesting to see how this develops and can interact with the primary legal DMS solutions in the market. I’ve had several clients who are implementing DMS solutions ask me about calendaring and docketing capabilities, and eDockets seems like a great place to start discussions.

Speaking with other firms, I noticed a lot of interest in moving DMS environments to the cloud. During one session, we conducted an informal survey and saw about three-quarters of attendees raise their hands when asked if they considered the move to the cloud.

 
 

Tracy Kraft, Marketing Director

The topics of AI and blockchain seemed to generate the most buzz at ILTACON 2019. The focus on security stays constant, but this year with more emphasis on the development of ongoing processes and the next generation of security standards. Azure Information Protection, a major current focus of the Kraft Kennedy team, drew security specialists who are planning for 2020 to our booth and events.

A mantra from our CIO, Marcus Bluestein, echoed in my head throughout the conference: “Get Current, Stay Current.”

This was the first year I saw a significant green effort across the conference. ILTA-issued metal cups spared 70,000 single-use plastic water bottles, donations to charities replaced many disposable ‘gifts,’ and participants generally made thoughtful choices to be more environmentally conscious. I was excited to automate the electronic delivery of Kraft Kennedy content via Microsoft Flow, and was glad to see that people weren’t disappointed not to have a bag full of flyers to shuffle through at conference end.

I came home inspired by the community energy at ILTACON 2019. The conference’s focus on collaboration, interactivity, and roundtables was enthusiastically received by the attendees I caught up with. With the pace of change we’re predicting for 2020, it’s more important than ever to engage in this exchange of knowledge. It’s a keep-up-or-get-left-behind time in technology.

 
 

Jeffrey Manfredonia, Account Executive

Experiencing ILTACON for the first time, I was floored. I’d never before seen something on the size and scale of the show.

Having a popular booth was exciting. I had the opportunity to meet several vendor partners with whom I’d previously only spoken by phone. It was nice to meet clients from around the country and hear their stories about working with our team and how we’ve had an impact on their business. I was glad that we’ve been able to help innovate and help firms stand out in the legal space when other companies are trending towards a more generic, commoditized offering.

Lastly, having a chance to connect with my own colleagues was by far my favorite part. Sitting and chatting with other Account Executives, as well as teammates like Brian, Clint, Joe, Charles, Pat, Michael, and many others was the most rewarding part of the trip. I am looking forward to ILTACON 2020.

 
 

Sara Zezza, Account Executive

ILTACON 2019 was non-stop action along with non-stop learning. From meeting with new firms to attending sessions on new topics, the buzz was definitely different this year. I learned so much about Azure Information Protection and other cloud technologies. This was a great conference for meeting new people and bonding with our clients. I look forward to seeing how law firms continue to adapt to evolving tech.

The golf tournament was hot but a beautiful day. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Rob Brindell, and a great time to mingle with partners and catch up with clients. Congratulations to all the winners and I look forward to playing next year!

 
 

Charles Ottenweller, Management Consultant

I talked with people from several firms who are endeavoring to get a handle on all of their IT and administrative projects for the first time. Part of this is taking an inventory of the work, but they are also introducing governance around the projects their firms decide to pursue. Who approves projects that span finance and IT or that are for a particular practice? Many firms are also maturing their practices by documenting their budgetary and planning processes and the issues that a well-conceived project needs to consider.

As they list out planned projects and the dependencies between them, firm leaders are also realizing that the volume of work ahead of them is nearly impossible to manage without structures that span administrative teams. Project Management is moving more solidly outside of IT. These firms often conclude that they will never move forward, if they let significant numbers of their projects slip. They need elastic capacity, specialized experience, and a supply chain to support their success.

 
 

Shane Hobson, Project Manager

Many of the firm representatives I spoke with had a great deal of appreciation for the project management point of view. Discussing the process of how we plan, coordinate, and organize projects from start to finish generated inspiration among attendees for how they can prepare for their current and future projects.

I enjoyed catching up with clients the most. I finally had the opportunity to put faces to names for some of our remote firms and appreciated all the positive memories they had of the projects we worked on with them.

If possible, I would like to ask the ILTA committee to make the company names on the badges much, much larger. My eyes aren’t getting any better and the art of secretly glancing at a person’s stomach as they’re saying hello is a craft that I have yet to master.

 
 

Deborah Jillson, Director of Sales

ILTACON 2019 was energetic, positive, and collegial. The attendees, partners, and subject matter experts were all in agreement that the IT law firm landscape is changing rapidly.  It seemed to me that there was an air of freshness to the event. People in all capacities came to Florida ready to engage.

The dominant themes were security and cloud. Attendees were hungry for as much information about these two topics as possible. Azure will be key as we move into the end of the year.

 
 

Sharon Spencer, Account Executive

Our sessions were standing room only—and the ones I attended, no one left early. I hosted the Thursday morning “Cloud Adoption session—usually a tough time as everyone parties hard on Wednesday night—and it was a productive Q&A with fantastic participation.

The best part was hearing one of our newer Managed Services clients respond to Michael’s question of how he was doing with, “much better now that I’m with Kraft Kennedy.”