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Legal IT Planning- March Madness Edition!

Kraft Kennedy

3 min read

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CIOs and CTOs feel the madness all the time, not just in March!  They are constantly filling out brackets and giving priorities to the projects and investments they believe will result in the biggest chance at success for the team–that is, the firm.

Comparing the strengths of competing technologies, monitoring the shifts in the market, reviewing the strategies of other teams–in fact, it’s not that different from basketball.  The role of the CIO and CTO inside the legal community has shifted dramatically in recent years as the firm’s composition and leadership has become tech savvy. The change isn’t just due to generational shifts; it’s also based on the heightened awareness of the impact technology has on business results.

Firms leaders navigate an incredibly complex ecosystem that requires mastery of skills for both offense and defense. Your firm has tech savvy superstars ready for the next level. Others need more development and coaching to understand the benefits of tech investment and adoption.

Your clients are the fan base. And today they have higher expectations. They want to see results, and along with lateral highers and new millennials, are applying pressure on firms to adopt the same technological tools that they are using.

Taking the Madness out of March involves three key steps:

  • A Scouting Report of other teams, new strategies, and offerings that would improve your game
  • Candid discussion and evaluation of options that are available, affordable, and make an impact
  • A great relationship with your assistant coaches (internal and external) allowing trust, safe experiments with new approaches, and a balance of short and long term investments

As a leader, the CIO/CTO now must rely on others to help drive success for the team.  A basketball team has five key players on the court and each working together allows you to consistently win championships. Consider:

Your CMO desperately wants modern tools to engage with social media, the ability to identify new clients and revenue opportunities, an improved process for execution of campaigns and events execution, and analytics that monitor ROI and customer satisfaction;

Your Business Development team is eager to automate the conversion of referrals and leads, to provide attorneys insight into firm relationships that can be nurtured and developed, and an advanced process for cross-selling additional services that leverage underutilized resources;

Your Managing Partner asks for insight that drives action, improved visibility into and across the firm, interactive reports, automated alerts and workflow to inform of changes, trends, and even offer recommendations;

Your CFO demands affordable solutions that have proven ROI, a reputable provider with financial stability, the ability to leverage and utilize existing investments, a consolidation of vendors, and a path forward that allows agility to accommodate firm growth;

Of course your attorneys want a familiar interface, a single screen as a dashboard allowing them to monitor their business, a secure infrastructure for collaboration that clients trust, and an environment that allows flexibility for mobile professionals without a desk

To empower these players to perform at their best, the infrastructure must be in place.  In 2017 your firm is likely prioritizing infrastructure upgrades for the firm.  Many of our clients are actively modernizing their core hardware and software (e.g., Upgrading to Windows 10, Exchange and SQL upgrades, remote access).  This is an important step in your firm’s “digital transformation” to ensure the team operates as a consistent unit.

However, an equally important and parallel effort is empowering individual teams to advance their skills and contribution.  Thus, you need to support your CMO with resources and guidance driving higher revenue contribution, as well as provide COO, Managing Partners, and Practice Leads visibility across their ecosystem via advancements in analytics and data visualization, and explore a next generation of offerings for various roles across your firm.

Best of luck with your picks!!  The legal industry is incredibly challenging right now but there’s no better time to be in this game!