Technology – The IT departments achilles heal.

In my opinion change needed and needed fast. It’s time *IT professionals forgot about the technology (to begin with) and focussed on people and culture, over delivering the shiniest and latest technology. Technology is no longer the silver bullet to issues and problems as business’s have evolved, and thanks to the consumerisation of IT, people (outside of IT) are dramatically more IT savvy than they used to be.

Sound harsh? Of course it is, some will even say it’s incorrect. Of course technology has it’s part to play but I think many firms are guilty of ignoring their biggest asset – their people.! Ignoring them will always mean you start projects on the back foot.

When delivering projects or services, how much of the focus is on the technology rather than really understanding the use of the technology? My guess would be that it’s the IT departments achilles heal. IT project teams and IT departments on the whole would get better press internally if a little more focus was placed on the people and their requirements.  I read a statistic last week that 3 in 4 business users (the survey was outside of legal) have no or little faith in IT projects in general. Whilst the % surprised me the notion didn’t.

So how can we go about improving this perception? there are some ideas below which aren’t everything.Some IT departments out there already do some of these things, though the ‘lean’ looking IT teams mean that many people are already doing 2 roles before they even start to think about their client.

  • Formal **training for non legal staff to increase awareness of the business and it’s strategies
  • New teams focused on client satisfaction
  • Aligning people to business/practice areas
  • New initiatives focusing on continuous improvement
  • Breakdown the barriers between the internal service delivery and project
  • Blending business SME’s with technological SME’s

We are at a crossroads where by the business and IT need to meet more, talk more and understand not just assume. This needs to happen from both sides. For too long there has been a divide based on assumptions and past results. IT departments need to be deliver services transparently and should be responsible for ‘knowing’ the business they are serve, it should be more than a statement but a measurement. Learning from our business (lawyers) will help influence how the firm can adopt technology or process for better not worse. Quite rightly long gone are the days when the lawyers would trust IT decisions regarding technology, many of today’s lawyers are more likely to challenge a process or system adoption instead. This greater collaboration about the services provided (present and future) will help the business understand how technology will help them in achieving the business goals. I look forward to hearing about your teams initiatives in getting away from technology.

*for this post I’m talking about Legal IT professionals
**more than the firmwide induction everyone gets but something akin 3 core sessions a year and a choice of 5 others which you must attend 2

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