In a world where even the most senior of partners can now be found typing away on a laptop, an observer could mistakenly believe that personal computing is as straightforward as using the average toaster. Unfortunately for attorneys, computer software is mostly designed or implemented by computer people for computer people and not for legal professionals.
What exacerbates the problem: IT's steadfast adherence to flawed beliefs we'll call "The Five Grand Assumptions." In order to transform your technology department from good to great, eliminate these five blind spots and open up the door to a better relationship with your users.
ASSUMPTION #1: IT KNOWS BEST (ABOUT EVERYTHING)
How many times have you considered installing a new product in your firm without soliciting input from a representative cross-section of users?
Early buy-in from the very people who will have to use the product ensures you'll have advocates when it comes time to "selling" it to everyone else.
A different twist: Because a product seems easy to use for a technologist, it must follow that it's simple for any nontechnical person to grasp. Interview any frustrated lawyer and you'll hear that IT doesn't even try to know how attorneys work, which is why they end up with products that are of little use.
ASSUMPTION #2: THE BUSINESS EXISTS TO SUPPORT IT
Many IT departments live for the hottest products on the market. Acquiring technology just for technology's sake isn't just a potential waste of time; it can be a sure sign to partners that their hard-earned dollars are being frittered away.
Another example: the citation of phantom policies by IT for their convenience, often spun from thin air. When pressed, it's discovered that these directives are merely fabrication, leading to the loss of much-needed credibility and questioning IT's purpose in the firm.
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By: Tom Ranalli