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    January 12th, 2009

    Pick up the Pieces…

    Words, Music and Recorded by Average White Band, Roger Ball, Hamish Stuart.

    Microsoft is launching a new ad campaign that will stress the savings (i.e. increased productivity) from investing in new technology, according to IT World (“New Microsoft ads stress savings derived from software” by Jeremy Kirk.)

    Proving the ROI of technological investments is not trivial; I suspect that these ads will be high on qualitative reflection rather than quantitative statistics (although I would be happy to be proven wrong).   Microsoft has, in my respectful opinion, concentrated on the consumer side of the operating system for too long, to the detriment of the business user – particularly the smaller business user.

    Most smaller law firms are essentially held hostage by their IT support personnel, since setting up, running and fixing even a small business network requires a great deal of technical ‘know-how’.  I have also heard stories from lawyers that ‘their system can’t do X’ when I know that there are scores of similar firms that are doing “X” on a daily basis.

    Their IT technicians, I suspect, have set up their system in a matter that does not fully meet the business needs of the law firm and the staff and lawyers working there. This is not necessarily by malicious intent – IT people don’t practice law and don’t see the world through the same lens as lawyers.  The IT person’s job is to keep the systems running with a minimum of trouble – that may mean that they do not implement features or applications that may create more work for themselves.  But this also means that the firm is not receiving the full ROI of their technological investment, due to the complications of working with and maintaining the technology.

    Vista, to be blunt, has been responsible for a large part of this – it has caused headaches for many (but not all). I know that the upswing in interest in Macs in law firms has been driven by lawyers and staff who are looking for a ‘less intrusive’ way of working – they simply don’t want to have to be dealing with the all the bothersome IT details.

    It was instructive that at the Board of Trustees Meeting of the College of Law Practice Management in Chicago this past weekend that all but three of the laptops on the table were Macs.  There were two Dells and an HP – the rest were Macs, ranging from a G4 (that is still plugging away) all the way up to the latest black and white, aluminum-cased MacBook.  I looked around and asked myself, if the leaders in management in the legal profession are adopting Macs, can the rest of the profession be far behind?

    I am hopeful that Microsoft’s ads will really bring out how computing technology has and will continue to make us all more productive.  I also hope that this also signals a real sea-change at Microsoft to focus on productivity from the ground-up; by paying more attention to the smaller business user rather than the consumer market.  Looking back at Vista, I truly hope that this indicates a deep-rooted change at Microsoft to pick up the pieces and get back to the business market.

    This entry was posted on Monday, January 12th, 2009 at 1:12 pm and is filed under Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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