Seven Easy Ways for Law Firms to Throw Away Money on Technology – Article

[I wrote this article at the end of 2003. The end of the year has always seemed like a great time to step back and take a close look at what you are doing and see if it makes sense to continuing doing it. No one likes the word “audit,” but taking a close look at what you are doing right and wrong is a necessary first step for doing strategic planning for your technology. Or you can keep pouring money down the drain.]
Seven Easy Ways for Law Firms to Throw Away Money on Technology
Technology spending has grown to comprise 4 to 6% of the average law firm’s budget. The sad story is that many law firms, despite their best plans and intentions, are throwing many of their technology dollars down the drain.
I am talking about real money, not potential savings, not speculative productivity numbers, and not “potential” new clients from web sites or “knowledge management” efforts. There are many ways to toss away money on technology. How many of the following ways to waste your budget apply to you?
1. Do not align technology projects with business goals. The results: projects that never get completed or produce any benefit and diversion of dollars away from great projects to pet projects.
2. Do not quantify and measure results. The results: projects with costs far greater than any benefits and lingering projects on which the plug should have been pulled long ago.
3. Buy new software when you already own software that would perform the task you require. The result: your losses compound as you add training costs for the new software to the costs of the software.
4. Be unaware of all of the legal software alternatives. The results: paying too much for software that sort of fits your needs when better options exist.
5. Do not explore volume licensing options and, in particular, Microsoft licensing options. The results: paying a higher price than necessary and, in the case of Microsoft products, incurring unnecessary upgrade costs.
6. Have a technology committee without experience, expertise and a clearly-defined mission. The result: even simple projects take years to make decisions about and IT staff operates on its own.
7. Fail to educate your IT staff about your legal practice and the unique issues involved. The results: ill-advised decisions, misdirected priorities and technology gaffes involving clients.
And these seven ways represent just the tip of the iceberg. You may also be putting money into technologies already known to be on their way out, locking up your data in proprietary systems, buying overpowered or underpowered hardware, paying insufficient attention to security and antivirus issues, and creating difficulties in communicating with clients. You have to find a lot of extra hours to bill to be able to toss away that kind of money. The best route, of course, is to take a good hard look at what you may be doing wrong, refocus your efforts and save some of the money you are wasting to use for technology that helps you.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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