One, stronger transparency and disclosure. The challenges of complexity were exacerbated by opacity. The best antidote to opacity is transparency and disclosure.
Complexity As A Fundamental Problem
April 8, 2008 by Rakesh
Complexity’s inevitable result is failure. No matter how it’s dressed up packaged and sold, too much complexity is a bad thing. We develop really creative ways to simplify complex concepts for juries. Our technology lab makes software that simplifies really complicated data management processes.
When people ask us about the value we can add, to me its simplicity. We break down really difficult and complicated problems – visual, narrative and technology quagmires – by getting really simple about it. It has to make sense and it has to work immediately. That’s always our end goal.
There seems to be a lesson in the dangers of poorly understood complexity in the current credit crisis. I was watching Henry Paulson’s statements about policies the Treasury and the President’s Working Group were developing in response to the recent turmoil in the financial markets. Here’s an excerpt, and it was fascinating how much of the language between developing software and financial instruments are the same.
Innovation is a hallmark of our capital markets. Securitization of credit is one example of an innovation that has made more, more flexible and lower-cost capital available to consumers and companies, and stimulated competition. Financial innovation has brought these and other benefits. Financial innovation has also brought, inevitably, the challenge of complexity. In my judgment, some financial products have become overly complex. Excessive complexity is the enemy of transparency and market efficiency. Investor sentiment has swung hard to risk aversion, and now markets are punishing not only complex, but non-complex products as well.
This is exactly what has happened in legal technology. A lot of money is being invested in overly complex systems that are difficult to understand, are poorly understood for their return on investment, and in the end not used by lawyers. They require support staffs, they require IT staffs, they require platform specific resources to maintain and manage them. One look at the number of services installed on a law firm laptop and it’s obvious complexity is not only embraced — its the actual strategy.
What’s the solution? Let’s look back to Secretary Paulson.
Is your technology strategy transparent enough to avoid turmoil? Now is a good time to ask.