A critical, strategic mistake I see law firms and corporate law departments make on a regular basis is to reinvest in technology that isn’t future proof. It’s not that firms aren’t spending on technology – it is just spent poorly. That’s a direct result of the propensity to continue to reinvest in legacy technology systems far after it’s clear they are no longer viable. Part of this has been the extraordinary capital investment involved in migrating platforms – a problem we can address via cloud computing. Part of it is just plain old organizational inertia.
It is a really good way to get nowhere fast. Lots of money will be spent, but still no really effective solution. It’s continuing down a path of patchwork contraptions with software ‘integrations’ costing millions of dollars, working briefly, and then breaking under the explosion in data volume.
The most telling trend is that there is still no support for Apple in the legal community. According to the most recent ABA Legal Technology survey, just 7.7 percent of firms use Apple systems. So what gives? After all, it’s official, the iPad is not just outselling every other tablet — it’s outselling every individual PC maker.
So looking at this number, legal technologists have an important decision facing them.
Can I continue to spend on technology that does not support multiple platforms? How long will my users put up with not being able to do their work on the Apple (or Android) products they love?
So as your organization looks at its technology spend this year, a critical question to answer is what kind of investment is being made in supporting multiple platforms. If the answer is that none of the spend furthers that goal, then it’s money poorly spent.
Or it’s a bet that this Mac/Android thing is a fad. Like social media. And we’ll go back to the old days of Microsoft-only file types, and Microsoft-only solutions.
The virtue of investing in technology and process that support multiple platforms go further than just supporting those platforms. It reflects that it’s better technology. If looking at two competing software packages, the better technology will run on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 8, will run on Lion OS today (or whatever big cat Apple chooses that year), will run on Apple iOS, and will run on Android.
The lesser technology will be platform specific — it will only run on one of the platforms.
Think about if Facebook or Google only ran on a single platform. “In order to use Facebook, download this executable that will run on Windows XP, but it must also include Service Pack 2, and you can only use Internet Explorer 6.0, with the Active X controller activated.”
They would be dead on arrival. So the choice is yours. Invest in the better technology, or continue to spend on inferior technology because it’s easier.