Phil Windley writes one of my favorite blogs. Today he has some excellent comments on the Gartner Group’s list of top 10 CIO resolutions for 2005.
As he notes, “most of this seems like the same old stuff,” but he singles out a few of the resolutions for special attention. I agree with his choices. The list applies to law firms as well as businesses in general.
First, there is the suggestion that CIOs use regulatory requirements to enable investment in related areas. Windley says, “This is great way to accomplish long term objectives from short term requirements.”
Second, there is the suggestion that CIOs spend more time getting familiar in a hands on way with some new technologies. Time, of course, can be hard to find. Windley recommends an idea I have been thinking about over the last month or two – advisory committees.
Windley says, “create an informal advisory board of a few people who are keeping up with the trends and take them to lunch once a month or so. . . . Another approach is to do something more formal such as hiring a consultant or two and make them your private tutors. Meet with them once a month for a few hours and have them come prepared to teach you about something you need to know but haven’t had the time to keep up with.”
In a way, Windley is suggesting that the notion of coaching has a place for CIOs. I’ve noticed that many law firm CIOs are very strong on information technology, but are not as up to speed on legal technology as they might want to be. In some cases, individual coaching might make sense. In others, the advisory committee notion might make sense.
For firms that have technology committees, I often see some similar knowledge gaps that could be greatly alleviated with a little effort, education and direction. I’ve always felt that many firms could benefit from some “coaching” for their technology committees or, perhaps even better, working with an “advisory committee” of legal tech consultants.
However, when this idea gets pitched to law firms, by others or by me, firms insist on going it alone even though they are well aware of the deficiencies in their knowledge and awareness of options. Perhaps that will change in 2005.