However, seeing this card reminded us of something that we’ve been planning to address on the blog for quite a while: the fact that the IT function is the law firm’s unsung hero.
Dictionary.com defines an unsung hero as “a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution; a person whose bravery is unknown or unacknowledged.”
Sounds like IT to me.
Unfortunately for the IT team, when things are going well, they are not always recognized. IT can sometimes be a forgotten function within the firm. When does IT receive attention? It is the small minority of time that something is broken or not working properly. It’s not intentional - but it’s the nature of the behind-the-scenes services that IT provides.
The reality is that the IT team spends most of its time keeping the firm’s infrastructure running smoothly, so that attorneys and other staff can do their jobs anytime and anywhere. There are several factors involved in keeping all of these moving and accessible at all times. And, it is a truly a 24/7 role. As attorneys increase use of their mobile devices to conduct businesses from the courtrooms and client meetings around the world, IT is keeping busy making sure that those functions can be carried out seamlessly.
The biggest takeaway is this: a massive evolution is happening in technology and the role of IT is being transformed along with it. IT is no longer the service provider, but a strategic enabler and trusted adviser responsible for empowering law firms to innovate and remain competitive. That is a lot pressure! There is also a limited bank of time and resources that can be directed toward keeping up with the technological changes. Perhaps most importantly, IT has to figure out how to keep all these moving parts in balance.
By now you have already figured out the “what” involved in this change – mobile devices and mobile apps, BYOD, cloud services, big data analytics, and social technologies. But the “how” aspect of this change proves to be a bit more challenging, which includes actually creating this technical foundation for the mobile, digital, and cloud applications that your business now requires to stay competitive.
Long gone are the days when IT was seen as an “administrative expense.” Law firms that fail to leverage new technologies and empower their IT professions are likely to be left behind by customers and competitors.
Like many roles within the law firm, the role of the IT team has changed dramatically over the past few years. What is the most significant change that you’ve witnessed at your firm? Share your comments below.