I went to an excellent seminar last week at UWE, one of their Distinguished Executive Address series. Christine Hodgson, CEO of Capgemini UK plc was speaking about “Embracing technology for business success”.
At one point in the talk she reminded us how much technology had changed even relatively recently: social media, instant messaging, smartphones, mobile e-commerce. Any business plan written in 2005 would be laughably out of date now.
Did any of us truly foresee how many people would switch to smartphones and how far these would become embedded within our society? Did we realise the extent to which this would support the use of social media? Did any of us realise how, despite the recession, people would still invest in smartphones when they could barely afford their gas bills? Did we anticipate that people in the developing world would prioritise the purchase of mobile phones so highly?
So how does this affect those of us working in KM in law firms?
There are plenty of technological lessons to be learned by firms about ensuring they have caught up with recent changes: having mobile-enabled websites or updated security systems to support the tablets and smartphones lawyers will want to use when out and about. However, this is a KM blog not a technology blog.
The talk reminded me about the fundamental importance of:
- focussing on current and future business needs in all KM work
- continuously adapting and improving a firm’s KM strategy
We all know that we should have an up to date KM strategy, we should be referring to our KM strategy regularly and reviewing it annually at least, but how often do we actually do that?
These are challenging times in the legal sector: LPOs, ABSs, changes to legal aid and recoverability of costs, outsourcing, offshoring, automated document assembly. It is therefore doubly important that a KM department supports and promotes the organisation’s current business goals and utilises the right technology, not the business goals and technology available when it last prioritised a review of its strategy. It needs to keep nimble and flexible to remain successful.
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