Being back two weeks from attending this year’s ILTA (International Legal Technology Association), I am still absorbing the wealth of knowledge I gained during the conference. I am very glad that I took the time to attend!! There were lots of attendees, close to 1,000,  and a constant buzz – it was definitely an IT “legal industry event”.

The theme resonating throughout the conference was Deliver More with Less($)

I spent significant time attending the Executive sessions in order to better  understand the current thoughts of  C-Level executives and how they deal with their business challenges. What keeps them up at night? How do they deliver the best end-user experience in a cost effective manner without sacrificing QOS.

Several executive presentations that will stick in my mind for a long time are the messages delivered by Peter Lesser, Gene Viscelli & Anthony DeCerce, as well as, the one delivered by Lorey Hoffman, Paul Wittekind and Lance Rea. When referring to engaging with a partner, the comment, “I bet my job” , resonated in everyone’s ear. This comment depicted to me the the “out of box” thinking of such individuals. They discussed “innovation” vs. “invention” and the trust that they place in the companies they partner with to deliver outstanding QOS. The ability to reduce operational costs by 60%, while saving their firm $1.5 million, was just one of the few great milestones accomplished by these seasoned “innovators”.

Another key presentation focused on Virtual Technologies — one that is certainly dear to everyone,  whether they are part of the legal community or not. Technologies from Citrix/VMware/Microsoft  was on everyone’s agenda and strategic plan. The challenge is how to deliver to the end user the best possible experience to his or her end device (desktops, laptops, PDA’s, thin clients etc.) The presentations discussed the new Citrix’s XenDesktop, VMview and Microsoft AppV.  A few case studies discussed investment, business requirements and end goals. No discussion of a preference between the technologies was truly drilled down..

ILTA organized their sessions into competencies for the legal community: Executive, Business, Technology, Accounting. It was a pleasure being able to navigate through the different sessions as one focused on a certain trend or topic of interest. I gained the most out of attending the executive sessions which gave me a clear understanding of the message being transferred by C-Level Management.  Individuals at firms who’s purpose is to seek the advice and direction of their Trusted Advisors as well as peers and colleagues to come up with innovative ways to  better enhance their “end-users experience”.

I spent time looking at many technology (hardware/software) companies but focused on meeting with the legal applications software companies. From a strategy standpoint, I believe that it is incumbent upon Professional Services Organizations who focus in the legal community,  and are proud when it comes to making legal applications “fly” in their environments leveraging emerging technologies, (Citrix, EMC, Microsoft, RSA, VMware, etc.) that should partner with the companies all law firms use and rely on for their day to day business. It will enable both (PSO’s & the legal application vendors) to strengthen their focused by aligning and be familiar with each other’s strengths and use each other’s name when asked for a referral of “who do you recommend is the best for”.

A common term I overheard was BYOP (bring your own PC). I can have two, or more, environments on my PC – personal version where what I do is my business, all my traffic goes out to the internet – and a “secure & managed” corporate version which lets me run my corporate applications by just clicking an icon. At which point, I’m no longer tied or “chained” to a corporate policy as to what they believe is the best for me but let me be the judge of that as long as my personal and business lives don’t overlap.

The buzz I kept hearing everyone I spoke to is how to manage their desktop strategy and the compelling event now is the coming of Win7. How will I migrate my end users to Win7 ?, solve lots of the current issues with the current physical desktop model and “delight” the end user experience? I am confident that Jacques BenSimon’s, IPM’s CTO, forthcoming article, It’s A Jungle Out There, will help many clients crystallize and begin to document their customized desktop strategy and then “vigorously” test the new technology in a Pre-Production environment.

I’m grateful for been involved in the legal community and look forward to an exciting 2010!

by Avi Deutsch – September 11, 2009 (adeutsch@ipm.com)

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