Inaugural innovation forum a resounding success
Agility is key to retention and recruitment say participants
March saw the successful launch of our first innovation forum, where managing partners, FDs, CEOs and heads of IT from 20 firms across the North West, including LMS, Tayntons and O’Neill Patient, discussed the importance of agility to their business.
Our new innovation forums replace our earlier IT director’s forum series and are designed to bring together managing partners and IT directors over an informal dinner to discuss the key issues facing their business, demonstrating the symbiotic role of IT in law firms today.
Chaired by Richard Hodkinson, CIO of DWF and non-executive director of ConvergeTS, participants were unanimous in their agreement that greater agility is critical if firms are to attract and keep talent, as well as support an increasing demand for better work-life balance.
IT – a cost centre or a profit centre?
A mobile workforce, where staff do not require office space and instead are powered by IT, enables imaginative use of skilled people and more time dedicated to generating revenue than travelling, the forum heard. This was echoed by Richard Hodkinson’s experience at DWF; Richard and his team at DWF support 120 homeworkers and 400 agile workers, who are able to work from anywhere, at any time. These agile workers are part of DWF’s overall flexible working initiative, where 1200 staff are supplied with mobile phones and over 700 staff with laptops.
Nigel Wright highlighted this as a great example of IT being a profit centre rather than a cost centre, with firms reaping rewards from space cost savings, high staff retention and more time to focus on clients. He also pointed out that much of the cloud-based technology enjoyed by larger firms like DWF is just as accessible for smaller firms on a cost per user, per month basis.
Nigel also outlined the growing expectation amongst potential recruits that firms will automatically be agile and therefore agility is becoming a crucial attraction and retention tool for law firms.
But it’s important to win hearts and minds
The event recognised that it might not all be plain sailing at the outset when moving towards an agile workforce, but that addressing potential cultural issues around adopting new ways of working and using new devices and ensuring you bring senior as well as junior staff on board – as well as making sure your bandwidth is fit for purpose, especially for areas like video conferencing – is important to get right before any real benefits would be experienced.
Richard Hodkinson was quick to point out that around 50% of IT investment is not utilised and consequently results in a lack of any real ROI, making the battle to win hearts and minds just as important as technical considerations.
The event went on to hear some more technical matters including the lack of awareness of many firms around disaster recovery and advice to firms on viewing hosted IT as a commercial rather than technical consideration.
The dinner concluded with networking and the sharing of stories until late into the night, with everyone agreeing that the series had got off to a great start.
For further details or to register your interest, please contact Aaron Naisbitt on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0345 872 4400.