It’s the end of the year. A la David Letterman, here is my own Top 10 2010 technology trends and a few concerns:
10. Collaboration: Firms have jumped on the collaboration bandwagon using tools such as Microsoft SharePoint to collaborate both on a firm and client-facing basis. This collaboration enables firms to stay on top of things such as productivity, etc. In the 2010 ILTA Purchasing Survey, 49% of respondents utilize SharePoint internally for collaboration, while 24% use it as a collaboration tool for client and other external communications.
Con: Not a lot of cons; perhaps time to implement and keeping the information up to date.
9. Social Networking Increased: With the increased use of social networking, decision making has become easier both for firms and clients. Almost all companies are socially networking one way or another and it gives firms more exposure overall.
Con: This increase has made people and companies more vulnerable. Larger firms want to make sure to control their message; social networking can do just the opposite.
8. Technology Creating Technology: Smart technologies are spurring on a new slew of technology that tie in to existing technology to speed up processes. Many organizations are making the creative process to develop this technology more scientific by recording the process.
Con: Technology was developed to make lives easier. Sometimes the learning curve and implementation can create more work with a higher degree of complexity.
7. 360 Degree Security (Accountability): With all of the information flying in and out of organizations, firms are becoming increasingly cognizant of the integrity of their information and how it is being protected, especially within the cloud. A 360-degree security plan is granular in nature and includes doing a lot of small things to ensure the maximum security.
6. Mixed Technology Collaboration: From PDAs to video conferencing to email, etc. mixed technological collaboration are enabling firms to do more in less time.
5. Green: Going green is in and it will stay in for good reason. Technological advances such as paperless billing and workflow routing are saving countless resources.
4. Video Conferencing: This is becoming a must-have in every forward-thinking office. It enables people to engage and communicate on a higher level. Video conferencing encourages collaboration as both firm associates and clients can increasingly meet face-to-face while saving on cost and going green.
Con: Video conferencing can be somewhat impersonal and may not be right in certain situations. See my blog posting on firing employees.
3. Smart Machines: Thankfully in 2010, we weren’t overtaken by machines, but companies are working to use smart technology. Smart technology knows how to redistribute energy resources when things are off via wireless. Speed also increases as a result of wireless and smart machines. This will be a major trend in 2011? Maybe
Con: Yet unknown.
2. Streamlining to Save Clients Money: This point goes along with ‘technology creating technology’ but it applies to the billable hour. Firms are utilizing technology to save clients money. In this day and age, this is a huge plus. Utilizing technology to quickly review documents, etc. is being used to hit the bottom line (and this is what technology is meant for).
Con: Nothing really. Saving clients money by working smarter is key.
1. Cloudiness: Firms further embraced cloud computing and saved on maintenance and expense both in hardware and in time. The mid –large size law firms have not embraced cloud applications at the “enterprise” level such as word processing, email, or time and billing. Some document management has moved there.
Con: Sometimes this model doesn’t always work for firms who are looking for enterprise level products and iron-grid security.