Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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fits-all approach is not very effective across diverse business groups inside the United States, and in cross-cultural situations it can be a formula for a disaster! We encourage our clients to really do their business analysis and build out the right set of business- centric views for each region or international work group. Centralization and WANs: With many of our large international law firm clients having in excess of 15 international offices, a lot of time and money goes into network infrastructure and system architecture. As such, this is one of the first areas that we recommend our clients look at for cost savings. Key to this process is understanding the roles that centralization, consolidation and system scalability play in realizing cost savings. • Centralization helps reduce hardware and operational costs by pulling systems onto blade servers in regional data centers. • Consolidation enables firms to save on license fees, administration efforts and gain increased user productivity. • System scalability directly impacts how much financial benefit you will experience from both centralization and consolidation. Thus, we strongly encourage our customers to coincide international rollouts, upgrades and deployments with centralization and consolidation projects. We also advise clients to pay close attention to network latency across the WAN, to take full advantage of modern IP acceleration technologies for speedier performance and to pre-position content-caching technologies where needed. Continual Improvement: With all of the complexities and moving pieces, it is very tempting to declare a "mission accomplished" and move on to your next battle. However, our experience has been that it is critical to periodically revisit each deployment site to ensure that things have worked out as planned. Also, in today's rapidly changing business environment, what made sense and worked six months or a year ago may now be out-of-date or — even worse — a business impediment. Putting in place a formal system to ensure you are continually revisiting and improving your international deployments and key business processes is vital for long-term sustainable success. Expectations, Support, Disenfranchisement name. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Donald Sternfeld company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kraft & Kennedy, Inc. website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.kraftkennedy.com Our shrinking globe is providing opportunities for many firms to explore inbound and outbound international practices as rich growth areas. Victims of their own success, lawyers demand the same level of technology and service whether in Kabul or Kuala Lumpur. However, these foreign offices present particular challenges for the firm's IT staff, especially when it comes to rollouts and enhancements. While the technical issues are not insignificant, there are also management aspects to consider when supporting and upgrading technologies in far-flung locations. Expectations: Lawyers and staff expect IT services in foreign offices to be nearly identical to what is available domestically. This is especially true of those who travel frequently. It may not be realistic to assume that things will be "the same as at the home office" unless the foreign office has a sufficiently large presence to warrant the necessary infrastructure (e.g., regional data center, onsite servers). Thin-client solutions can help, although laptop users, some of the most frequent travelers to these offices, may not find them to be very satisfactory. Support: Smaller foreign offices might not warrant full- or even part-time IT support; however, it is time-consuming, costly and not always feasible for the home-based IT staff to travel to locations around the world, especially on short notice. Yet frequently the kinds of service providers that we have come to expect in even the smallest domestic locations are not available in certain countries (no Geek Squad!). Disenfranchisement: Both domestic and foreign offices can suffer from "outpost" syndrome: We're not the "mother ship," and no one truly understands or cares about our needs. Complicate this with cultural differences — different workdays, holidays, schedules and customs — and, as hard as the staff in domestic offices try, it is very difficult to make those in "outposts" feel that their needs are being considered. Especially with rollouts; many of the tools, customizations and parameters will be designed for the bulk of the firm and may not adequately consider the needs of foreign offices. For a large firm, this makes economic sense but leads to an increased sense of "they just don't get it." Peer to Peer 21

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