ILTA Conference Session: Five Reasons Why Terms Like Practice Support, Knowledge Management, and Financial Services Miss the Point

23 Aug

Post By David Hobbie, ILTA KM Blogmaster

On Thursday August 30 at 2:00 in Maryland D, a provocative conference session will address why our legal technology careers must stay connected with our organizations’ business.

The formal description:

This provocative topic will motivate you to look to the horizon rather than at the ground in front of you. Talented people go to work every day without realizing what they are doing is pioneering new and very risky territory. “I manage knowledge” is an understatement, and what you say you are doing has a lot to do with whether you succeed. Let’s explore why the simple terms we use to describe our work completely miss the point. Hashtag #ACT3

Leading the discussion is John Alber, Strategic Technology Partner at Bryan Cave. Under his leadership Bryan Cave earned a 2011 Distinguished Peer Award in ILTA’s “Most Innovative Firm” category.

The thrust of the session is that, beginning with the names we choose for our efforts, we often tend to create “introverted” organizations that lack the connections with the core functions of our businesses. In particular, such organizations can be profoundly disconnected from revenue streams and profitability. It may be that we subconsciously want to be disconnected in this way. People can spend entire careers very contentedly in the farthest pastures of an organization having never had one significant digit’s impact on those metrics.

Is it a given that something like KM be so disconnected? No, and in some professional services organizations, IT and KM and the like have, from a revenue standpoint, not only outperformed the core functions, but have outlasted them (e.g., IBM’s PC manufacturing). The difference between THAT kind of KM and traditional KM is how much work the KMers are willing to do to assure connection with the core of the business. There are models for how to do that, but they are notable in the legal sector for their absence.


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