Keeping pace with technology

Judith Flournoy, CIO, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
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Judith Flournoy, CIO, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Judith Flournoy, CIO, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Recent Evolution of the Application Performance Management (APM)

Application Management (AM) largely depends on the procurement of the right technology and its optimum maintenance. With rampant technology evolution and the emergence of several inventive technology platforms, AM lifecycle too has changed. Today, the power to optimize the AM cycle rests more with cloud service providers that provide SaaS-based offerings. Moving on from traditional on-premise systems for data management and other back-office work, more law firms are adopting hosted solutions.

In tandem with these developments, we at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP are increasingly using hosted products and services. We are using SaaS for DMS, CRM, HRIS and cybersecurity systems while making sure that these hosted services meet the necessary compliance requirements.

Key Considerations for APM

An application has to align with the business requirement, and it should have high usability rate for it to be valuable. A Firm has to focus on three key components to ensure the gain on ROI on their applications. First, a strong business case is indispensable for an application. In addition, there should be a well-defined set of people who can test application for its performance and accuracy. Getting constant feedback from the team of testers gives the heads up for the decision makers to introduce the app for a larger audience.

Strategy for Growth

While selecting a cloud service provider for streamlining business process, be proactive in assessing the partner and negotiating the contracts for SLAs that guarantee high-performance metrics. At the outset, start small in adopting cloud transition and grow iteratively. Ensuring that the SaaS solution serves the purpose is crucial before large-scale adoption. Moreover, the service partner should be willing to keep their solutions updated with every new update of Windows 10 operating system.

We have developed a strategy where deploying new services and systems are based on the idea of design thinking. Design thinking is pivotal for the entire APM lifecycle. It helps in understanding what the client needs and collaboratively work with the team to choose the apt solution for the client. For instance, when we purchase software, we don’t focus much on vendors. We follow a different route where we converse with these vendors and make them understand our requirement. By doing so, we always get better results than we expect. Sometimes we have to look outside the usual vendor pool if we want to work more efficiently, be more profitable, and provide the highest level of service to the clients.

  We have developed a strategy where deploying new services and systems are based on the idea of design thinking  

As the CIO of a law firm, I drive a lot of innovation through a team of lawyers and other professionals to help them identify and elaborate on what they need to do on behalf of our clients. Getting the people to understand what they need to do and taking that to the next level, in the form of prototyping, testing, and delivery.

The Future of APM

The increased adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in business apps will have a dramatic impact on the professionals across industries. While efficiency is the upshot, the flipside of it is impending job loss. With these developments that can widely impact the law firm ecosystem, businesses therefore in future need to build new strategies around their staffing needs. A law firm today, using traditional research software, might not be as effective as another firm employing machine learning and AI. The companies developing research software have to get back to the drawing table to develop a new business strategy to deliver their services.

Personality Traits that Influence Your Leadership Skills

Among the many things that I am passionate about, bike riding and music have had a major influence on my growth as a leader. Bike riding for me is about taking calculated risks. Most of my job role as the CIO deals with calculated risks. Every decision or every investment we make for a particular project is a calculated risk because there is always a factor of uncertainty involved in decision making. An uncertainty that a new technology taken onboard can be inadequately utilized or adopted, despite the due diligence and the research done beforehand.

Being a creative person, I perform as a guitarist in a music band. Between a musician and a CIO, the common denominator is orchestration with a set of people. Like music, a CIO’s job deals with interacting and collaborating with people. While music is all about sounding good, a CIO has to solve the real world problems.

Advice for the Leadership

Foster a work environment that supports an open culture where the employees can voice their opinions. One can achieve a better outcome only if there is an equal effort from both the employees and the C-level executives. There should be continuous engagement with the employees or in the case of a Law Firm, the Partners, and other professionals, always encouraging them to consider alternatives and be open to change.

Moreover, interact with the clients, partners, and employees; provide an open space for everyone giving them the opportunity to speak out. Treat people the way they deserve and build your surroundings with talented people as they are one of the cornerstones of any company’s or firm’s growth. Moreover, volunteer in things even when it is not your core area because it can augment your knowledge, promoting better understanding.

Remember that change is inevitable in the tech world. So keep a keen watch and observe the people and technologies around you. Currently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is marking its existence in almost every industry creating a dramatic impact on people. With AI there is going to be a major uproar and job loss. Leadership should be monitoring the impact of technology if not directly through their CIO, CTO or CINO.

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