Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Problems with technologists

The Internet is important to all of because of the way if affects our profession and business. For that reason, I have written a fair bit about it over time.

On Friday 22 July I wrote Academic journals, the shuttle & the internet on my personal blog. It's there because it was triggered by my personal reactions. I said in part:

I am a very heavy internet use. Further, the way I use the net extends well beyond transactions or the discovery of immediate current information. To the ordinary user, the problems that I experience may be of limited relevance. Yet I think that they are quite important.

My thinking to this point has really focused on my own responses, essentially taking the net as a given. I am now wondering just how the net has to change if it is really to meet the needs of that minority group, Belshaw and his ilk.

A lot of the technologists and net enthusiasts I know are not much help. I have been meaning to write on this one for a while. The difficulty from my perspective is that I am expected to fit into their solutions and enthusiasms, whereas I want them to fit into mine! I am, after all, the user!

In Australia, the main law publishing firms are all in the process of releasing their publications as e-books. However, they are also trying to maintain their current charge structures. It's not going to work - the simple addition of a search facility is not enough to justify the cash cost.

When I said in my post that I wanted the technologists to fit into my solutions and enthusiasms I wasn't joking. The problem with technologists is that they won't do this and it's frustrating.

Technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Recently I have been working on some internet based projects designed to streamline aspects of professional practice. I think that the thing that stands out most clearly in my mind is just how hard it is to get the interface right between the technology and the business or professional process.

One of the kickers is the hidden cost that lies in simple things like support and training.

I think that there are solutions, but they are going to come from the business, not technology side.     

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