Top IT Trends for Large Firms
Technology budgets are up in the largest firms, but at a slower pace than in past years, according to the 2008 Legal Technology Purchasing Survey, conducted by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). Some 68 percent reported budget increases in 2008, up 3 percent from 2007. However, there was a 10 percent decline in the number of firms reporting a greater than 5 percent budget increase. The annual ILTA survey probes IT managers in law firms with 100-plus lawyers on purchasing patterns, budgets, decision making and future technology trends.
Where are firms spending their budgets? The most popular purchases planned for 2008-2009 are desktop hardware, upgrades (networks and Microsoft Office), new laptops, VoIP, virtualization and disaster recovery technologies, and Microsoft SharePoint.
SharePoint and virtualization were big winners in the top trends, recent implementations and future purchases categories. SharePoint was implemented in 28 percent of responding firms in 2007, while another 24 percent plan to buy it over the coming year. More than 50 percent of respondents rolled out virtualization technology in 2007. According to the survey, the demand for virtualization technologies points to an increasing focus on savings and risk management. Virtual servers and desktops provide energy savings and lower capital expenses, and virtual infrastructures provide better desktop management, security and disaster recovery.
The most pressing challenges? E-mail management and keeping up with firm growth topped the list. Other common challenges included staffing and budget constraints, data volume and storage limitations, inability to readily access information, user education and training, and e-discovery readiness.
For more information or to purchase the complete survey report, visit www.ilta.org.
ANNUAL TECHNOLOGY SPENDING
Most firms surveyed (78 percent) said they spend 2 to 6 percent of overall firm revenue on technology, not including soft costs such as staffing. Six percent said their firm spends more than 6 percent of revenue on technology. As for dollars spent annually per lawyer on technology, 67 percent of respondents report spending between $8,000 and $26,000 per attorney.
What is the most popular technology purchase you made for your firm in the past three years?
- Mobile devices (primarily new BlackBerry purchases or upgrades)
- Virtualization technologies
- Digital dictation
- Video conferencing
What is the most exciting technology or trend?
- Virtualization (including VMWare and Blade Servers)
- Enterprise search
- Microsoft SharePoint