Peer to Peer

June 2009

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 99 12 Peer to Peer BEST PRACTICES The Technology Committee: ILTA Members Weigh In P osts on an ilta E-Group are more than a thread — they're a tapestry of knowledge and experience, often of great value to the broader ilta membership. Take this recent discussion on the topic of technology committees. We think it's a terrific primer, both for firms thinking about setting up a committee, as well as firms that want to tweak what they already have. We've taken the recent e-mail thread and transformed it into a roundtable discussion. PEER 1/LEADER: My firm is in the early planning stages of a technology committee, and I'm looking for some outside perspective. The first draft of its proposed scope of responsibility and role of overseeing the plans and performance of the IT department seems too narrow. My feeling is that the committee should be more involved in setting overall direction for technology in the firm and in assisting the partnership and executive committee in making decisions about which technology projects we should pursue or defer. PEER 2: Good luck! I worked extensively with a technology committee at my last firm, and I'm still going through post-traumatic stress therapy! Seriously – in my experience, the more you can keep the committee out of projects and technology issues, the better. PEER 3: I agree. At my firm, we keep the technology committee focused on strategic plans. They're only minimally involved in the finances and don't have any say in the day-to-day running of the IT department. PEER 4: I think the tech committee is often put into place when management has concerns about controlling cost and service levels. However, I also believe a well-defined technology committee with a clearly articulated mission statement can benefit a firm and a technology department, particularly when there's and existing disconnect between the business of the firm and the technology supporting it. The first iteration of the committee at my previous firm was large and unwieldy. It included representation from just about every department and practice area and rarely seemed to get anything done. PEER 1/LEADER: So what'd you do? PEER 4: Out with the old, in with a new, smaller committee! It now comprises only a "Technology Partner," a member of the executive committee, the executive director, director of IT, and the assistant director of IT. It is strictly policy-oriented. PEER 1/LEADER: Thanks for teeing up my next question – who should be on the committee? Our plan calls for inclusion of our COO, KM partner, IT director, a practicing partner and associate, and our director of project management – that's me. Thoughts? PEER 5: Our tech committee is made up of 10 partners from various offices and sections, along with the CFO, COO and senior IT management. We discuss strategies, budget, policies, current user issues and active tech projects. Having served on it for 17 years, I've found a technology committee can be a great thing. They back me up when people question policy or want to disregard procedures. PEER 6: Number-wise, I'll bet I've got you all beat. We have 18 members that included a shareholder chair, the executive director, CIO, KM director, director of professional development, an office administrator, the IT project manager, IT manager of technical support, marketing technology manager, admin director and seven shareholders, and me, the director of client services – distributed across various offices and various practice groups. This gives us a good mix of people across the firm. We're responsible for overall technology strategic planning, policy writing and execution regarding use of technology in general and championing technology within the firm. We meet every month via video conference and have a standing agenda with individual reports from the CIO, PM, director of client services and the KM director on large projects. PEER 7: Our firm took the opposite tack and went small. It includes me, the firm administrator and a tech-savvy member of the executive committee. Oh, and because

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Peer to Peer - June 2009