Predictions 2009: Part 2

December 4, 2008

Click here for Predictions Preview, including predictions from Kit Burden, Clive Davies, Ian De Freitas, Professor Lilian Edwards, Beverley Flynn, Paul Gershlick, Simon Morrisey, Jeremy Phillips, Joe Reevy, Peter Sommer, Andrew Tibber and John Yates

From Peter Birley, Director of IT, Browne Jacobson LLP:

2009 will be a more difficult year with investment being curtailed in line with the recessional indications. This means that efficiency will remain The Big Thing, although there will be some investment in technology other than for efficiency in order to position firms for the end of the recession. Security will remain high on the agenda, particularly in dealing with the public sector, and so will risk and compliance issues.

This means that, on the cost/efficiency, side firms will continue with virtualisation to reduce the number of servers and the associated costs, software licence costs will come under the spotlight, as will the old chestnut of outsourcing (although to the enlightened this can be counter productive unless the technology department is very large). We may see legal process outsourcing grow as a number of firms have already put their toe in the water with this type of service.

New areas such as SAAS (software as a service) and cloud computing (servers on demand) could be on the agenda but think it is still a bit early for these in the legal space, although some firms are using it for e-mail security and e-discovery type services. However for smaller firms a full SAAS service with all applications delivered over the internet and paid for on a flexible usage basis could be attractive and a number of vendors are now starting to offer this facility.

Security requirements will see more encryption technologies being deployed at hardware level, for instance laptops being encrypted and software such as e-mails being encrypted. End-point security will become more important with firms looking to close down USB and other entry points to the network.

The ‘less paper’ environment, which can both reduce cost and offers a greener approach, is back on the agenda with lots of firms looking at this but it won’t be without pain: lawyers like paper. It will put pressure on storage as more documents are scanned and we will see an increase in storage demands over 2009 and beyond as a result.

The push for efficiency and reduced office space will see home and mobile working continue to grow and with voice recognition improving every year we will see this creeping into the work place and eventually being available on mobile devices to create and control e-mail without having to type!

Other areas that I predict are (i) further use, at business level, of collaboration and social networking and (ii) the continued move to unified communications to enable flexibility as people move around and to bring together all forms of communication. 

From Simon Briskman, Partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse:

Security will be a prominent issue, as data protection laws and the government’s stance continues to toughen. Procurement teams will seek to shave money off outsourcings in a softening market and renegotiations will proliferate. Commodity outsourcing will be on the rise. I forecast some rays of sunshine with increased uptake of converged media – iplayer to my ipod and TV on my PC – net neutrality will remain a prominent debate.

From Guy Burgess, IT lawyer based in New Zealand:

Prediction 1: 2009 will see an increase in data loss incidents, in particular in the private sector. While the past few years have seen major failings in government institutions, the public sector is well placed to implement stringent, mandated risk management processes to reduce such incidents. The private sector, with far fewer resources, more exposure, and more commercial pressure to take risks, will therefore pick up where HM Revenue & Customs left off (albeit, one hopes, on a significantly lesser scale).

Why the continued surge in data loss incidents? Many factors are involved:

  • more data exists in electronic form
  • more data is held off-site and by third-parties (think outsourcing, cloud computing, software as a service, offsite backups, etc.)
  • more data is mobile (think memory sticks, PDAs, CDs in the post)
  • more data is interchanged
  • systems are more complex.

There is also a cultural element. The July 2008 Burton Report for the Ministry of Defence described the ‘Facebook generation’ as having ‘a culture where the rapid and often uninhibited exchange of information is the norm… [The] younger generation of MoD staff are not inculcated with the same culture of protecting information as their counterparts from previous generations’ (

As the opportunities for data loss have increased, so too has the scope of potential loss. Expanding storage capacities and technical advances mean that an ‘incident’ could result in much more damage than was previously possible. As an example: a decade or two ago losing a briefcase would only result in the loss of the papers within that briefcase, probably numbering no more than a few hundred pages. Today, losing a tiny memory stick, PDA or CD may result in vast amounts of information being lost.

Similarly, the ‘foreseeable damage’ of data loss has increased alongside the rising value of data. For many businesses, losing all of their data would mean near total business interruption. In other words, it is now commonly understood that data is mission critical.

Prediction 2: OpenOffice, the free, open source office-software suite, will continue to make small but impressive gains in market share. There is little question that Microsoft Office will remain the weapon of choice for many years to come, but with the full specifications for Microsoft’s proprietary file formats having been released in February 2008, file format compatibility between the competing suites is now almost perfect. This makes OpenOffice a truly viable (and did I mention free?) alternative to the pricey Microsoft Office. Even if you have no intention of switching, it certainly makes for a useful bargaining tool when renewing Microsoft licensing subscriptions.

From Mathew Davis, Litigation Support Lawyer, and Bill Onwusah, Litigation Support Manager at Lovells LLP:

Notwithstanding that these things are always a hostage to fortune (people only remember the wrong ones, such as: ‘I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year’ – Editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957), our predictions are as follows.
Business entities will increasingly appreciate that poor records management results in larger volumes of irrelevant electronic documents being reviewed by their lawyers which in turn leads to unnecessarily high legal fees. This realisation, combined with the current economic climate, will result in sophisticated clients and/or those frequently engaged in litigation trying to exert greater in-house control over the disclosure of electronic documents both in anticipation of and during litigation. Organisations with document management systems and clear, effective and enforced document management policies will be able more easily to search and identify their disclosable documents, preserve them without negative effect on their business and produce to their advisers a more focused set of documents for review. This will dramatically cut the costs at every stage of the process for the disclosure of electronic documents. This will probably be achieved by one of the major document management suppliers coming up with a review tool to sit on top of their document management software, in the same way as certain email storage companies also host litigation support systems. This combined tool will be used to identify and preserve the desired material and then allow the in-house user to review it and, if they wish, apply some coding. The required documents can then be exported to the legal advisers or supplied to them as a hosted database.

From Andy Harbison, IT Forensics Lead, Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte, Dublin

Firstly I suspect as their clients come under increasing financial pressure, legal professionals will come under increasing pressure to use electronic discovery and litigation methods simply as a means of controlling costs. In any case, in this day and age it is getting difficult to justify wading through lever arch files and bankers boxes of printed paper when electronic data management and analysis methods are available.
I suspect the downturn will also encourage a lot of new entrants in the IT forensics and electronic discovery areas. There is a perception in the marketplace that these are disciplines that are likely to thrive in an economic downturn. On the positive side, this will result in a reduction in costs for clients. More negatively, I suspect it may also lead in some places to a deterioration in standards, as new entrants are less likely to have expertise or reliable processes.
On the technological front, encryption is now becoming very common on evidential computers, particularly on laptops, as a consequence of some of the more public data loss disasters in the last 12 months. This will, of course, complicate the business of evidential data retrieval. In a similar vein we are beginning to see increasing numbers of laptops and other devices with static memory chips replacing old-fashioned hard drives. The advent of these new devices will require the development of new techniques if reliable evidence is to be retrieved from them.
Finally I expect to see more of something we have noticed in the last few months in many of our cases. We have observed a considerable growth in the use of counter-forensic techniques on the evidence we are given to analyse. You may be aware of the so called ‘CSI Effect’; the tendency of jurors who are watchers of police forensic procedural TV shows to expect the prosecution in legal cases to draw on sophisticated and unnecessary forensic techniques in their evidence, and to draw a negative inferences if they are not used. We have seen a parallel CSI Effect where suspects have become aware through such shows of the kinds of valuable evidence that can accumulate on evidential computers, and now take measures to remove it, or ensure it never collects on the computers in the first place. I suspect to see greater numbers of such instances in the next year, and more sophisticated techniques employed to try to foil my investigations.
Then again I suppose the march of progress is something we all have to live with.
Please note that I place no guarantees on the reliability of my crystal ball…

From Andrew Haslam of Allvision Computing:

1. In response to the rise of knowledge about electronic disclosure amongst the courts and clients, there will an increase in the number of law firms with in-house expertise in all litigation support matters. The trend will be for these more ‘savvy’ firms to establish specific working relationships (if not formal panels) with a discrete number of suppliers.

2. Though the level of activity within the litigation marketplace will increase, the focus on costs and increased control exerted by law firms and their clients will drive prices down and at least one medium-sized supplier will go under or merge. This pressure will be exacerbated by the ‘big four’ accountancy practices winning a significant number of the large scale litigation cases emerging from the sub-prime, etc. fallout

3. Clients and law firms will increasingly be looking for companies supplying the full range of litigation services, from data collection, pre-processing, hosting of a review platform, through to preparation of a court room bundle.

4. The main area of growth will be the provision of commoditised litigation services to mid and small tier law firms.

5. The use of paper, with scanning and coding requirements, will continue and show no signs of abating no matter what suppliers and commentators say.

6. There will be a Case Management Conference where combative and hostile litigation lawyers, trained from birth to argue over anything and everything, will indeed have heeded CPR, r 31.7 and have cooperated on electronic disclosure.

From Bill Jones, SCL Chair and of Counsel at Wragge & Co

‘More for Less’ will be the mantra for 2009. When top lines stop growing, costs come under the microscope. Management’s top question is how can we save money now. This is the easy bit because it has already happened and is bound to continue. Outsourcing will therefore continue to be an appealing business model, although revisiting political risk after recent events in Mumbai might blunt the appetite of some for offshoring, at least in the immediate short term.

Another story of the moment is Software as a Service (‘SaaS’). It ties in with the ‘more for less’ mantra because analysing IT spend in terms of total cost of ownership indicates significant cost advantages for many SaaS offerings compared with traditional licensing models. The ball is already rolling but will gain further momentum next year not just with SMEs but also with major corporates.

From Andrew Katz, Partner at Moorcrofts LLP:

Microsoft announces that it is open-sourcing key components of its core office and operating systems. Ludicrous, right? After all isn’t Microsoft the antithesis of open source: the Voldemort to Open Source’s Harry Potter?

Well no. A few salient points:

1. Microsoft isn’t stupid. After all, it’s been one of the most successful companies ever, and it has historically done its best work when  under pressure: Windows 95 faced up to the Mac; Excel when faced with Lotus 1-2-3; Windows NT when faced with Taligent and OS/2 (once IBM took it over). Microsoft is currently faced with attacks on its OS server market (Linux, mainly Red Hat); its office suite market (OpenOffice). The desktop OS market is not far behind: the latest release of Ubuntu (Intrepid Ibex) is easier to install than Vista, is quicker and is less irritating to use.

2. Microsoft has historically backed multiple horses, and quietly dropped the ones that weren’t doing too well. Remember Word for DOS? A much better word-processor than any version of WordPerfect, but phased out when Word for Windows started to succeed.  Multiplan? A DOS-based spreadsheet which was actually pretty good even when compared to Lotus 1-2-3, but dropped when Excel took over. It is easy to assume that MS dropped the DOS products to let Windows succeed, but if you look at Microsoft’s advertising during the relevant period (the late 80s to early 90s) it is clear that it was promoting the products as hard as each other. It was by no means clear that Windows would finally win, and Microsoft was keeping all its options open. With hindsight, a Windows win looks inevitable, but Microsoft was savvy enough to back both plans just in case. More recently? Despite having a ‘computer on every desk’ as its slogan for years, and therefore ostensibly rejecting thin client computing, Microsoft introduced a great web app in Outlook Web Access, bought Hotmail and integrated it into MSN, and licensed Citrix winframe technology to produce Windows NT  terminal server edition, all in blatant defiance of the ‘computer on every desk’ paradigm. And Microsoft is now promoting Office as a suite of web apps (responding to a Google threat). It even sold Unix, in the form of Xenix (which later became SCO/Unix in which Microsoft had a large equity stake), for years. So although it is easy to think with 20/20 hindsight of Microsoft’s plan being consistent and pre-ordained, in fact the business plan has always been to adopt a number of different models and competing products, and then run with the ones that work. If you’ve got the resources, this is clearly (and demonstrably) a pretty good business model. So for Microsoft to run open source and proprietary software in parallel would be entirely consistent with its previous business model.

3. Microsoft is versatile – surprisingly so for such a large company. Remember when MSN was at its heart a communications network which ran in parallel with the Internet, and was incompatible with it? MSN soon realised its error, and ported MSN over to the Internet, and made Internet access an integral part of Windows 95.  Windows NT (much of whose code still underpins both current servers and desktop operating systems) was written without any consideration of Internet networking protocols,  and Internet e-mail compatibility in the early versions of Exchange Server was nothing short of a kludge: the internal workings were based on the X400 protocol, and converters translated between X400 and SMTP (the standard internet mail protocol). In short: Microsoft has made plenty of decisions which could be regarded as mistakes, but when it has realised those mistakes, it has been pretty agile at addressing them.

4. Vista is arguably the biggest proprietary software project that the world will ever see. How so?  Vista has been one of the largest software projects in human history, with 50,000,000 lines of code. It is debatable how much of a failure Vista has been (distribution stats seem to include licences which are then backgraded to XP and so are highly misleading). However, only a company with the deepest pockets could finance such development, and no sane management team (including Microsoft) would consider embarking on such a project again when open source provides a design and development methodology that is far less risky and inexpensive, and is proven to be just as effective. Bear in mind, also, that Microsoft possesses a customer-base which is astoundingly effectively locked-in, and even with all those egregious advantages, Vista has been (and will, I predict, continue to be) a disaster. There will never be another piece of purely proprietary software on the scale of Vista (Windows 7 will, I predict, contain a number of major open-source components).

5. Microsoft has already dipped a toe into the world of open source. Its first foray, shared source, was pretty disastrous, and wasn’t open source at all: it was a means of getting to look at the source code, but not to use it, and Larry Rosen has cogently argued that this was in fact the antithesis of openness: by allowing people to see the code, it made it significantly easier for Microsoft to commence infringement claims against participants on the grounds that as well as the motive they now had the opportunity to infringe.

6. Microsoft’s business model has to become more like open source companies: the HPs and Red Hats of this world. Absent some huge leap in usability or functionality (which is conspicuous by its absence), there are fewer and fewer improvements from each subsequent release of Microsoft software. Windows 2000 was a pretty good desktop OS, and it was difficult to persuade people to move to XP.

7. Microsoft has used open source code extensively. Internet Explorer was based on NCSA Mosaic, and Microsoft has used (legally, I hasten to add) significant portions of open source code in its networking protocols, and elsewhere.

8. Microsoft started by ignoring free and open source software, then dismissing it, then attacking it as ‘viral’, and now, seriously embracing it: it has had licences approved by the OSI,  and has a number of relevant projects.  So to follow these Gandhi-esqe steps to their logical conclusion, open source has ‘won’ at Microsoft, whatever that means.

9. Remember Borland, WordPerfect, Lotus? They all seemed mighty and indomitable in their day. They bet the house on one business model and lost. The big names of that era to have survived are Microsoft, IBM, and, to a lesser extent, Novell. All have changed radically, especially Novell. Microsoft can, and will, change equally radically to survive.
So, in ten years, we’ll look back with hindsight, and see Microsoft still as a mighty company (if not quite so dominant, perhaps, as it is now), and it will seem entirely natural that its core products are all open source. We will be slightly amused to recall that they weren’t always that way, because open source, is just the way software is developed, right? 

From Laurie Kaye of Laurence Kaye Solicitors

1. The extent of liability of ISPs, social network sites and other intermediaries for illegal content will continue to be under the regulator’s microscope. The three main drivers here are infringing content distributed via P2P, the protection of children from harmful and illegal content and privacy concerns.

2. Information within an organisation will be seen more and more as both an asset and as a risk and will continue to rise up the agenda of in-house counsel.

3. The pressure will increase on content owners to provide new, innovative business models. This will be both for ‘bottom line’ reasons and as a quid pro quo for strong and enforceable IP rights.

4. Lawyers in Europe will be looking very closely at the implications in Europe of the far-reaching deal struck in the US between Google, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild and five publishers to settle the ‘are snippets displayed by Google fair use’ litigation. In turn, this will bring the relationship between copyright and competition law into sharp focus.

5. The credit crunch + recession will accelerate client pressure to move from time-based costs to fixed fees and other non-time-based fee arrangements. In turn, this will drive the profession to improve efficiencies and cut costs. With that in mind, Richard Susskind’s latest book. ‘The End of Lawyers’ is a must read.

6. We’ll see more and more ‘boutique law’ firms – yes, I declare my interest! – offering in-depth, specialist advice at competitive rates to in-house counsel and to clients who want a ‘virtual’ in-house legal service.

7. Against the backdrop of the Legal Services Act 2007, we’ll start to see some new businesses offering legal and non-legal services, drawing lawyers and other ‘knowledge-experts’ together.

From Chris Marsden, Director LLM in IT Media and E-commerce Law, University of Essex Law School

2009 will be the year of Obama’s reforms – both privacy and telecoms legislation is expected. It will not entirely roll back Bush’s FCC do-nothing attitude, but it may be more radical than many expect. On the ‘home’ front, European legislators will pass the Electronic Communications package, and expect vigorous action on social networks from the privacy and child protection perspectives. This may well converge with the wider (co-)regulatory agenda for search engines and ISPs. Economic recession will impact surprisingly little on these agendas.

From Alastair Morrison, Strathclyde University and commentator on IT in legal practice

Cloud computing and SaaS technologies will develop apace and become increasingly part of our business and personal IT lives; whether we like it or not.

Richard Stallman (founder of the Free Software Foundation) does not like it. He believes cloud computing is ‘stupidity’, that ultimately will result in vendor lock-in and escalating costs. Others disagree. But no matter what your view the fact is that the developments and strategies of the IT giants clearly demonstrate that this is the course they are taking. For example, there is Google’s Chrome ‘browser’ (‘not just a browser, but a vehicle for delivering web applications’), or Microsoft’s Windows Azure (‘a version of Windows that runs over the Internet from inside Microsoft’s own data centres’).

The economic slowdown will further raise the appeal for firms of all sizes of SaaS, and so 2009 will see more firms investigating what subscription based online services are available and whether they are right for at least some of the things they do and some of their staff.

From Alex Newson, Solicitor at Shoosmiths:

Last year I predicted the use of mobile phones in place of full-blown computers for many tasks. In 2009, that revolution will continue as smartphones become an increasingly popular way of using the internet, to get LinkedIn to our business contacts and talk nonsense with Tweeple on Twitter.

Windows 7 will disappoint, but provides me with a tenuous link to another trend of 2009: the increasing use of Software as a Service (SaaS). Online applications will be serious competitors for the (decreasing) IT budget against costly ‘traditional’ software and hardware solutions.

Outsourcing and the renegotiation of existing IT contracts will keep lawyers busy as their clients seek to rein in costs. Data protection will remain in the spotlight, being highly relevant to both SaaS and to the continuing losses of personal data by both the public and private sector. The Information Commissioner will continue to flex his muscles in response to such losses.

From Dan Speed, Marketing Director, BigHand:

Obviously as a greater burden falls on remaining staff, with recruitment ceasing for many firms in the short term and potential restructurings having taken place, tools that allow professionals to take on more fee earning work with no associated rise in administrative costs will be attractive. The push for set fees over hourly billing also continues – Microsoft’s letter to its panel lawyers in July 08 was noteworthy here – with increased demand to get more done by delegating work to lower cost lawyers, paralegals and assistants. Additionally it is likely that, if and when any recovery takes place workloads will increase in advance of recruitment kicking off again in earnest, and technology that supports the ability to deliver quality legal services in that environment will have value. One of the specific tech areas I think you will see continued investment is the push to mobilize key staff, allowing them to get more done in the same amount of time by opening up those out-of-the-office work opportunities (via BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Mobile devices) in order to maximize their working day. We have already seen a growing use of BlackBerry devices to expedite the billing cycle in the legal sector this year. IT-industry wise it is also a theme that technology infrastructure approaches that offer potential cost saving and organizational flexibility are attractive, with software-as-a-service technology platforms a logical next step.

From Chris Spencer, Group Legal Counsel and Company Secretary, EMIS and EMIS Group

Hardly a day passes without the Press being exercised (quite rightly) about another massive and embarrassing data loss.

Whilst every such loss does not inevitably lead to loss to the public (for example because the data is never found or never used) it almost always leads to loss for the data loser (for example because of reputational damage or loss of contracts – as in the PA Consulting case).

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recorded 277 separate data losses in the year ended November 2008. This contrasts strongly with a recorded 80 in the year ending November 2006. Perhaps this is simply because more were reported in 2008?

As Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner recently said:
‘I recognise that some breaches are being discovered because of improved checks and audits as a welcome result of taking data security more seriously. More laptops have now been encrypted and thousands of staff have been trained. But the number of breaches notified to us must still be well short of the total. How many PCs and laptops are junked with live data? How many staff do not tell their managers when they have lost a memory stick, laptop or disc? Many losses are probably simply undetected.’

Whatever the reason for the increase in reported data losses, the 277 that ended up with the ICO included:

    28 by central government;
    75 in the NHS;
    26 by local authorities;
    68 in other parts of the public sector;
    80 in the private sector. 

Am I alone in noting the absence of law firms from the above list?

There have been law firm prosecutions of course: Sajjad Khan of Knights Solicitors, based in London, was fined £650 and ordered to pay costs of £525.40 plus a victims’ surcharge of £15 at London City Magistrates’ Court for failure to notify as a data controller despite repeated reminders from the ICO of his obligations under the Data Protection Act. But no high-profile data losses by lawyers.

Perhaps this is because as a profession we have no stolen laptops, no lost memory sticks, no hard drives left on trains. Or perhaps this is because we have been very very lucky so far.

So, unless you believe that the ICO Commissioner Richard Thomas (in a previous life was Director of Public Policy at Clifford Chance) is acting as a ‘data fairy’ cleaning up after the legal profession, I’d recommend data encryption, training and enforcement of data policies. It won’t prevent a loss – that is inevitable – but it will lessen the reputational damage when – also inevitably – a law firm is added to the loss list and the Press gets its daily data exercise.

From Bonita Trimmer, Associate at Wragge & Co LLP:

Next year will be an interesting period for those advising on issues where IT and intellectual property interact. Itis an absolute certainty that even more of the blogsphere will be devoted to software patents and the ’as such’ exclusion in the months to come, but the questions which have been referred to the Enlarged Board aren’t likely to get answered for another two to three years, assuming that is that they are admissible which is itself debateable. Therefore I wouldn’t hold my breath for big changes in that area in 2009.
In contrast, with several references from different courts pending before the European Court of Justice concerning whether the use of someone else’s trade mark as a Google/Yahoo keyword infringes, I hope we will get some clarity on this issue soon. It is a close one to call but my instinct is that the ECJ will say ’yes, it infringes in some circumstances’ . On the question of whether Google/Yahoo can be indirectly liable alongside the keyword user, my bet, with higher odds, would be ’possibly’ but only after they have been put on notice – so Google/Yahoo may have to adapt their practices sometime next year.
Finally in view of the consultation on proposed changes to the copyright exceptions, who knows we British might legally be able to rip our CDs and play them on our MP3 players by Christmas 2009. Oh, and I also predict there will be even more IT/IP lawyer blogs and even fewer non-lawyers reading them – with notable exceptions, of course

From James Tuke, Head of Research, Intendance –

As in previous years, I’ll tackle this question from the online perspective. I spend much of my time in discussion with marketing, BD and web teams in law firms and there’s been a sea change in attitude recently. Conversations have shifted from the aspirational ‘what more could we be doing (full stop)?’, to the prudent ‘what can we do with what we’ve got?’. Most firms are facing budget freezes and cuts next year, so they are being compelled to review many areas of their online comms strategy – and wider business plan.
I think two priorities will come increasingly into play in the context of ‘online’ over the next 12 months: cutting costs and adding value.
The former will be driven by the need to get more for less. Web teams in firms are being pressured to cut costs and it is no coincidence that we find there’s a growing interest in our Open Source systems for content management and other applications. Even in the largest firms, search engine optimisation is also becoming a hot topic as web teams seek to squeeze as much value out of their public-facing website(s) as possible.
The need to add greater value is driven by many factors, not least the heightened level of competition created by the current economic turbulence. In the web context, the provision of client-facing online services – both knowledge-based and transactional – can help streamline workflow and differentiate a firm significantly.
As firms work to strengthen existing client relationships and build new ones, smarter use of ‘online’ generally will remain a top priority. It’s now a well-established medium, but firms are still only beginning to wake up to the full potential of the Internet. I expect to have many more conversations in 2009 about putting the maxim of ‘smarter not harder (/more expensive)’ into action.

From Julian Uebergang, Executive Director at Epiq Systems, a specialist E-Disclosure company and a global provider of technology solutions for the legal profession

Maximum efficiency with minimum impact

The 2008 financial crisis and resultant pressure on IT budgets will force law firms and service providers alike to maximise the use of existing infrastructure. Techniques such as ‘server virtualisation’ and ‘load balancing’ will be critical in ensuring that every ounce of existing CPU power can be utilised. Law firms will look to maximise energy efficiency by implementing effective data compression and storage solutions as a means of reducing electricity and cooling overheads. Cost effective backup solutions will be essential from a risk management perspective.

Law firms should focus on the following three IT objectives to help achieve greater efficiency during 2009:
(a) scrutinise costs to achieve an optimum in-source/outsource balance
(b) maximise the use of existing IT infrastructure
(c) implement automation to reduce human cost.