Guest post by Eric Hunter
As part of the next phase in our ongoing Google evolution revolution at Bradford & Barthel, I have it on good authority that Google is currently researching an inter dimensional time portal. This allows attorneys to work their product through the space time continuum enabling clients to receive product at a fraction of our current AFA’s, while also ensuring that attorneys employed through this space time continuum are immune from international law. The result, of course is they can be employed at slave wages ensuring maximum profitability for the firm! (Enter Dr. Evil chuckle).
It’s really all about Business Solutions and Law2020
I think of Google Apps not as an ‘apps’ interface but as a business solutions driven interface. In legal, we look to future-focused initiatives like Law2020 and are continually struck with the reality that law firms must change the way they run their business. At Bradford & Barthel, as at other firms, an evolutionary restructuring is already taking place … alternative fee arrangements for firm clients, alternative staffing arrangements, project management, our take on six sigma, and a shift to a culture that integrates rather than interacts with clients.
Actually, it’s really all about Integration and 2020
Keep in mind Google’s consumer line tends to be integrated in one way or another with their Apps platform over time. In addition to a business solutions platform, think of Google as an integration platform. The platform is built to integrate and evolve with the organization and competitive industries at large. In legal, we integrate areas of practice, client/matter integration, project management, business case, the list goes on. The platform is not only built to be intuitive, flexible and adaptable to third party platforms and vendor integration, but to anticipate where these industries are moving and innovate appropriately. Why? Remember, by choosing a hosted platform, you’re choosing to integrate a portion of your business model with your hosted platform, and Google in it’s current form continually innovates.
Vendors looking for seamless interfacing capabilities interface through the Google Apps Marketplace. Part of their model is enhancing the products to seamlessly integrate within the platform. It’s a business model shift for vendors, with impacts on licensing, development and integration. In essence though, is it truly any different than developing apps interfaces for mobile? How fast do mobile apps evolve? As we move towards law2020 legal vendors will also need to evolve and innovate their path forward… or go the way of the newspaper industry. When attending conferences like ILTA in Nashville this year, walk through vendor hall, check out all of the legal vertical specific vendors that benefit our industry. Then think of those that will need to transform their business models to successfully integrate within a model that integrates monthly, that no longer demands license upgrades, but instead provides annual license fees while continually innovating. The sooner our vendor partners rethink their integration business models, the more they’ll be able to shape the game.
Google+ and the Evolution Revolution
Google+ as an alternative to Facebook or Twitter is not a case I’m going to make here. But I am going to make the case for Google+ integrated through Google’s business solutions platform. This is where the concept of the merging of identity becomes quite literal. One of the biggest challenges my organization faces is not the third party application integration described above. That will happen; it takes development, vendor cooperation, coordination development, and will. What about Google+ integrated throughout every aspect of daily business?
So what’s actually going to happen though, really…
Now, is Google going to integrate any of the above? I have no idea, but I certainly hope so, and if Google does not, I hope emerging competitors will. To reach 2020, our industry needs a kick in the pants to re-shape our vendors to meet our competitive strategy needs. As the next few years go by I would love to see vendors begin to integrate this kind of technology within their platforms, and seamlessly integrate with others that do. I’d love to see competitors to Google with this model, as the competition would only benefit our industry. Behavioral and organizational change are tied to these emerging technologies, but so is change management, project workflow and the merging workplace and consumer identities.
About the author: Eric Hunter is the Director of Knowledge Management and Technology at Bradford & Barthel, LLP, where he is currently integrating a Google driven collaboration platform within the firm’s 12 office environment. Eric speaks and writes on competitive strategy and collaborative cloud solutions globally. He is the recipient of ILTA’s 2010 Knowledge Management Champion Distinguished Peer Award. Eric can be reached at email@example.com.
If you need further information please view Eric’s course Knowledge Strategy & Behavioral Change: Google, Innovation & Consumer Market Integration. The course also features Don Barthel and Alec Bradford of Bradford & Barthel.