What's best for the firm?

Ron Friedmann has a piece on (legal) knowledge management at his blog and at LLRX, KM - The Right Question?  I like his "better" question, thus the title of this post.  What is best for the firm?

What’s my knowledge management strategy? That’s a good question but a better one is “what’s best for the firm?” 

KM is mainly about reducing lawyer effort. That’s a good goal. Better still is to improve profitability, focusing on projects, technologies, staff, or processes that can grow revenues. Maybe it’s KM. Or maybe it’s a new business intake process, improved work force allocation, a proposal generator for marketing, or relationship discovery software.

I expand on this premise in Pragmatic Approaches to KM, published on August 17, 2006 by LLRX.com (also here at prismlegal.com). It’s based on a presentation I gave at the May 2006 Interwoven Legal IT Leadership Summit, a conference that brings together leading IT leaders from large firms to discuss pressing issues and develop actionable strategies.

He presents a 2x2 matrix to help think about IT approaches to knowledge management with respect to variables that are relevant to more than just law firms: Does the tool reduce effort to serve a client?  Does the tool provide opportunities for enhanced revenue?  He adds a third dimension by changing the size of the markers based on the cost.  Doing this analysis with your strategy in mind could help you winnow down the options to those that enhance throughput (revenue) or that reduce operating expenses (effort) by more than they cost.

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