Pay for software now, but maybe wait years for organizational changes to take full advantage of it

“It usually takes five to seven years for IT investments to produce substantial returns because it typically takes that long for companies to make the organisational changes needed to capitalise on the new technology,” opines the Economist, Oct. 24, 2009 at 74. For software investments by legal departments to materially improve costs or efficiency may similarly take years.

Employees require time to absorb a new resource, sometime considerable amounts of time, and almost always longer than champions and vendors predict. For software that helps an in-house legal team, the best you can do is choose wisely, spread the word effectively, and train efficiently (See my post of Aug. 14, 2005: costs of training when software is installed; April 12, 2006: percentages spent in UK legal departments on IT training; April 13, 2006: law firms offering IT training; June 26, 2006: one reason why tech projects flounder; and July 14, 2006: best methods to train corporate counsel on software; Oct. 6, 2006 on under-investment in training despite 5:1 payoff; July 9, 2007: lunch & learns as tutorials for technology; Aug. 5, 2007: drip-drip or by the bucket; Nov. 18, 2007: vendor training and support; April 27, 2008: Kraft and its training program; Dec. 31, 2008: before licensing software, ask about training; Jan. 2, 2009: CapGemini launched post-and-tag without training; July 15, 2009: surprising emphasis on IT training in survey; and Oct. 28, 2009: open source software and training.).

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