A law department that wants to choose a matter management system can look to ASPs – software hosted by the vendor on its servers – or at self-hosted packages on the corporation’s servers (See my post of March 26, 2006 about IT departments and ASP’s in terms of support.). Into that decision inevitably come information technology staff. They might, for example, decree that the company favors or frowns on ASP systems, for concerns over data security, durability of the infrastructure, cost, or other reasons.
The inherent tension, however, is that IT staff may say they will support a self-hosted system, but a law department has no completely persuasive way to test that claim or enforce it later. IT may want to control all applications, but what if they are enmeshed in larger, enterprise-wide implementations? What if they are short-staffed or lack necessary skills? For these reasons, the corporate technology support available to the law department is not a disinterested party in the decision between third-party hosted and self-hosted software.