Most people have heard the riddle of the fox, a chicken and a sack of grain – You must cross a river with only one of them at a time. If you leave the fox with the chicken he will eat it; if you leave the chicken with the grain he will eat it. How can you get all three across safely? If you haven’t heard this riddle before, and want to know the answer, you can find the answer here: https://www.mathsisfun.com/chicken_crossing_solution.html
Sometimes planning systems upgrades for the legal IT professional can feel a little bit like the problem outlined above. I need to upgrade product A because it’s going to be obsolete in 12 months and unsupported by the vendor. But in order to do that I need to update B first because the current version of B isn’t compatible with the new version of A. Further complicating things is the fact that I’m running out of storage, so do I add more storage first or move everything to the cloud?
Planning out the sequence of events is something we work on with IT management in law firms all the time, in a process that we call ‘roadmapping’ – establishing the priorities of the firm, looking at the dependencies of their hardware and software and laying out a map of which projects should be tackled first, at what time, and what the approximate investment looks like. Depending on the urgency of making changes and the budget that the firm has to work with, such projects might be ordered sequentially or in parallel over 6 months or two years. The end result is a flowchart such as the one below (these projects were on a pretty condensed timeline for various reasons!):
The value we bring to law firms is that regardless of their seemingly unique infrastructure, we’ve probably seen something very similar somewhere before and can point to solutions that we’ve implemented to help get the client across the river to the other side without losing anything.