In a recent post, Dennis Kennedy laid out his technology trends for 2009. I’m especially intrigued by the first one, as it echos what we have been talking about in the library world.
1. Technology Budgets Get Decimated. At many firms, technology spending has crept up to be a substantial line-item on the firm’s budget. If it comes to cutting the tech budget or laying off people, most of us would like to be at a place that puts people first.
I originally was going say that technology budgets stay flat, but I’ve changed my mind. And I use the word “decimate” deliberately. The word originally meant the killing of one of ten soldiers. It later had the sense of drastic losses. In many firms, a large portion of the tech budget is set in stone and can’t realistically be cut during the year. That’s why my initial thought was that we’d see freezes rather than cuts. Now I believe that we’ll see cost—cutting as the year progresses. For the average lawyer, don’t expect to see a new laptop this year. In fact, don’t expect to see much of anything new this year.
What to do: Technology audits to determine what you are doing and where you can make cuts. Reduce duplication and increase standardization. Look for volume discounts, renegotiate large contracts, and consider outsourcing as an option in many more instances. Require IT department to explain and justify budgets. (emphasis added)
I completely agree with Mr. Kennedy, and the way he succinctly provides a road map for successfully moving forward in these tough times. Let’s apply his plan to the library:
- Audit the collection to determine what you have and where you can make cuts.
- Reduce duplication between print and online.
- Increase subscription standardization within practice groups (e.g. one online tax subscription, instead of five).
- Renegotiate large contracts and look for additional discounts.
- Require attorneys to explain and justify new purchases or reluctance to cancel subscriptions.