Continuing my report on the NLADA Annual Training Conference sessions . . .
Technology Planning 101 - Jim Dill, Kate Bladow, Glenn Rawdon, Kathleen Brockel
So yes, I was on this panel, but I didn't really talk that much. The summary of what I had to say? Don't leave your techies in a room by themselves to create your tech plan. Your plan needs to be based on your organization's strategic plan, and you need buy in from attorneys, paralegals, administrators, and so on. After I was through with that introduction, the good stuff started.
Jim Dill, the Director of Technology at the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, talked about the statewide technology planning process in Pennsylvania. Less than a year old, his position was established to help the legal aid programs create and implement a statewide technology plan. Jim's initial goals have been to learn about the programs' existing infrastructures and needs and to help them to standardize platforms. After these initial steps, he hopes to help them to look at innovative initiatives that could be implemented on a statewide level. A few bits of wisdom that Jim provided the session attendees with:
- Check to see if your state government allows nonprofits to participate in their cooperative purchasing program. (Pennsylvania's program is called COSTARS.)
- Review your contracts with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) yearly. Programs may be able to save money by re-negotiating contracts.
- Don't sign a contract for T1 services for more than a year at a time. The price is likely to decrease, and you don't want to be stuck in contract if you could be paying less.
- Don't use consultants for strategic planning. Consultants are good for day-to-day tasks, but in most cases your mission is not their passion.
After some discussion and questions from the audience, Kathleen Brockel shared the results of the LSNTAP technology survey. A few points of interest:
- Programs spend the most on hardware and personnel. If the personnel line is low, it is usually made up by contracts for outside support.
- 99 to 100 percent of programs that responded have the security software necessary to protect their data, except in the case of instant messaging.
- Three-quarters of programs are using document assembly, and 46 percent of programs are using HotDocs.
If you want to check out more of the statistics, you can view Kathleen's slides on SlideShare.
Glenn was the closing act and discussed planning for document assembly projects. The summary--programs should be using document assembly. Get on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, I was watching for questions and confused looks and didn't take notes. I would recommend that you check out his slides, which are also on SlideShare. - K