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Collaborative nature to tech for legal CTO Richard Hodkinson

Mark Chillingworth | July 30, 2013
Think law firms and you naturally think of paper, wigs and the cloistered world of chambers. Those of us that have used law firms for conveyancing are hardly given to the impression that the legal world is consumer facing, technology literate and agile.

"IT is not our core competence, DWF is a law firm," he states clearly of the business and the technology department's role. This in turn means that the role of CTO and CIO will change he believes.

"The role in five years time will be to be technological change agents that can connect with people, have strong social skills and build solutions because the pace of delivery in business is like a Formula One pit stop.

"For me it is open season, you don't know where the next move by your business will come from."

Hodkinson has a mix of relationships with big market players, but also local small development houses.

"There is a benefit from using the big providers. But innovation is a key part of the DWF brand, so for mobile apps we are working with a small Manchester outfit to deliver an app that has all the business plans and annual reports in a single app. The point being that everyone knows the plan as it is in your back pocket.

Hodkinson has had considerable success with the adoption of Yammer enterprise social networking tool.

"It's Fisher Price computing as no training is required and we put one advertisement out the adoption has been epic. Any product we get has to have that usability otherwise you lose the RoI."

Social technology has not only been influential within DWF, as a Manchester-based, but national law firm, Hodkinson has used the social web to discover new providers in the growing Manchester tech community that can offer him and his organisation an advantage.

"Manchester has a lot of innovation groups that you can join and post noises out there to them and then see what comes back, so we are using the social environment to the best," he says of one of the new ways this CIO begins the procurement process.

Hodkinson finds this way of soliciting ideas and solutions is ideal for the new business environment he and many CTOs find themselves in today.

"DWF is about making a rapid judgement, we don't have the luxury of time and we want to get places quickly. We used to do a lot of big analysis and planning because the systems would be with you for a long time, but now two weeks is a strategy," he observes of the speed of change in business.


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