I’m on the road this week — first Boston for client visits and then PwC’s industry analyst summit, and now New York for a day at the LegalTech conference. What struck me most with PwC is how they were talking SMAC — the convergence of social, mobile, analytic and cloud technologies — what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces. All the consulting firms are looking at how they can take advantage of this convergence and most are focusing on marketing as the buyer. What was different about PwC’s SMAC is that they see major dislocation for business models, and hence the opportunity for digital transformation engagements across the enterprise, not just with marketing. At the same time the Nexus is affecting PwC’s business model as well, and to grow they are focusing on how to take advantage of the consulting market consolidation.
Now at LegalTech, it’s easy to see that the legal profession is being hit hard by the Nexus. Technology vendors are responding to new social compliance demands, and the challenges of discovery of social media. And law firms are seeing emerging legal services, and a move toward do-it-yourself technologies for corporate counsel. But the bigger long term issue for corporate counsel and law firms is that SMAC technologies are changing the very way that people engage with corporations and governments, and hence corporate business models and systems of government must rapidly change or they will fail. This is a major challenge for corporate counsels whose basic role is to ensure that their companies and agencies are in compliance with regulations and laws.
Complicating the matter is that corporate counsels are not well supported by the IT organization. A survey by Gartner and ALM showed that 80% of Chief Legal Officers say that the legal department has no formal support from the IT organization. This will only further complicate digital transformation for those companies, and inhibits the CLO’s ability to protect the company legally through a period of tremendous business disruption.
At Gartner, we’ve formed a collaborative working group of analysts who are looking at the challenges and solutions for legal IT support. This group is already producing research on legal IT support — storage and archiving, e-discovery, social media compliance, social risk management, enterprise legal management, GRC and more. And we look forward to working with CIOs and other IT leaders who are building the architectures to better support the CLO.