Insight into the Advanced Curriculum Track (ACT)

We asked John Alber to give us some insight into the sessions being offered in the Advanced Curriculum Track

The Advanced Curriculum Track (ACT) at ILTA’s 2012 conference aspires to bring “graduate” level content to senior executives in IT, knowledge management, finance and marketing. It targets thought-leaders in these four areas –– those already at the “C” level and those who aspire to reach the “C” level –– and pulls together thoughtful, provocative content that such leaders are unlikely to encounter elsewhere.

This year, the ACT includes six sessions:

ACT1 Why ROI Is a Bogus Measure of Technology Success and What Should Replace It
We’ve all done ROI analyses to justify an investment (and then most often never followed up to see if the projected ROI was realized). How valid is ROI as a planning tool for technology projects? Are there better analytical methods to use in planning, selling and following up with technology, accounting, marketing and KM projects? Is there an “honest” approach to measurement that leaves everyone feeling good about the numbers that result? (John:  Bruce McEwen, creator of the legal practice economics blog Adam Smith Esq. presents a thoughtful, incisive take on what really matters and what doesn’t when assessing your technology initiatives.)

ACT2 Why IT Doesn’t Matter and KM Matters Even Less
The ACC Value Challenge brought to light the misalignment of law firms’ supply with clients’ demands. Clients don’t really care about IT structures or KM initiatives, but they do care about getting the information they need. So how do you make sure your initiatives translate to good service? Leaders from the consulting, law firm and legal department worlds will share strategic perspectives and actionable approaches to aligning your IT and KM efforts with your clients’ needs. (John:  Don’t flinch at the “stick-in-the-eye title of this session. It presents some really valuable perspectives on what matters, and what doesn’t).

ACT3 Five Reasons Why Terms Like “Practice Support,” “Knowledge Management” and “Financial Services” Miss the Point
This provocative topic will motivate you to look to the horizon rather than at the ground in front of you. Talented people go to work every day without realizing what they are doing is pioneering new and very risky territory. “I manage knowledge” is an understatement, and what you say you are doing has a lot to do with whether you succeed. Let’s explore why the simple terms we use to describe our work completely miss the point. (John:  I want to get in your face on this subject. If you lead in KM, or practice support, or LPM r IT or anything technology-related I want to challenge how you to rethink what you job is—right down to what you call it).

ACT4 IT Metrics that Matter to Management
Listen as C-level executives discuss IT metrics that are relevant to senior management. Learn which metrics can help you position IT to be perceived as partners with the business and which metrics help demonstrate IT’s potential value to the firm’s bottom line. (John:  This is a lively and knowledgeable panel who will provide some really interesting perspectives).

ACT5 Next-Generation AFAs
Many firms have built a basic infrastructure to cope with client requests for alternative fee arrangements, but we are moving into a new generation of AFAs. Some firms are using AFAs to secure new business and take market share. What considerations apply in this new environment? Where does profitability analysis fit? Where does the experience database come into play? How can you tell when AFAs are or aren’t working? Find out the answers to these questions and more! (John:  If you’re doing AFAs already, but need to kick your game up a notch, this is the panel for you. Expert, thoughtful, and aggressive.)

ACT6 Integrate Data Points To Boost Productivity and Revenue
Imagine … a centralized view into client activity! During this roundtable, hear how to gain a single point of access for what are currently unused, idle data points, and how to bring them all together to boost attorney productivity and revenue. Walk away with a roadmap for integrating relevant database components (e.g., case/matter history, CRM, timekeeper apps, billing/accounting and more) within your firm using real examples. Learn about the choices to consider as you shop for technology. (John:  This panel explores THE killer application for VoIP. Imagine making your lawyers seem like geniuses, just because they picked up the phone).

ACT7 The Lawyer’s Role Is Changing. Are You Keeping Up?
The legal profession has experienced more change in the last half decade than at any time in the past 50 years. Client companies have restructured. Law departments are now scrutinized all the way up to the board level. Law department budgets are now treated the same as manufacturing and transportation budgets. This translates into a very new role for the modern lawyer. What does that mean for the technologists and other professionals who support lawyers? (John:  This panel of lawyers has  close to a century of law business experience and some pointed views about how the business has changed and what that means for technologists.).

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