Reflections on ILTACON 2019
Another year, another ILTACON. That makes 11 of the past 15 that I have been lucky enough to attend. It was a well-attended conference this year, record-breaking in fact, and I congratulate the organizers for an event marked by deeper peer-to-peer engagement than previous years.
There are two questions I kept finding myself asking this year’s attendees:
- Why are you at ILTACON?
- What problem are you trying to solve?
Why are you at ILTACON?
Why is ILTACON important to attend as a part of your role within your organization? It’s surprising to me that many people struggle to answer this question. As for me, I enjoy helping people when the opportunity arises and my assistance can prove beneficial. Because I have always been a computer-geek wannabe, but also have several years of experience litigating cases, I found myself drawn to the legal technology space. For several years now, prior to the existence of the term eDiscovery, I felt I could be most impactful by helping litigation support professionals better understand the connection between law and technology.
Technology is constantly changing, and participating in ILTACON makes it easier to stay current. Attending ILTACON as a member of a technology innovator with a mission that aligns with my personal motivation made this year’s conference particularly enjoyable for me. Knovos strives to understand the needs of our clients’ organizations and partner with them in the development of unique solutions to address their real-world needs. Knovos also places value on knowledge, which is why we recently launched an updated Knovos Academy for those looking to continue their education and training and pursue a certification in our technology.
From my perspective, most people who attend ILTACON can describe what their organization does, and many can even describe how they do it, or at least how they differ from others. Attendees representing service providers, either as exhibitors or otherwise, should be armed at ILTACON with a 30-second elevator pitch if they want to gain the most return on their investment.
Typically, representatives from law firms can readily describe the main types of practice areas they focus on, and many have an idea of which solutions they are interested in examining. However, when asked about why a certain process is followed, or a certain technology and/or service provider is preferred by their internal team, they often genuinely don’t seem to have an answer.
Costs associated with an investment in technology are often cited by corporate representatives as a primary reason for being at ILTACON. But what are your true goals? And what specific challenges are you looking to address?
What problem are you trying to solve?
Because ILTACON attendees serve so many different types of roles, not everyone is a prospect for the services or technology of every exhibitor. Exhibitors must be able to quickly identify if an individual with whom they are speaking is truly someone deserving of the limited interaction time available at such an event. If an attendee provides an acceptable answer to why they are there, you should have a genuine sense as to whether or not there is a way to help them address their organization’s challenges.
From a peer-to-peer standpoint, discussions at ILTACON usually unfold on two slightly different levels: academic and practical. Many of the conference sessions focus on what I consider eDiscovery 2.0, e.g., artificial intelligence, predictive coding, TAR, and analytics. But in reality, most attendees are more concerned with their day-to-day operational needs. Attendees often want to discuss solutions they find to be user-friendly and practical. Organizations are often seeking technology that can assist them with their recurring needs and that integrate with other systems they already use.
One slight disconnect that takes place annually is that service providers focus too much on cutting-edge solutions that might only be practical in addressing situations that are the exception rather than the rule. Probing with the proper questions should help identify what challenges someone might be trying to solve for their organization, as well as why they may be best served by a certain technology or service.
It’s an exciting time for those involved in the legal technology industry. Successful implementation of technology always requires the proper functioning of three separate elements: people, process, and technology. ILTACON certainly brings together talented people with varying areas of subject matter expertise, all related to technology in some capacity. There are so many offerings available for practitioners to discuss and choose between, including options to build, buy, or license custom solutions to address the challenges your organization faces.
Asking the right questions about your current workflows can lead to an improved and more efficient process, to be employed in conjunction with proper use of a talented team of professionals that relies on user-friendly, reliable technology.
So, as you look back on your ILTACON experience can you answer these two questions? Why were you at ILTACON? And what problem were you trying to solve? Did you accomplish what you hoped to at the conference?
We look forward to next year’s event in Nashville! In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us to discuss any problems and challenges you see on the horizon. And be sure to check out our photo gallery from ILTACON 2019.