What happened to your first proposal for a front-to-back system overhaul?
It probably died a summertime death. I presented my $700,000 proposal to a committee in June. But law firms are cash-based businesses. That means the money that I take immediately impacts the partner's bottom line. So it can be hard to get their attention.
But you did soon thereafter. How?
In August the GroupWise server crashed. I'm not a religious person, but I was talking to the server and patting it. A managing partner said, "How could this happen?" I said, "Here's how it happened. You have an unsupported version of Novell. I can't even get tech support for it from the Web." The next week I was summoned to the partners' meeting.
What's it like to answer to attorneys?
I work for people who are very smart and very educated -- and have been trained to ask questions. I have to always tell the truth. I have to be credible.
Ellen O'Brien, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a senior editor at Storage magazine. Write to her at email@example.com.
This was first published in January 2006