In the business and technology strands of the CIO UK profile of Richard Hodkinson the CTO for law firm DWF LLP has discussed the rapid rate of change his organisation is undergoing and this is reshaping the technology decisions and culture he finds himself leading. This in turn, he believes reflects a change in the dynamics of the CIO and CTO role at organisations so that in five years a CIO will be a technologically oriented change agent with strong social skills that builds solutions.
"We have put IT on the front foot," he says of the cultural change at DWF to be a fast adopter of technology to match its rapid growth as it pursues an ambition to be a top 20 law firm in the UK and beyond. Hodkinson believes and strives for IT to be a deal maker both when DWF targets further mergers and acquisitions, but also in winning legal work and attracting the talent such a rapid business growth requires.
Hodkinson has an innovation team, but is also relaxed towards the users of his organisation telling him what technology they want.
"We have to have a 'can do' attitude, but also provide a safe environment. If users are efficient on a handheld in the middle of the countryside that's fine," he says of the need to provide secure and flexible computing. The pressure isn't just coming from Generation Y workers joining the business, DWF is a law firm that attracts modern partners and the legal world has a very different structure.
"Law firms are unlike a plc, the control and command structure is very very different and we have a lot of very smart people.
"You are getting into psychological and social engineering and it is fascinating.
"My middle name has become pragmatism," he says of the need for a CTO to make rapid judgements as organisations change rapidly. The days when a CIO spent considerable amounts of time planning and implementing big systems that would be the foundations of the organisation for many years are over, he argues.
"The world of five years from now will be very different, so is there any point in doing a big analysis of our technology requirements? I don't mean though making quick short cuts either."