Cisco's teleconferencing technology will play a key role in landing talented lawyers for law firm Minter Ellison, according to its chief information officer Peter Westerveld.
Last month, the law firm that employs more than 290 partners and 900 legal staff revealed that it had plans to roll out high-definition TelePresence Cisco technology, unified computing systems and collaborative work technology throughout its offices in Australia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Speaking at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch in Sydney yesterday, Westerveld said that deploying telepresence was key to accommodating some of the work requirements for its talented lawyers.
"Apart from the fact that we, as a business, compete for clients, we also compete for talent in the sense of our lawyers. Increasingly, those talent have certain demands in terms of flexibility and working hours, and in the way they deal with work," he said. So I think we need to respond to that, and I think teleworking is a critical part of that."
Westerveld said that the horrific floods in Queensland in January allowed the company to test out the use of teleworking, with some sections of the company working from home during the time of the floods.
"It was a good learning experience to see which teams worked quite well not being in the office, and which teams didn't," he said.
Westerveld said that the extra bandwidth offered over the fibre of the National Broadband Network (NBN) would also be critical to the success of the company in communicating with staff and clients.
"To become a trusted advisor, I think connectivity, and to easily connect with people is essential. Anything that can be done to make that ... trust relationship easier and better, especially on a global scale, is very important to use," he said. "So any extra bandwidth and any video technologies that are part of it are essential."
Westerveld said that one of the advantages of high-definition video conferencing in replicating in-person conversations was that people begin to forget that they're talking to someone on a screen after about a minute.