When Chris White, Global CIO (chief information officer) of Clyde & Co joined the top 20 UK firm two years ago, he had to make a business case for greater investment in technology and set up a global technology board to increase the levels of engagement from within the business.

The firm now has a larger IT budget, senior leaders from within the firm who act as technology ambassadors, and a global strategy.

Here, in this episode of Talking Tech, White tells associate editor Caroline Hill how he has achieved that at the same time as cutting IT costs.

At a time when IT directors and CIOs still complain about a lack of engagement from their senior management, White says: “As a senior business person within the business, you have to force your way onto that table and demonstrate that you can add value by being at that table. In the legal world I often hear complaints about IT directors not being on the board or having money to invest: my response to that is ‘it’s entirely up to you to get the money to invest.’”

White observes that talking in the language of business is key, commenting: “If you ask for a new server or widget, the board’s eyes are quite rightly going to glaze over very quickly but if you make a compelling, well thought through business case, where you can demonstrate the return on investment and value that investment will bring to the business, the board are going to be interested in that.”

In a wide-ranging discussion on the value and role of the IT leader, White says that IT heads must understand the context they are working in, observing: “In the past people in the Legal IT community have forgotten that.”

This video runs for just under 19 minutes.