Tag Archives: lillick

How Easy Is It For You To Manage, Analyze And Present Data?

apple-256262_640I ask because my articles are up, including my big piece from NTEN’s Collected Voices: Data-Informed Nonprofits on Architecting Healthy Data Management Systems. I’m happy to have this one available in a standalone, web-searchable format, because I think it’s a bit of a  signature work.  I consider data systems architecture to be my main talent; the most significant work that I’ve done in my career.

  • I integrated eleven databases at the law firm of Lillick & Charles in the late 90’s, using Outlook as a portal to Intranet, CRM, documents and voicemail. We had single-entry of all client and matter data that then, through SQL Server triggers, was pushed to the other databases that shared the data.  This is what I call the “holy grail” of data ,entered once by the person who cares most about it, distributed to the systems that use it, and then easily accessible by staff. No misspelled names or redundant data entry chores.
  • In the early 2000’s, at Goodwill, I developed a retail data management system on open source (MySQL and PHP, primarily) that put drill-down reporting in a web browser, updated by 6:00 am every morning with the latest sales and production data.  We were able to use this data in ways that were revolutionary for a budget-challenged Goodwill, and we saw impressive financial results.

The article lays out the approach I’m taking at Legal Services Corporation to integrate all of our grantee data into a “data portal”, built on Salesforce and Box. It’s written with the challenges that nonprofits face front and center: how to do this on a budget, and how to do it without a team of developers on staff.

At a time when, more and more, our funding depends on our ability to demonstrate our effectiveness, we need the data to be reliable, available and presentable.  This is my primer on how you get there from the IT viewpoint.

I also put up four articles from Idealware.  These are all older (2007 to 2009), they’re all still pretty relevant, although some of you might debate me on the RSS article:

This leaves only one significant piece of my nptech writing missing on the blog, and that’s my chapter in NTEN’s “Managing Technology To Meet Your Mission” book about Strategic Planning. Sorry, you gotta buy that one. However, a Powerpoint that I based on my chapter is here.

About the new job

So, I think it’s safe to let everyone know that I start a new gig as IT Director at Earthjustice this month. For those of you who don’t know, Earthjustice is a law firm dedicated to protecting natural resources and the environment. Originally founded as the legal arm of the Sierra Club, they now do advocacy and litigation in defense of the planet. They are an international firm with the awesome tagline “because the earth needs a good lawyer”. My role there is a strategic one — in addition to managing the IT Department, I’ll be looking at ways that we can decentralize the technology platform so it can better support the global operation. This is a challenge that I know I’ll enjoy, and bring a good perspective to.

It’s funny how many connections I had to this organization prior. First, the Communications Director there is a dear friend of mine who used to work for me at Goodwill. When they asked for my references, I had to explain that she had been on the list for years. Second, the consultant they were working with is a friend of mine through NTEN, and he had actually introduced me to my predecessor there last year, who gave me a heads up about the job.

But the connections are even deeper. My first “real” job (discarding the ten years I spent working in restaurants and playing in bands in Boston in the late seventies/early eighties) was with a small law firm in SF that had spun off from a larger firm called Lillick & Charles. My second job, where I was first promoted to the IT Director role, was with Lillick & Charles (since merged with giant firm Nixon Peabody). I took a very intentional detour after that out of the for-profit world and to Goodwill. Earthjustice, oddly enough, was founded by a couple of Partners from Lillick & Charles. So it’s a small world I work in.