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CEO Spotlight: Michael Kohlsdorf, ADERANT

By The Sterling Report

With increasing competition and more demanding clients, Michael Kohlsdorf, the President and CEO of ADERANT, talks with The Sterling Report about ADERANT’s focus on providing software and business solutions to law firms, his hobbies and ADERANT’s new products.

The Sterling Report (TSR): Why did you decide to focus more on law firms?
Michael Kohlsdorf (MK): The legal industry is a large, rapidly growing, well-funded vertical market. Our solutions allow attorneys to capture time, invoice clients as well as provide financial. Our software and services offerings are absolutely mission critical to the extent that law firms cannot run their operations efficiently without these solutions. We are fortunate in that the legal market remains vibrant despite fairly pervasive economic weakness.

TSR: Can you share one or two of your company’s most exciting successes?
MK: In 2007, we closed the largest contract in our industry (in North America) by signing Hutton and Williams. This transaction contributed significantly to growing our earnings by 250% during 2007 (versus 2006). We also just signed a large AmLaw 100 firm that had been trying unsuccessfully for 2 years to install a competitor’s solution.

TSR: If you could correct one misperception people have about ADERANT, what would it be?
MK: I would not say this is a misperception but rather a desire for greater market awareness that our products are the best in the industry and that we implement these solutions faster than any of our competitors.

TSR: What do you see as your challenge in developing this business?
MK: The biggest challenge we have today is economic weakness. Our business is recession resistant but certainly not recession proof.

TSR: What sort of new products might we expect from ADERANT?
MK: We have the best product roadmap in the market. Our future product offerings will include leading edge architectural platforms complemented by the richest functionality and workflow in the industry. We started delivering on this vision with Aderant Expert Release 7.5 and will begin to ship the initial versions of our new Aderant Expert 8X offering at the end of March.

TSR: As CEO, what is your role in the process of creating and maintaining brand image or position in your customer's mind?
MK: Our brand revolves around world-class products, rapid implementations and great customer service. Everything we do at Aderant revolves around these three principles including our advertising.

TSR: What do you like most and least about being a CEO?
MK: I love building world-class teams and driving success in our market. There is nothing that I dislike about being a CEO.

TSR: What sets ADERANT apart from its competitors?
MK: The quality of our employees and the relationships that we have with our customers.

TSR: What are the core values/principles underlying the success of ADERANT products?
MK: Our products are open architecturally and offer the richest functionality in the industry. We build in the highest levels of quality and include significant input from our customers as it relates to workflow and functionality. We ensure our customers are completely satisfied via surveys performed by third party consultants.

TSR: What factors act as the biggest influences when a CEO is looking to the future in order to position the company appropriately?
MK: The perception our customers have relative to our products and services are crucial.

TSR: How do you envision growing ADERANT?
MK: By taking market share in our core market, effectively rolling out our next generation product line and pursuing geographic expansion.

TSR: How do you maintain a balance between your professional and personal life?
MK: Being a CEO is very demanding especially with operations in North America, EMEA and APA. However, we have great employees and the company is well run which allows me to schedule down time. These circumstances allow me to enjoy my passions, which include fly-fishing and sporting day shooting.

Michael Kohlsdorf is the President and CEO of ADERANT, which provides business management solutions to the world’s premier global service organizations. He has more than 25 years of executive management experience to ADERANT and an extensive background in leading rapidly growing software firms and delivering innovative solutions to law firms and other professional services organizations. Michael has served as a Senior Vice President, Enterprise Services and Information Technology for IKON Office Solutions, Inc. President and CEO for T/R Systems, Inc now Electronics for Imaging, a leading provider of document management software solutions. Prior to T/R Systems, Inc., he was President and CEO for Brock Control Systems, Inc., now Firstwave Technologies. Michael earned a BS in Business Administration from Western Connecticut University and an MBA in Finance and International Business from the University of Notre Dame. For interview feedback, contact Michael at mike.kohlsdorf@aderant.com

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