Find Without Searching | Knowledge Management

Find Without Searching

For a search engine to deliver what you need, you have to enter a query into a search box, right? But what if you don’t know what you need, or if your need to find something arises in an instant?

Among other things, knowledge management is about getting the right information to the right people at the right time. What if there is no time to search? Can you still get the right information when you need it?

Client calling...

Picture this: It’s early morning, you’re in your office and the phone rings. Caller ID indicates that it is one of your biggest clients. You panic a little because you haven’t spoken with the client in a while and you’re not expecting the call. You’ve been busy with other matters, so you’re not exactly up to date on what’s going on in the client’s industry. You don’t know the status of the client’s open matters because a junior partner has been handling them day to day. What does the client want? You could let the call go to voicemail and call the client back, but you know that one of the reasons your clients like you is because you’re accessible. You could answer the phone, open your intranet client page and hope to skim the status of the matters while you engage in small talk. While you’re at it, open up a web browser and do a news search for the client’s name; do another news search for the industry and the client’s main competitors. Since you’re not sure if the client is calling about a recent bill, or an estimate about next month’s bill, you could stall the client a bit more with chitchat while you open up your time and billing application to see the WIP reports.

Now picture this: It’s that same early morning and the phone rings. As soon as caller ID identifies the client, a search is triggered and the system queries and returns—on one nicely-organized screen—a package of relevant information about the client: the vitals on the client (from your CRM system), including spouse and family information (for additional small talk); a linkable list of recent active matters, including billing information; a live news feed about the client, his industry and main competitors; docket information from your managing clerk software that shows recent filings on litigation matters. All of that “just in time” information right at your fingertips and you didn’t even touch your keyboard.

Caller ID on Steroids

Think it’s too good to be true? Think again. Back in 2006 Intel introduced the idea of “caller ID on steroids” as a part of its Proactive Health Research Project to help people with Alzheimer’s who might “fear that they won’t remember the person on the other line by name alone.” The system “provides senior citizens with a photo of the person calling, a personalized diagram of how they know the caller, and a brief blurb on the topic of their last phone conversation.”

Why should senior citizens have all the cool stuff? Well, Bruce MacEwen, at the Adam Smith, Esq. blog, describes this idea applied to a law firm scenario and says that there is at least one law firm working on such a project.

How’s that for getting the right information to the right person at the right time!

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

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