box_logoBox, formerly known as Box.net, is a cloud-based file sharing and content management platform.  While some people think of Box as similar to Dropbox, Box is better suited to enterprises, like law firms, mainly due to its superior security and management features.

Dropbox and others have made attempts to match Box’s enterprise prowess, but Box repeatedly scores higher in head-to-head comparisons, like this one from InfoWorld.  Box has, for a long time, had a great presence outside of large law firms, capturing the business of more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies.

Full disclaimer: I’m familiar with Box because earlier this year, I joined a group of other law firm KM and technology folks on Box’s legal advisory board.  This is an uncompensated role, so don’t think there is an ulterior motive here.

I am happy to learn that Box was, in fact, listening because today, Box is announcing even greater strides toward becoming the go-to cloud-based file sharing and content management platform for law firms.  There are a ton of new features and integrations listed in the official announcement and  I encourage you to read it.  I also encourage you to read the very thoughtful piece by Ron Friedmann over at Prism Legal about the future of such cloud services and where and how they fit in with legacy systems at law firms.  Ron is also on the Box legal advisory board, and I can tell you that we’ve all had some very interesting discussions about this future.  I personally think that the cloud is the future.  Among the many advantages are the anytime-anywhere-any device access to your content.  But getting there will not be easy due to the deep hooks of various legacy systems, like DMS and other essential systems that have been around law firms for many years.

To that point, I think one of the more interesting aspects of what Box is doing, as announced today, is the integration (via Intapp) with some legacy systems, like iManage’s DMS.  This part of the official announcement says it all: “With the Box iManage integration via Intapp’s Integration Builder, law firms can extend their on-premise document management system to the cloud, access content through mobile devices and collaborate externally.”

Another great part about these recent efforts is that Box has joined the the ABA Advantage program, which provides members with 50GB of of cloud file sharing for free.  Check out the offer in the official announcement.

Improve Your DM! Best Practices and Process Improvements To Maximize Your DMS

Join us for a free webinar on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at  4 p.m. GMT/ 12 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. CST / 10:00 a.m. MST / 9:00 a.m. PST.

Have you recently thought about the structure and effectiveness of your document management system? Are the initial choices you made when implementing it still serving your business needs? Join this webinar to hear about two firms’ efforts to improve their document management systems. The presenters will discuss the implementation of best practices, standardization, naming conventions and business processes that can better capitalize on document retrieval, records management and knowledge management initiatives.

Speakers:

Joshua Fireman, CEO of Fireman & Company, is a respected leader in knowledge management, noted for achieving the field’s ultimate goal of having active contributions to an institutional knowledge base. Joshua was previously the vice president and general counsel of ii3 and designed enterprise-class solutions. Prior to joining ii3, Joshua led the development of McCarthy Tétrault’s knowledge management system. He can be reached at joshua.fireman@firemanco.com.

Cindy Mahoney is a Senior Systems Administrator at Ropes & Gray LLP in New York. She has 10 years of experience with iManage as a document management administrator, project manager, development manager and consultant. Cindy currently serves on the ILTA Enterprise Content Management Peer Group Steering Committee, is a member of the DocAuto Advisory Board and is an ILTA City Rep for New York City. She is a certified Project Management Professional and can be reached at cynthia.mahoney@ropesgray.com.

Monroe M. Horn is the Chief Technology Officer at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP. He can be reached at mhorn@sunsteinlaw.com.

REGISTER online here

Questions? Please contact Kristy Costello at 512.795.4674 or kristina@iltanet.org

At the International Legal Technology Association conference in Washington D.C. I’m attending the Autonomy iManage Early Adopter session.   Among others, my colleague at Gibbons P.C., the Chief Technology Officer, Michael Aginsky, is speaking.  On a related note, Michael is starting his own personal blog, Law Firm CTO, soon.  Check it out.  And you can follow him on Twitter at @michaelaginsky.  Another note, my friend David Hobbie is sitting next to me (and typing much faster), so he probably has better coverage than mine at his Caselines blog.  Check that out, too.  Finally, please forgive any typos because I am creating this post at the conference to get it out quickly.

Here are some interesting points from the presentation:

  • Email filing is an important aspect of the new system.  How to get attorneys to file their emails in to the document management system (DMS) has been difficult.  iManage 8.5 should help to do that.
  • Budget – how to justify the cost of this type of project in this economy. For some, the cost is not too significant.  Also, the offset of eliminating a lot of paper file space makes it worth it.  The cost savings from email management issues makes the project worth  the expense.
  • Indexing the documents took much less time on 8.5 than on other systems.  The IDOL indexer is much faster than the previous Interwoven system and apparently faster than competing systems.
  • Document accessing performance: there is significant improvement in time for accessing documents.
  • Search: search results come back more quickly.   Full text searching is much better and more precise.  Some are even seeing documents that they didn’t even know they had (this can be risky – especially with documents that should be locked down).  The results are “almost instantaneous.”
  • Matter-Centric Design: firms are taking guidance from other firms that have been recognized for their MCC designs.   Minimal and simple folder structure seems to be preferable among the panelists.
  • User adoption — Buy in from the top is important, and e-discovery issues are also a driving factor.  The firms are essentially requiring that their users adopt the DMS and use it.  The project is seen as a strategic initiative, and it is therefore required by all users.
  • Deployment: most firms are deploying to small groups (sometimes admin groups) first to test it out.  Firm-wide deployment will be done later.
  • Advice: test, and don’t under estimate IDOL – it needs more attention than the predecessor – Verity; don’t under estimate hardware needs and staffing needs in terms of expertise; early adopter training was helpful, but it only scratched the surface, more training will be necessary.

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

On Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada), I’ll be conducting the second of four webinars in the KM 101 series. Register here – freeIf you missed session one, you can watch it here.

Picking up where session one left off, this session, What Do We Know? Document Management and Retrieval Systems, will focus on the “What we know” of knowledge management. Most firms have been around for many years. They have amassed collections of documents that contain the firm’s “institutional knowledge” or “collective work product.” The ability to quickly and easily access and reuse the models, samples, forms, and precedent documents allows lawyers to leverage the work of their colleagues to ensure high quality work product in a efficient, cost-effective manner.

Like last time, we’ll use Twitter as an additional platform for questions and answers. During the sessions, you can send a “tweet” to me at @LawyerKM and include the hash tag “#KM101.”  I’ll be monitoring Twitter and I’ll try to answer any questions that you may have.  You’ll also be able to ask questions or make comments via telephone or through the WebEx Q&A system.

I’ve already reached out to the “Twitterverse” to ask people their thoughts about this topic and to see what they would like me to cover in session two.  Here are some of the responses (Search LawyerKM on Twitter to see the conversations there):

twitter-responses-re-dms

My thanks to the Twitters above — and all the others — who have chimed in.  You can too… or leave a comment below.

Hope to see you Wednesday.

Summary: While Google’s new SearchWiki won’t be an immediate benefit to lawyers, it may help them understand the value of commenting on and promoting content, which may lead them to want the same functionality inside the law firm.

Google announced SearchWiki on November 20, 2008. Simply put, SearchWiki is not a wiki. It is an add-on to the standard Google search function that allows you to mark search results as favorites and make a free-form comments about the results.

How it works. After performing a Google search, you’ll notice that there are three new icons near each result: (1) “Promote” – a box with an arrow pointing up to a horizontal line, used to mark a search result as a personal favorite (2) “Remove” – a box with an X, used to remove the result from your (but not other’s) future search results and (3) “Comment” – used to make personal comments, that you and others can see, about the search result.

Google SearchWiki icons

Google SearchWiki icons

After promoting or commenting on a search result, that web page will rise to the top of your future search results for the same search or other search phrases that include the result.

Nothing new. SearchWiki is nothing new, and I wonder just how useful it will be. Other web search engines have done it before: see my post on Scour (a.k.a Aftervote), which has similar promote, demote, and commenting features. The problem with these feature-rich non-Google search tools, like Scour, is that they are not Google. It is far more likely that people will use and enjoy new features in Google than to use a lesser-known substitute, like Scour.

SearchWiki also allows you to see how many other people have promoted, removed, and commented on a search result. Just go to the bottom of a search result page and click the link that says “See all notes for this SearchWiki.” (You can also see all of your own SearchWiki notes and add a result to the search if you did not see what you were looking for – OK this may be helpful.)

searchwiki-other-features

See other people's SearchWiki comments

In the example below, search results for “Obama,” there are 296 notes. Among those, the first result indicates that 103 people promoted it, 15 removed it, and 37 commented on it. Google says that the changes that you make only affect your own search results, but it is unclear if a significant number of promotions and comments alter (or will in the future alter) the search result ranking for everyone.

Google SearchWiki results for "Obama"

Google SearchWiki results for "Obama"

What does this mean for law firms? Other than being a nifty way to enhance your Web searches, what’s the impact on law firms? Well, as for Google’s offering, not much. But there are enterprise-class offerings that give you similar features. And these features in the enterprise are more than just nifty — they can be downright helpful; making it easier for lawyers to find the high-quality internal content that they need.

Apply the SearchWiki concepts to the content of the various systems in your law firm and things get interesting. You could promote, demote, and comment on documents in your document management system. But, to make it really useful, the user activity would need to affect other user’s searches. This would help separate the really good work product from the so-so work product — in a decentralized, “democratic” way, as opposed to the single-gate-keeper approach to managing content.

Interwoven Universal Search (IUS) does all that Google’s SearchWiki does, and more – but rather than applied

Interwoven

Interwoven

to the Web, it works with your firm’s internal documents and other content. IUS allows users to promote and demote content (either through a star ranking system or a thumbs up/down procedure), and make comments. Comments are key because they allow lawyers to learn aspects of documents that cannot otherwise be ascertained from the documents themselves. For example, agreements never indicate, in their four corners, whether they are favorable to one party or another; a comment about an agreement can indicate this type of valuable information.

IUS goes further than SearchWiki by allowing tagging of content for quick, easy, and personalized classification. Users of the popular social tagging website Delicious will appreciate the utility of this feature. Finally, IUS allows users to save search results into virtual folders. This is handy if you want to make a personal collection of favorite documents, but still make them accessible to the rest of the lawyers in your firm.

So, while Google’s new SearchWiki may not have an immediate impact on the way lawyers think about managing their content, it may be a step in the right direction. If lawyers become familiar with promoting and commenting on web content, soon they may want to be able to do it with their internal content, as well. It’s yet another example of how consumer-based web tools are shaping the way law firms learn from, and take advantage of, innovative new technologies.

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

While researching for a blog post, I came across SearchMe.com (still in beta), which is a pretty cool twist on web search engines. It’s a visual search engine.

From the Searchme web site: “Searchme lets you see what you’re searching for. As you start typing, categories appear that relate to your query. Choose a category, and you’ll see pictures of web pages that answer your search. You can review these pages quickly to find just the information you’re looking for, before you click through.”

Check out this video to get the idea (if you are a Mac or iTunes user, you’ll notice that Searchme resembles Coverflow in iTunes and Finder):

This “coverflow” type of visualization would be fantastic in the enterprise. Speed is the key here. Imagine if you could “flip” through documents in a search result from your DMS the way you can flip through documents in a file. Coverflow is one of the best new features in the new Mac OS X Leopard and it really helps you find documents quickly. Interwoven and Open Text should look into this. 

Update: I hadn’t notice before, but Robert Ambrogi wrote about Searchme in his blog last weekCheck it out here.

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

Google’s Universal Search for Law Firms & Interwoven  

Presentation on March 12, 2008, Vijay Koduri, Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise and Gautam Malkamekar of Persistent Systems. 

My notes from the presentation:

  • Google Enterprise overview:
    • “mission organize the world’s information…”
    • enterprise information (i.e. info behind the firewall) is 40% world’s information.
  • 600 Google employees dedicated to G Enterprise.
  • 15,000 customers.
  • Google Apps – the suite of apps (now also including Google Sites [see my gripe about Sites here]).
  • 2000 new Apps customers every day!
  • “Search is the starting point to the world’s information.”
  • Knowledge workers (“KWs”) spend 25% of time looking for information.
  • KWs search about 5 repositories looking for information.
  • Expertise location is important 
  • Impact on business is loss of productivity, not optimizing billable hours.
  • What is Universal Search?
    • one search searches multiple repositories
    • the results are delivered without categorizing
    • the results are ranked by relevancy
    • an example of Universal search is Google’s Moma internal knowledge base
  • Universal search allows client access via extranets (security is observed to only give access to allowed material).
  • ROI: increase of billable hours – eliminate some time searching so that billers can spend some of that time doing billable activities (time is money).
  • The Google Search Appliance (GSA) searches pretty much all repositories in the enterprise (file shares, intranets, databases, enterprise apps, content management).
  • “OneBox” – Can make real time queries into various apps (ex. see a snapshot of a regional sales report in the search results – not just a link to the report).
  •  Case Study: Akin Gump (not many details).
    • deployed GSA
    • used it to search intranet pages

Second part of webinar - Persistent Systems & Live demo 

The info here is spare because there were some technical problems)

How Universal Search is “extended” to interwoven

  • Persistent Systems overview
  • Connector Deployment – there is Persistent Systems connector between the Interwoven databases and the GSA (fed via XML)
  • Quick – easy install, simple configuration. 

Live demo of Connector

  • an apparently simple “walk through” set up – it took 5 minutes. 
  • A Google browser is used, allowing to search just public content or public & secure content. 
  • only content to which the user has access appears – demonstrated this feature by signing in as different users with different access credentials. 
  • demonstrated Google OneBox – shows relevant real time information in the search results.
  • They can also connect into other DMS products, like Hummingbird

Q&A:

  • The GSA is a closed box and Google does not share the info with anyone outside of the enterprise
  • GSA can search MS Exchange databases, too.
  • It can search across multiple Worksite servers in different geographical locations.
  • Security is checked
  • The search must originate from the web page, but can be embedded in FileSite, with some custom work.
  • Pricing: based on number of documents in organization.  Starting $30,000 (for two-year license, hardware, software, support) for 500,000 documents.  Can index up to 30 million documents with stacked GSAs.
  • There is a small business version of product “Google Mini” 50,000 documents – $3,000.
  • Application can search Word Perfect, as well as Word and many, many other file types.
  • Information can be compartmentalized so that only certain people can see it.
  • Works with single sign on mechanisms. 
  • OneBox works by doing a real-time query. 
  • Google does not keep your search statistics, but you can keep track of your own search statistics within the enterprise with Google Analytics. 
  • They skipped my question: how many Am Law 100 firms have deployed GSA and how many have deployed the Persistent Systems connector?

Webinar is archived here.

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

Reminder: Webinar “Google Search for Law Firms & Interwoven” tomorrow (March 12, 2008).   

See our write up here.

Register here

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

Here are some of my favorite legal knowledge management & technology blog posts and other items from the week of – March 2 – 8 , 2008:

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

Updated – Registration link added below.

I’ve written (and read quite a bit) about Interwoven Universal Search before, but the more I see, the more I like.  I was impressed with Interwoven’s DeskSite and FileSite products (it looks like they are collectively calling the product WorkSite now?), when I deployed them at my former firm.  I like the matter-centric environment.  But from what I can see, the killer feature is the collaboration with Vivisimo.   To see what it’s all about, check out this self-running demo.  It’s really well done. 

Not to be out done, however, Google Enterprise recently launched universal search for business, and will be putting on a show to demonstrate its Interwoven connector.  There are several shows, but there is one specially for law firms.  I’m looking forward to learning more about this – the demo is on March 12.   Register here.

In fact, Google is doing some very interesting things that might be of value to law firms, like the related web results feature.  I also like the the left (or right) hand search navigation, which is part of Google Experimental Labs project.  Check out a sample search here, and see how the results areclustered on the left (sort of like Vivisimo’s).  The “suggest” feature is not really new–it’s built into the Google search on my Firefox browser–but I like it too.  Try it out here (start typing in a search term). 

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

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