Is Google Getting Closer to Offering a Viable Knowledge Management Tool?

Google announced this morning Cloud Connect for the Google Search Appliance (GSA).  The Search Appliance has been around for years, but Google has had difficulty getting law firm adoption.  The latest version, however, offers some additional benefits that might make it more attractive to all types of businesses, including law firms.

The Cloud, Ground, and Social Search.

Google says that GSA now displays search results from “Google Docs and Google Sites alongside results from more traditional repositories, like file shares and content management systems.”  In addition, one search can show results from blogs, and social media sites, like Twitter.

Who We Know.

Equally important — especially to law firms — is the new People Search feature, “which makes it easy to find experts and contact coworkers.”  Search results for coworkers are included in response to queries.  The announcement indicates that the GSA can index personnel information and includes an LDAP connector, which should make things easier to set up.  The ability to index popular client relationship management (CRM) applications, like InterAction, is unclear.

Important Extras.

Finally, the new GSA includes Dynamic Navigation and SharePoint 2010 support.  Dynamic Navigation “allows users to drill down into search results based on search modifiers for their queries.”  This sort of feature is nothing new;  most of the search tools used by many law firms use it, but is an important addition to GSA nonetheless.   Narrowing search results — rather than executing a new search — is one of the fastest ways to get the information you need.  Google did not elaborate on SharePoint integration, except to say that it supports Microsoft SharePoint 2010 “content without the need for additional connectors.”  Going forward, tight SharePoint integration will be absolutely necessary given the increasing rate of adoption at law firms.

What are your thoughts?  Will the new version of GSA prompt more law form adoption?

Knowledge Management, Technology & Social Media for Lawyers and Law Firms

Upcoming KM Presentations at LegalTech (and Beyond)

LegalTech New York and The Sixth Annual Law Firm Chief Information & Technology Officers Forum are right around the corner – coming up February 1 -3, 2010.  I’m looking forward to participating on a couple of panels:

First: External Knowledge Management: Using Internet Resources to Your Advantage, at LegalTech on Monday, February 1 at 4:15 p.m.   I am joining David Hobbie, Litigation Knowledge Management Attorney at Goodwin Procter LLP (and author of the Caselines blog), and Tom Baldwin, Chief Knowledge Officer at Reed Smith, LLP.   Rob Saccone, Vice President, General Manager, XMLAW at Thomson Reuters is moderating.

Here’s the outline:

  • Explore free and paid-for services and content sources becoming available for firms to support their knowledge management, marketing and practice needs
  • Using search sites and social networks for legal research, competitive intelligence and current awareness about clients and partners
  • Find information that is out there about your firm
  • Going beyond Google
  • Best practices for understanding the messages the marketplace is sharing about you and your firm and how to manage the data

Next: Enterprise Search: How to Mitigate Risk and Drive Productivity, at the CIO – CTO Forum on Wednesday, February 3, at 11:00 a.m.  I am joining Ali Shahidi, Director of Knowledge Management at Bingham McCutchen LLP and Bill Puncer, Search Advantage Evangelist at LexisNexis.

Description from the program: Law firms are increasingly inundated with information.  Join us for a lively presentation on managing that information—making it searchable; actionable and enhancing its value within the enterprise, thus managing your risk exposure and driving productivity.  Discover how an enterprise search platform can power a range of flexible tools your firm can use to integrate, enrich and manage both internal and external information, reducing the risk of making costly mistakes and increasing productivity within the enterprise.

Also of interest is The Business of Law Symposium, Charting a Successful Course in Today’s Brave New World, sponsored by LexisNexis at LegalTech on Monday, February 1, from 1:00 p.m. to  5:00 p.m.  This promises to be very interesting, starting with a Keynote by Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq. There are three other sessions: Knowledge Management; New Structures for the New World; and Future Strategies.  Other notable speakers include: Ali Shahidi (see above) and Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer at White & Case, and too many others to list.  The program is eligible for up to 4 CLE credits.

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

Selling Enterprise Search in Your Law Firm

The first sessions at the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference have begun.  I’m at the Information Management track listening to Tom Baldwin, Joshua Fireman, and Peter Krakaur talk about Selling Enterprise Search in Your Organization.

Here are some key points (please fogive any typos – I’m doing this on the fly to get it out there quickly):

  • Don’t let the vendor define the scope.  Figure out what your firm needs and acquire the technology that works for you – not necessarily the tech the vendor is trying to sell.
  • Don’t rely on the users (especially lawyers) to tell you what they need  or how you should deliver it.  They are experts in the law – not in tech.
  • Think big about all the stuff that you want to include in your finished product.  What are the buckets that you want to include?
  • Manage the “Google expectation” – these systems will not be as simple as Google.  You’ll need some training.
  • Don’t under estimate the manpower that you’ll need to maintain these systems.  Expect that you’ll need at least a part time (probably a full time) person to keep the systems running.
  • Think about strategies beyond KM and IT – what about records management?  Think about the full life cycle of the information your firm needs to manage.
  • Figure out what’s important to your firm.  Is it work product retrieval?  CRM? ERM? a basic intranet?
  • Think of search as an enterprise integration layer that is very good at finding things.
  • You should have a good business case to present the strategy to the firm.
  • Security by obscurity – be careful of documents that will come to the surface when you start an enterprise search project.  These same documents were there before but were “hidden” just because they were hard to find.  Make sure those documents (reviews, employee compensation memos, etc.) are secure before going live with the project because people will find them.
  • Don’t get lost in over design and over “tweaking” the system at the outset.
  • Google Paradox – manage the expectations of your users.  They can find anything on Google – why can’t they find something on a server three floors away within the firm?  Manage their expectations early.
  • “Selling” after the roll out: beware of “If you build it, they will come” approach.
  • Don’t leave to chance the perception of the system to the users.  Don’t forget to follow up after the roll out.  See how people are using it.   Make sure they are using it properly.  Drive adoption and utilization.
  • Pre-launch communications are only the start…
  • How to sell the goods.  Analyze the usage and compare it by practice group, office, and role.  You need firm-wide messages, but also target certain groups.  Let your users do the selling: have the power users evangelize for you: a partner endorsing the system means more than you doing it.  Use “other” ways to reach people – not just email; use webinars, live presentations, etc.  Tom at Reed Smith uses videos of lawyers talking about the system – very effective.
  • Maintaining the system.  You’ll need people to do this (at least a pert time position).  Find out who is not using the system and focus on them.   Reporting is key for maintenance.  Check out the firm-wide emails – see what people are asking, then do the search for them and send them a “friendly reminder” email (give them a fish, and teach them to fish).
  • Marketing is really important.  ATV campaign Awareness, Training, and Visibility.

Great presentation.

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

Enterprise Search – Impact on how we do business | Knowledge Management

ILTA August 25, 2008 2:30 pm

These are my notes from the program.  [Since I am taking paper-free notes and because there is free Wi-Fi here, I thought that I’d add the notes to the blog.  Disclaimer: my notes are rough, so forgive the typos.]

Chad Ergun, Jeff Rovner, Robert Guilbert, moderated by: Rachelle DeGregory

See the ILTA site for the speaker line up

Jeff Rovner – O’Melveny & Myers – Recommind

  • decided on Recommind –
  • decision influenced by The Long Tail (there are obscure items that collectively make up a great amount of what is stored and searched)
  • modeled after electronic commerce (Amazon)
  • there are many ways to find content [many paths to the top of the mountain]
  • the key is that the content and existing systems allow you to make inferences and create the tags that attach to the content automatically.
  • Aug 2006 to September 2007 launch – 10 months
  • April 2008 – integrated MindServer and firm intranet
  • Recommind as a stand alone application
    • used websites as model for simplicity (FLickr) – called Ommni (“your one source for firm information”)
    • had tutorials
    • used Bloomindales.com as a demo to show how to drill down into jackets.  then went directly into Recommind demo and repeated the exercise with documents [brilliant!!]
  • Integration with Intranet
    • browse-able search
    • has same search box, just adds an intranet tab
    • e.g., find personnel box – includes all of the relevant info about the person, including news stories.
    • has an advanced personnel search – very detailed ability to drill down into what people are looking for.
    • Find Active Clients box- leads to a client page (created a template so the it brings up info for any client)
    • the Client page lists all matters and leads to the matter page.
    • can display all matters liked to a client
  • Intranet has table of contents
    • displays offices, and then the people in those offices (powered by Recommind) with the standard filters.  (just like the Bloomingdales site)
  • A PRactice Group centric page – where you can get all info related to the PG
  • Topic pages – Can do a client matters search associated with topic pages
  • The difference with Recommind is that it is all automatic
  • Recommended book – Everything is Miscellaneous

Chad Ergun – White & Case – Autonomy

  • created matrix listing all vendors and features
  • language independence was # 1 issue due to international practice of White & Case
  • started using Autonomy for enterprise search, then added it to intranet, knowledge bank, DMS, and desktop search.
  • Next phase to turn voicemail into searchable content
  • uses one single search box with tabs across top to drill down if desired.
  • has results drill down on left side (similar to Recommind)
  • The desktop search is like Google Desktop [my guess is that this would be very popular – I used to use it and miss it – I can’t find my emails!!]
  • there is integration with MS word – and the results come up based on words typed into a word document while you type.  It uses a Word toolbar.
  • The voicemail piece turns voice to text and searches them.

Robert Guilbert – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz – Interwoven’s Universal Search (IUS)

  • One office – 235 attorneys
  • Email blasts – “does anyone have any docs related to XYZ…” [i.e. PTI emails]
  • Attorneys wanted one place to look for all information
  • IUS gives them the one search with left side drill down functionality
  • System is very customizable
  • Timeline: August (first introduced) to June (launch) – 10 months
  • Averaging 300 searches a day in week 1  – week 4 was close to 500.
  • User adoption also increased.
  • [This seemed limited to the “what we know” problem – with such a small firm, the “who we know” problem is probably not so much a problem]

Questions

  • citation integration?   Jurisdiction – Recommind – yes, but not citations.  Autonomy – they system is not legal specific, but can be “trained” but not out of the box.  IUS can, but relies on adding metadata to the documents.  Thomson integrates with Recommind with their WestKM system.
  • SharePoint – White & Case will be integrating SharePoint with Autonomy later this year.  Recommind crawls SP.  IUS engine searches SP
  • Securtity – IUS respects DMS security and other systems security.  Recommind also respects security and adds ethical walls.  Autonomy does the same – if you have no access you can’t even see the document.
  • Tagging – IUS is coming out with tagging of documents.  Robert says that an attorney has already asked him about the ability to tag.  Recommind is introducing in the next version.
  • Integration with work-product retrieval systems like WestKM and RealPractice – WestKM has deconstructed it and now allows integration with Recommind.
  • What about Google? – relevancy ranking is not adjustable.  It is not really ready for law firms.
Which you choose will depend on the nature of your law firm.
If you’re reading this, you’ll likely be interested in the LinkedIn Group called Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals.

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

The Enterprise is YOU! | Knowledge Management

With most of my time devoted to knowledge management at a law firm, I often forget about my own needs. I’ve got a lot of digital stuff in various silos that could use the KM treatment. At home, on my iMac, it’s not a problem because I have Spotlight. I can find just about anything on my iMac pretty quickly. But I have a lot of stuff on the web – and it’s not all that easy to find. Off the top of my head, here are some of the web applications that I use frequently:

  • Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail (multiple accounts), iGoogle, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Reader, Upcoming.org, Meetup.com, WordPress, Digg, Delicious, Twitter, Netvibes, Picasa, Mac Web Galleries.

In the Google applications alone, I have a lot of pretty important information. My Gmail contact information is more up-to-date than my Outlook contacts at work.

In some ways — on a smaller scale, of course — I have the same problems as a large enterprise: there’s a lot of information and no easy way to find it. If I am looking for contacts, for example, I can go to Gmail, LinkedIn, or Facebook. But, I have to go to each and search them individually. And with new web applications popping up all the time, it’s only going to get worse.

I need a search engine for the enterprise called “me.” One search box that will tap into all of my online silos. Clearly, Google should be the one to offer such a solution.

Google already has Google Custom Search, which allows you to build a search box that searches specific sites to the exclusion of others. Several KM folks have written about Custom Search. See here, here and here [Doug, I think there’s a KM blog missing from your KM Sites Search list 😉 ].

So, Google, let’s take Custom Search one step further: maybe call it “Personalized Custom Search” or “iCustom Search” or “Self Search.” Give me the ability to search all of my web apps in a secure, password-protected way. One search that hits all of my web apps. So, when I do a search for my business contact, “Jim Smith,” the results include emails to and from Jim, pictures of Jim that I tagged in Picasa (and in Facebook), a Google Map that shows me where Jim’s office is (based on the information in my Gmail contacts), Jim’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, the activities that Jim will be attending from Upcoming.org and Meetup.com (because he is tagged as a friend), his Twitter posts and Delicious tags, etc., etc.

While you’re at it, please make an advanced search page that allows me to select or un-select certain web apps. Now, is that too much to ask?

By the way, I created the image with Gliffy. Check it out.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management, Technology & Social Media for Lawyers and Law Firms

Microsoft Enterprise Search: Extending SharePoint for Advanced Search Solutions | Knowledge Management

KM World put on a nice webinar called Microsoft Enterprise Search: Extending SharePoint for Advanced Search Solutions.  It is archived for about 90 days, so check it out.  (Sorry no notes on this one).

Also, here is an interesting press release from CMS Watch called SharePoint Has Become the New Lotus NotesI would love to hear what everyone thinks about it. 

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

Blog Buddies | Knowledge Management

Robert Scoble wrote a nice piece in Fast Company about “how to get good PR for yourself in the blogosphere.” It’s called Meet the Press. He notes how Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, went from relative obscurity to a “media darling” in about a year’s time by — among other things — making real-life connections with bloggers.

A good tip from Scoble: use Upcoming.org to see where other bloggers have indicated they are going. Scoble is using Upcoming.org to “watch” the Enterprise Search Summit and Blogger Social ’08 (and a lot of other stuff). If nothing else, you may find something interesting to do (I was “reminded” that the Five Boro Bike Tour is coming up in May and I learned that a band I like is apparently back together and will be playing in NYC in June). A friend [no blog reference] recently reminded me of another resource for this type of thing: MeetUp.com.

I like Scoble’s ideas and I like Ferriss’ book. I recommend that anyone interested in knowledge management, efficiency, productivity, or just making the most out of your waking hours [and your sleeping hours], give the book a read. (It’s not necessarily about working only 4 hours a week). Need some incentive? Check out Ferriss’ blog.

And if you’ve got a blogging strategy, Scoble would like to hear about it. He invites readers to email him about it at scoble@fastcompany.com and “he’ll post the best ideas at” Scobleizer.com. Looking forward to that.

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

Google's Universal Search for Law Firms & Interwoven | Knowledge Management

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