Innovation at Google – a day in the life | Knowledge Management

This was a fantastic webinar from KMWorld and Google:

Innovation @ Google: A Day In The Life

On March 11, 2008, Naveen Viswanatha, Sales Engineer at Google Enterprise gave a really great presentation. 

My notes from the presentation: 

  • Broad background of Google and Google Enterprise, touting customer base, etc.
  • Internet Evolution – from information to distribution & communitaction to network & platform.
  • Chronology of how Google evolved with the internet – timeline with their many online products.
  • “Innovation is at the core of Google’s competiveness.” 
  • 70-20-10 Rule – i.e. Google splits its business focus: 70% focus on core business (Search, Ads, Apps); 20% on things with strong potential (blogger, Picassa, News, Pack); 10% Wild and Crazy (offline adds, wifi, transit).   
  • How Google hires people – the hiring process is “painfull.” (See Fast Company article: “Our hiring process is legendary”
  • Google has a relatively flat management structure. 
  • Internal tool called “Snippets” (a nag email: what did you work on last week? – what are you working on this week?) – so you can track your work.  AND it is a knowledge-base tool because everyone else can search all other snippets and get information on what they may be working on. 
  • Google Ideas database – post and review ideas within Google – people can comment on and vet out the ideas.  The ideas might turn into an actual project.  [plus, it records the things that are Google’s intellectual property] – it uses the “wisdom of the crowds” philosophy.
  • Innovation is a collaborative process at Google –  “Innovation = Discovery + Collaboration (+ Fun)” 
  • First day at Google is “like drinking from a firehose”
  • Any questions – go to “Moma” – Google’s internal knowledge base – search of their key knowledge areas. 
  • Can look for experts within the company – Google expert search within Moma – lots of an individual’s information is searchable (including resumes, which they encourage people to keep up to date).   
  • Search results within Moma – you can take notes in the search results (of the things that you are searching) – uses Google Docs [I used Google Docs to take notes for this blog post] – and you can publish the notes — it publishes it out to the people you want (they use gMail, chat, Goolge Calendar – can overlay colleague’s calendars on top of your own so that you can schedule meetings, etc.). 
  • Regarding the notes – others can make changes to your notes (which you created in Google Docs) in real time – you can see the changes on your screen. 
  • It’s all about the “…ability to find and leverage collective wisdom of the organization…” 
  • How are experts are established?  Expert databases are hard to keep upto date.  So they leverage the things that people do already: resumes, blogs, wikis, Snippets, Moma, etc.
  • Are these tools avaiable to the public?  Yes and no.  Search is the key enabler to tap into the repositories that are already in use at your organization (touting Google Search Appliance). 

The event is archived: here  

I really encourage people to check this out.  Especially those who are new to KM.  This presentation gave a glimpse into Google as a company and it shows off some great ways that any organization can approach KM. 

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

Enterprise Search Summit – May 19-21, 2008 | Knowledge Management

Enterprise search in law firms is hot. Ron at Strategic Legal Technology and Doug at KM Space both reported that it was identified it as one of the top priorities for law firm knowledge management in 2008.

What better reason to go to the Enterprise Search Summit this May in New York?

I am especially looking forward to:

  • Enterprise Search 101 (pre-conference workshop)
  • Enterprise Search Technology Intensive (pre-conference workshop)
  • Social Work: Is Social Search Right for Enterprise (Ross Mayfield of Socialtext is a speaker)
  • The Enterprise Search Engine Landscape
  • The Nuts & Bolts of Selecting an Enterprise Search Engine
  • Search Connections in Context (Oz Benamram of Morrison & Foerster is a speaker)
  • Search as a Gateway to Enterprise Info
  • Enterprise Search Clinic: Vivisimo
  • Build a case for an Enterprise Search Platform
  • Mining Additional Value from Enterprise Search
  • Keynote Panel: Take a 30,000-Foot View of Enterprise Search Implementation
  • Evaluating the ROI of Search
  • The Future of Search

Will you be there?

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

Google joins the Interwoven party, along with Vivisimo | Knowledge Management

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

A Business Case for Enterprise Search

On February 12, 2008, KMWorld and Vivisimo presented a webcast called Making and Airtight Business Case for Enterprise Search.  The speakers were Jim Murphy of AMR Research and Rebecca Thompson of Vivisimo. 

Murphy discussed: redefining enterprise search, business case challenges, aligning enterprise search with business priorities, and choosing the best approach.  

Not just search, but NSR (navigation, search, and retrieval): Focusing not only on search, Murphy discussed the importance of navigation and how it is used hand in hand with search.  He also cited the importance of the ability of systems to crawl various sources of information and extract it. 

From a business case perspective, both process efficiency and customer loyalty / satisfaction were important to the respondents of his research.  The important business issues within the enterprise were customer service and support, and worker productivity. 

Thompson, of Vivisimo, discussed some case studies in the manufacturing and pharmacuetical industries and for government. 

She focused on increasing employee efficiency through search, enabling collaboration among workers, and giving employees access to the information they need (but don’t necessarily realize that they need). 

Thompson described how Vivisimo’s system can search across all types of data sources, like document management systems, portals (including SharePoint), image documents, file shares and servers, intranets and internet sites.  One of the case studies saw an daily increase in searches from 15 to 2,000.  

There was nice screenshot that showed Vivisimo’s signature clustered results, and a tabbed result list, which gives the user the option to display all results, or grouped results (by people, intranet, internet, the DMS, SharePoint, and the network). 

Finally, there was a discussion of the www.USA.gov website, which is powered by Vivisimo.  The site has noted a decrease in citizen support phone calls. 

The demo will be archived at KMWorld for 90 days.  Check it out here

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

More on Interwoven Universal Search with Vivisimo | Knowledge Management

I’ve written before about Interwoven and Vivisimo (and their collaboration on the Interwoven Universal Search product). Now that LegalTech New York is upon us, they are getting more attention.

A press release describes how Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz has is now using Interwoven Universal Search “to help its professionals instantly locate important content throughout the organization.” Rob Guilbert of Wachtell cited the desire to give their attorneys quick and easy access to firm content as motivation for the move. Apparently they are thrilled with it.

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

Law Firms & Enterprise Search | Knowledge Management

An interesting article at ComputerWeekly.com called Legal Firms Wake Up To the Benefits of Enterprise Search notes that law firms, like Linklaters, are turning to enterprise search systems because “finding information from many different collections and sources … has become … one of the biggest challenges facing lawyers in the information age.”  It also reports, not surprisingly, that law firms are the biggest customers of enterprise search vendors due to the “extremely document oriented” nature of firms’ work. 

And while not all large law firms have enterprise search systems, most seem to understand the value of being able to quickly find their intellectual capital with tools more sophisticated than a document management system.  More than half of the Am Law 100 firms have a work-product retrieval system from one of the four more popular vendors: West km, Lexis Total Search, Practice Technologies RealPractice, or Recommind.  And some lucky firms have more than one. 

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

"Innovation" is not a four-letter word | Knowledge Management

Legal KM folks are innovators. They’re always looking for new ways to get the right information to the right people at the right time.  Always trying to make the practice of law more efficient. 

Innovation, by definition, is about newness. “The introduction of something new” or “a new idea, method, or device,” according to dictionary.com. New can be good or it can be bad.  Either way, it will meet resistance. Most people tend to dislike change – the more drastic, the more resistance. Lawyers, and those others who work in the legal field, are not shy about expressing their aversion to change. 

Remember when your firm announced that it was switching from DOS-based WordPerfect 5.1 to the new-fangled Windows-based WYSIWYG Microsoft Word?  Remember “reveal codes?” Some legal secretaries still want to go back to those good old days, but most are now pretty happy with the change.

My mother didn’t need a microwave oven in the late 1970s, — or more accurately, she didn’t know she needed one. Today, estimates claim that 95% of households have one. There’s a reason for it. It’s not the only way to cook food and boil water and pop popcorn, but it’s pretty efficient.

The same goes for my iPod. Aside from being super cool, it is a great device that makes it easy to listen to music.  I could carry around my old Sony Walkman and a bunch of cassette tapes, but, well you get the picture. 

So, why do lawyers, in particular, hate change? I’ve experienced this, but I’m not alone. There are several reasons, and this article mentions some.  A lot has to do with focus and familiarity.

Lawyers work long, hard hours. They write briefs, try cases, do deals, etc. Few, however, focus on the business of law or ways to make the practice of law better.  If they work at firms, then they assume that there are others that deal with that. 

Lawyers, like most people, also tend to do what’s familiar.  We like what we like.  We fear things that are different.  Even if something is better and more efficient, we find ways to avoid it. 

That’s where the KM folks come in.  We don’t focus on what lawyers focus on.  We focus on making it easier for them to focus on what they need to focus on.  We are also more comfortable with change, so we need to make it as painless as possible for them.  Say what you will about lawyers, but they tend to be a reasonable bunch.  Once you get them past the focus and familiarity challenges, they are usually receptive (and sometimes even appreciative).  In the end, most of the time they’ll ask you, “Why haven’t we been doing it this way all along?”  And that’s just what you want. 

So, why innovate? 

Or should I avoid the “i word” and say, “Why introduce some new method or idea?”?  Well, it’s not for innovation’s sake.  It’s not for the sake of being cutting (or bleeding) edge.  It’s to help make things better, easier, and more efficient. 

My mom never asked for a microwave oven, but she did plead for more time to do things other than slave over a hot stove.  Your lawyers may never ask you for a work product retrieval system, an enterprise search engine, blogs, or wikis.  But they will ask you for a better and faster way to find the firm’s documents and other information.  They will ask for a better way to communicate with members of their practice groups and clients.  In short, they’ll ask you to innovate — just not in so many words.   

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