Thursday, May 29, 2008
The calendar is embedded below. Those of you who followed by Household KM posts will remember my affection for Google Calendars [Calendars and Household Knowledge Management].
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
To those of you who read Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites, you have already heard this story about Slate.com's Convictions Blog. I was surprised to see the Globe put it on the front page.
Judge Gertner has written four posts so far. She joins Judge Richard Posner, Judge on United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals as a blogging federal judge. Judge Posner blogs on The Becker-Posner Blog.
[Gertner, whom President Clinton nominated to the bench in 1993, has long written on legal matters in law journals and newspaper op-ed pages.
For the past nine years, she has also taught two courses on sentencing, one a semester, at Yale Law School, her alma mater, where she shares her insights in her characteristically chatty manner. So blogging, she says, is not a radical departure.
"I saw this as the new media version of what I've always been doing," the former criminal defense lawyer said recently at her office at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse. "If this is where people are getting information, this is where we have to be."]
Is anyone else aware of other judges who blog?
Friday, May 23, 2008
If you take a look at Tuesday at 2:15 you will see that I am on the panel: What Blogging Brings to Business. Jessica Lipnack is moderating the panel consisting of me, Bill Ives, Patti Anklam and Caesar Brea.
There are some great keynote sessions, including these two:
Enterprise 2.0 - A State of the Industry Address
Join Carl Frappaolo and Dan Keldsen of AIIM Market Intelligence, as they provide highlights on the first in-depth Enterprise 2.0 market study, including the results of a survey completed by over 400 Enterprise 2.0 users and evaluators.
Enterprise 2.0 Reality Check
They propose the "Genre Model" which identifies elements of adoption and the change in patterns of communication as a tool for evaluating new technology. The model consists of six elements:
- Why - what is the purpose and expectation
- What - what content will be communicated
- Who - participants in the communication and their roles
- Where - location of the communication, physical or virtual, geographic dispersion
- When - temporal elements, like how quickly do you expect a response
- How - manner and form of communication, such as format and structure
The method of the article is an interesting way to approach new social media platforms both externally and internally.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Everyone agreed that we have attorneys like this who need an intervention. But is it a technology problem or a business process problem?
The emphasis is on records management of which email management is a part. One panelists played an internal video showing the dangers of not having good records management for physical records or electronic records.
One firm had a 90 day email retention problem. The email needs to be filed into the email repository within 90 days or it gets deleted. The key is to have the business policy of email retention and then have the technology enforce the policy. Archiving email just defers the problem. They started by deleting emails more than 2 years old, then one year old and then tighter and tighter. The panelist created a legacy email library in iManage. The library is only available to records and not to attorneys. Just in case there was a legitimate need to pull back one of those emails. Those emails are then subject to a ten year retention. They uses Out IM from DocAuto to move the email. The key to success was treating it as a business problem, not as a technology problem. The risk management focus was the strongest selling point.
The other panelist is stuck with the firm not being able to come up with a document retention policy. Then the email overload is a technology problem. They had migrated from a Lotus Notes to an Exchange/Outlook environment. One person had 90,000 messages in his Notes inbox and another with a 20GB inbox in Notes. Those crushed Exchange and Outlook. The push was to move emails out of the inbox and into client/matter folders. Those folders are intended to be a precursor to an email management process. The email system was a de facto document management system. His attorneys also wanted to have all their emails available when portable.
One battle that both panelists had is the push back from attorneys and management that "disk space is cheap!"
One panelist automatically archived email that was over 90 old. They also archived any email over a certain size limit. The archiving allowed them to manage the mailbox size and deal with the technology problems. He found that the firm disclaimers and 230 circular disclaimers ended up taking up a lot of space. He also noticed that the flow of emails is still increasing.
One issue that both panelists mentioned was not just the file size, but the item count in the main outlook boxes. Outlook has a problem when there is more than 5,000 items in a top level folder. The calendar is a particular problem. [I am a diligent filer and got caught with having too many items in my calendar.]
The panel then addressed the benefits to the attorneys. One reason is to make it easier to find the email. The huge inboxes cause slow performance and increases the likelihood to bring the system down. An audience member brought up the collaboration benefit of sharing email. It seems you need a carrot and stick to get email filing. Some will respond to the fear and some will respond to the benefits.
The first question was "make it like Google." The first response was to have a simple interface that delivered relevant results. Relevancy is the hardest part. We do not have the magic special sauce that makes PageRank work so well for Google. One panelist also said that people are looking for Amazon.com. They want an ability to manipulate the search results to filter down to useful content. Another panelist showed the importance of putting the filters on the left-hand side. People are so use to Google putting advertisements on the right-hand side that they ignored the filters if they were on the right.
One issue is how to deliver relevancy or whether to include relevancy. What are the keys to relevancy.
What about the relationship between the document management system and the enterprise search? Most of the knowledge lives in the document management system and email. One panelist pointed out that those two sources are largely limited to work product.
What a bout taxonomy? Knowledge management has been focused on taxonomy. Does enterprise search reduce the need for a taxonomy? The panel all felt that taxonomy was very important to make enterprise search work. [I disagree. You want metadata to filter results. You do not necessarily need a rigid taxonomy.]
There was a lot of discussion about enterprise search inadvertently revealing documents that should not be public. One firm mentioned that they shut the enterprise search down after the a few weeks to give a cooling down period. During the cooling down period, people could put security on documents. Previously they had "security by obscurity." One firm had a policy to report information that is available through the search that should be secure. Another firm did not include administrative documents as part of the initial roll-out of the enterprise search.
The panel thought that any enterprise search is better than no enterprise search. They do produce different results and have some different capabilities. But they all seem to produce much better results than not having one. Some notes are focusing on multi-threading. You do not want people to have to wait in line for their search to run. Another point to focus on the index size. Some indexes are almost as big as the underlying content repositories.
What to include in the enterprise search? The panel responded:
- Lotus Notes, resume collections, CRM, intranet, KM methodology system
- Lotus Notes, Elite billing information, CRM, records, DMS, website
There was some challenge to the request for "The Google." Several audience members think the results need more bells and whistles to work. [I struggle with the question of whether the search tool needs to be more complicated or whether we need to store the information in a better way that simplifies the search.]
How do you prove value of enterprise search? One answer is that is an infrastructure thing, more than an ROI thing.
The panel offered their top advice on choosing and implementing and enterprise search tool:
- Define the sources to search
- Focus on security recognition
- Understand who is searching for what, in what business context
- Tune-ability of the tool
- Focus on crafting the user interface
- Put it into the toolbar of other applications; bring the ability to search to them
Michael helped bring McKipedia to McKinsey. It was an internal wiki to help organize information. He found that there were many wikis already being used in the organization. They were using for project management and similar projects. At the same time as launching McKipedia, he also launched "collaboration spaces" on the side. There was no structure, no sponsorship and no notification across the organization. At first McKipedia was very popular, but died down. Collaboration spaces took off.
Internal wikipedia is not the killer use case. People do not want to edit an encyclopedia. In-the-flow works better than above-the-flow. The tools work better when they are employed to help someone do their daily task, not as an extra job responsibility. Culture is not a prerequisite; it is a journey. You can start in ways that are less about change and less foreign to people.
Michael challenged traditional knowledge management as asking people to capture information outside of their daily job. Traditional knowledge management requires you to take extra steps to do things for the benefit of the firm.
Good enterprise collaboration tools should be part of the daily work. We want to introduce tools that make it easier for the individuals to do their jobs better and more efficiently.
The tools require the mindset of "ask for forgiveness" not "ask for permission."
One collaboration tool has sales representatives email questions to a wiki and then all responses come back to the wiki. [Maybe it would be good to remove all distribution lists from email. You have to go to a web page to email a group. The email message and responses would also be stored in a webpage as a discussion forum.]
There is no need to create a new culture. The 2.0 tools can be used to improve the existing interactions within a single business unit to achieve operational improvement. Then you can expand this create new interactions within the business unit to achieve business innovation. You can expand it across multiple business unit
Collaboration requires a purpose. Why do you have a wiki? Is it to easier share information is to communicate within a team.
You should learn by doing. It is cheap and easy to experiment. You should focus on smaller groups rather than the enterprise as a whole. Focus on empowering the particular office, or practice or team. You should focus on smaller groups to allow them to work in a way that works for them. But you do want to think globally and get the tools to share a common platform. (obviously Michael thinks SocialText offers a great platform.)
Andy got into this space three or four years ago when he first heard about web 2.o. At first he was skeptical. He finds companies are very innovative and that they are even better at talking about how innovative they are.
Andy was going watch wikipedia and see it an example of the implosion of the web 2.0 movement. Much to his surprise, it did not. I fact, he found the entries to be incredibly useful and informative. His next thought was how this could useful inside an organization as opposed to the world-wide web.
His definition: "Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers." This is not an incremental change, these are novel technologies and approaches. They offer more than incremental improvement in areas of innovation, collaboration, knowledge sharing, collective intelligence, search and discovery.
There are a few underlying trends that are key to the nature of the change. Social software is new way to look at these. There is the network effects and Metcalfe's Law. There are free and easy platforms for communication. There is a lack of up-front structure. There are mechanisms that exist to let structures to emerge, so you can find the information you are looking for.
He distinguished between channel technologies and platforms. Email is a channel communication. It is point to point, invisible to others and cant' be consulted or harvested. Websites are a type of platform; it is universal, visible and consult-able. The problem with the platforms is that you need to know technology and have security rights. Now there are free and easy platforms that remove the expertise and cost associated with the website.
Andy told the story of Wikipedia and Nupedia. He then moved on to del.icio.us and showed us his del.icio.us tags. He compared the del.icio.us tags to the taxonomy of the early days of Yahoo. He pointed out the del.icio.us tag page that shows the most popular tags and which you share.
In talking about clusters and tags it highlighted the powers of the next version of Universal Search and Vivisimo's semantic clustering.
Andy moved onto the business benefits of Enterprise 2.0. He focused on his Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye. He moved on to the story of the cost savings at Intrawest based in internal blogs: Intranet case study: Intrawest Placemaking.
He moved on to adoption challenges. The biggest is overweighting the advantages of the incumbent and the under-weighting the new. Something new needs to be ten times better for people to shift to the new. Dion Hinchcliffe mentioned this on his Introduction to Social Computing at the 2007 Enterprise 2.0 conference.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Simplicity is key. The change is going to be severe, so make it easier for the attorneys and legal staff. Only push out a few folders at first. One firm said that the have selection process at matter opening to pick the folder structure. Another firm said that they allowed the attorneys to create their own folder structure.
Communication and training is key. Communication up front is key to clarify the business need and convey those needs to the firm-wide audience. You need multiple trainings. People will remember some features and not others. They will have questions.
Rizwan showed an eLearning tool for the Interwoven products. Unfortunately, I could not find it on their website. (Hmm! Why not?)
Rizwan pointed out how the Universal Search can used to deal with centralization, or lack there of. The Universal Search can pull from the disparate systems. Centralization benefits the IT staff, but provides little benefit to the attorneys.
(Universal Search would be very useful tool for mergers. Just point the search at the two firms DMS systems. You can work on merging the systems later.)
One plan for Universal Search is to also incorporate external repositories.
The indexing and search results is much faster in 8.3. A repository of 9 million documents took 30 days in 8.2 and 5 days in 8.3. The search results are much faster in 8.3 (I found this to be very true in our testing.) There were some charts that the user experience for tolerating delays is about 5 seconds. Anything longer than that rapidly becomes unacceptable.
Everyone asks us for Google. "Why can't we just have Google search our documents?" Larry and Sergei are billionaires because they figured out the special sauce for searching and ranking webpages. What our people are asking for is a simple interface that returns documents in a meaningful way. Instead, with Interwoven we give a lot of fields to search in very database look with documents returned in a flat result list.
Before throwing Interwoven under the bus, there are four types of searches and Interwoven does two of them very well. The four types are fetch, recall, research and precedent. Interwoven excels at the fetch and recall search. These are by far the most common searches run at most firms.
It is the research and precedent that deliver the knowledge management value by allowing attorneys to find and reuse relevant content.
Until Worksite 8.3 and Express Search, they did poorly at research. Interwoven Express Search now delivers on research. Nobody does a precedent search. That is one of goals for enterprise search.
A deeper discussion of the four types of search.
With the fetch, you have exact identifying information. For instance, with a document in the document management system you have the document number, or you have a filename and path, or a URL. This is core document management activity.
With the recall search, you have some distinct information about the nature of the item. You remember a matter it was associated with, who created it, when it was created, etc. With this type of search you typically get back several or many items and you need to sort through the results to find the item you were looking for.
The research is the type of search that an enterprise search was built for. You want to find information on a topic and you may have no idea if the enterprise has any information on that topic. Information could be stored in a variety of sources/databases.
With a precedent, the information that makes the item relevant is generally not in the text of the document. For instance, if I were looking for a purchase and sale agreement for a retail shopping center in Florida that is buyer favorable. The words "Florida" "retail shopping center" and "buyer favorable" may not appear in the document and if they do they may only appear once or twice. To enable this kind of search you need to harness the document collection to another database of information.
Interwoven presented areas of improvement:
- Email filing is still complex and requires desktop computing power
- Only support blackberries and no other mobile devices
- Offline mode is antiquated
- Records management user interface needs to be improved
- Have not exploited Vivisimo's search capabilities
- Application integration is cumbersome and the use of macros is tough
Worksite 8.5 will have greatly improved offline access. They have a new, ground-up offline mode. It will have background synchronization and on-demand synchronization.
Rafiq also talked up records management. (I am not familiar with the records management piece.)
Worksite 8.5 will offer some access through the browser so they can expand access through more mobile devices. Certainly some email management through the blackberry will be a plus. I have not seen much demand for documents through the blackberry.
First up on the demo was Worksite Mobility 8.3. It is a mini-browser based access to Interwoven WorkSite. One key thing that caught me attention is that you can access the email in Worksite and forward and deal with the email. This actually could be a big improvement over current functionality. Right now I have a hard time accessing email filed in my email folders. This will be a big plus for encouraging people to file into WorkSite. You can find the email from your blackberry. Good stuff!!
Worksite 8.5 will have server side filing of email instead of client side filing of email. Right now if you file a lot of emails, it can bog down Outlook and your computer while it processes the emails by moving them from Outlook into WorkSite and profiling them in WorkSite.
You will be able to link a mailbox sub-folder with a WorkSite folder. You can take an email folder, click a button to link it to a worksite folder and synch the two folders. After moving an email into the outlook folder, they will be filed into WorkSite. A copy stays in the folder as a convenience copy. It is not clear if the purge and filing works in these folders. It is an interesting direction, but will depend on execution.
Offsite 8.5 allows you take matter workspaces or individual folders with you. You can pick the container. The synchronization takes place in the background. I have a lot of questions about how the documents are affected if multiple people access the documents and edit them in different places. If I have it offline and edit the document and someone is online and edits the documents, what happens and which version wins first. In the current version of WorkSite, only one person can access a document at a time. This offline mode seems to indicate that multiple people can edit the document, not knowing that other people are also editing the document. The audience had many questions and concerns about this feature. The Interwoven folks did not have a clear message or understanding of some of the issues and concerns.
Worksite 8.5 will bring improvements to Express Search. In the result set for Express Search, a mouseover will reveal more profile information about the document. They added intelli-type and recently used terms in the search. F2 will pull up the pop-up field for particular fields.
Next up was exploring some of the features of Vivisimo's Velocity 6.0 and how it may fit into WorkSite and Universal Search. This introduces things like ratings, tagging and annotations. [I previously expressed my excitement about this feature:Using Social Search to Drive Innovation through Collaboration and The Four Types of Search and Vivisimo's Social Search. No, I do not think lawyers will immediately jump on to these features. But from the knowledge management perspective, it will provide a great tool for highlighting the better content in the document management system. Even if only a few attorneys use these features it will have an enormous impact on the system and the return on documents. The ability to tag and annotate documents will be available in the underlying tools like MS Word. You also should be able to generate the usual 2.0 features like tag clouds. I am still excited about this feature and am looking forward to it coming out. You can also generate some reports with top tags and top taggers. These tags are one of the ways I see that we can get the document management system to be more effective on a precedent search.
Next up was the records management features. We do not use this and I do not particularly understand it. I admit that I am big ignorant on the needs of records management. I just want to be able find my stuff.
WorkSite 8.5 is scheduled for release in fourth quarter of 2008. Universal Search 6.0 with the social features is also scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2008. Hopefully, I will get them in my Christmas stocking.
Rafiq also mentioned Project Meritage which is the next generation of WorkSite. It would still be compatible with 8.5 clients. It will be compatible with Unicode, will improve compatibility, allow for consolidations and consolidate records, documents and images in a single server.
Three drivers for professional service firms: risks, client expectations and battle for talent. Interwoven wants to position itself as a productivity tool.
The strategy is to provide a complete solution to organize, find and govern information. Rafiq acknowledged that find or search was a weakness of their product, but the 8.3 release now turns it into one of their strengths.
The want to meet the ease of use expectations of Google. They are moving to a simple user interface, available in many devices. They also want to embed access to the Interwoven product in many platforms instead of having to go to a free-standing, separate program.
They also realize they need to scale up to handle many more documents. If they are going to be a repository for email, they realize that the number of emails will greatly exceed the number of documents. [Law firms are not ready to tackle Luis Suarez's reduction in email.]
Interwoven wants to focus on opening the platform to integrate with other applications and be able to support new applications without difficult development.
They gave a demo of email filing and management, in particular the send and file functions. Send and file really requires their matter centric environment to work. The presentation had two buttons with "send" and "send and file." With send and file, a screen pops up and asks for the client matter designation. Unfortunately, the file screen that pops up is terrible. It does give you the option to pull down a list of recent matters, the ability to just put in client matter numbers or send only. One nice feature is that a reply email has a "luggage tag" that designates where the original message came from. When you file the email, that tagged matter comes up automatically.
The email integration also allows you to keep courtesy copies in their inbox with a flag designating that the email has been filed in WorkSite. There is a button that purges all of the filed emails out of your inbox. (It is not clear if the purge only works on the inbox, or also in other email folders in exchange.)
One problem that pops up is that if the recipient is also on email management client, there will be competing "luggage tags" for the emails and the email chain. (ouch!)
They moved on to Interwoven Express Search. It is a floating toolbar that pops up with a simple "Google-ish" search box. It also returns results based on relevancy. There is also a query builder that you can pop-up to do an more advanced search by limiting the search results to particular fields.
The problem with the query builder is that they introduce some new terminology. We are used to limiting based on particular document types, Adobe, Word, PowerPoint, etc. They lump Office documents into one category. They also introduce the concept of "my stuff" and I am not sure what the definition of my stuff is. One problem we are having with 8.3 is that it does not seem to work well for searching for a document when you have the document ID.
Lastly, is onto Universal Search, powered by Vivisimo. This a great move forward on Interwoven's approach. I am a big fan of Vivisimo's approach of semantic clustering of results, along with the more straight-forward clustering of results based on hard-coded taxonomy. I have found the semantic clustering to be somewhat hit or miss. If the documents are rich in words you can get some interesting clusters. Otherwise the clusters can look very odd.
I very excited to see some graphical representations of some of the taxonomy. So you can see that a particular person is the author of most of the documents in the results. That starts exposing expertise.
The company is very strong financially. Joe presented great revenue numbers, great profits and other items of a solid financial position.
Seventy-one percent of the Global 100 firms are customers of Interwoven.
Interwoven's strategic vision:
- Best of breed in their markets - They want to be the best at what they do.
- Innovative leader - Listening and thinking outside the box
- Strategic partner
- Very focused businesses
Today, I am presenting on a customer case study on "Deploying WorkSite 8.3." Tuesday, I am on a panel with Andrew McAfee and Jason Lichter on "Serving Multiple Generations - The Role of Web 2.0 and Strategies for IT".
I will trying blogging my notes for the other sessions.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
For more information:
It was a good read, not as good at Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World or Salt: A World History, but it was good. This was one of the author's reasons for writing the book:
"For whatever reason, the usually forgotten toothpick came to my mind one day when I was searching for an engagingly simple device that would serve to illustrate some basic principles of engineering and design and that at the same time would help reveal the inevitable interrelationships between technology and culture."There was some fascinating history and information. According to the book, in the mid-1980's toothpicks were in 97 percent of American homes and that Americans consumed over million toothpicks each day.
Up next is The Fall of Troy by Peter Ackroyd. Here is the review from the New York Times that caught my attention.
Friday, May 16, 2008
A central theme was my C's of 2.0:
These are my notes on the second part of Shane's presentation on Library 2.0:
How have libraries reacted to the 2.0 movement? Let's look at how other industries have changed: Music industry, travel agencies, book stores, and newspapers are all trying to adjust to the increasing flow if information through the internet. Libraries are also being impacted. The number of visitors to libraries is decreasing. The number of reference requests has dropped dramatically and circulation statistics are down.
A lot of the impact is an impact from the internet. Libraries should compare the search of their catalogs to the Google search.
Libraries 2.0 = [book's stuff + people + radical trust] x participation
Get in the flow. Attention is scarce and resources are abundant. Get into the spaces where the users are. Trying stuff out is cheaper than deciding whether to try it.
Shane has built a plug into Amazon so that it shows that a book is in the U Minn library in the Amazon list. Shane is pushing RSS feeds out to users, including a users circulation. He has building widgets that users can plug into iGoogle and other widget compatible sites.
Libraries are pushing some photos out as a hosting site to display their photograph collection. Another was using flickr to publish book reviews.
He demonstrated McMaster University Library's Web team collection of links they share. MIT reference libraries are pulling delicious tags into their own website.
Shane showed the University of Alberta's Facebook application and Penn State University Libraries Search. They both tie into the library catalogs. Each had less than a 5 active users a day.
Shane pushed out a GreaseMonkey script that plugs into Amazon. If the book is in his catalog, that shows up in his search results. The script came out of the University of Seattle.
Shane started the UThink site that hosts the blogs at the University of Minnesota, the biggest blog collection at an educational institution.
In us new catalog, he returns results based on relevancy. There are also facets to filter the results to refine the result set. The catalog gives the users the ability to add tags to books and items. It seems like the knowledge management issues with enterprise search carry over to libraries. (The audience was very interested in this topic.)
Shane has done some great things with trying to integrate library information into the users workflow and sharing data, rather than keeping the information in a walled environment. At the end he encouraged the audience to play.
These are my notes on the first part of Shane's presentation on Web 2.0 and Library 2.0:
Shane started off with a look back at Web 1.0, when the idea was to move print media to the web. You could read and search, but you could not interact.
Shane moved on t0 social networking sites and showed us his MySpace page (largely unused) then to Facebook (used more). Privacy is an issue and librarians can help guide their users through these issues.
Next up was media sharing. YouTube exists solely because of the user contributions. The site owners are not creating the content. The content comes solely from the users.
Copyright is an issue with Web 2.0. This is another area that librarians can apply their skills.
On to social bookmarking and how librarians address folksonomy. He moved onto LibraryThing.com (My LibraryThing catalog). It has users and librarians adding content, tagging and maintaining.
On to the wisdom of the crowds and the centerpiece was Wikipedia. Although one person may not know everything, but collectively we do. Wikipedia is a useful social experiment in sharing and memorializing knowledge. The encouragement of contribution is one key to 2.0.
On to Twitter, Shane (@snackeru) showed the power of # hashtags and how they can used in sites like Twemes. (Here is the Mall08).
Next up is Shane's second presentation focused on Library 2.0.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Then, I am off to Minnesota to speak to the Minnesota Association of Law Librarians:An Attorney's Perspective on Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0
The growing use and acceptance of these tools in the legal industry is changing the ways lawyers practice, communicate, capture information and FIND information. We’ll get the perspective of an experienced lawyer and Knowledge Management practitioner when Doug Cornelius shows us how he uses these tools in everyday practice.
Then, I am off to Georgia to be part of a panel with Andrew McAfee at the Interwoven Legal I.T. Leadership Summit:Serving Multiple Generations: Role of Web 2.0 and Strategies for I.T.
Today's workforce includes three or four generations of professionals, each with different motivations, expectations, and ways of learning, thinking, and working especially the newest generation. How do these younger associates work? What tools and processes do they prefer to use over the course of a day, and why? How do blogs, wikis, and social networking applications like Facebook apply to business in general and to legal in particular? Which aspects of Web 2.0 will have enduring value and be transformative, and which are likely to fade away? Do they really offer new potential for user-driven applications that do not require I.T. intervention or for engaging clients in new ways? What are the risk management implications? Is it possible to maintain standards and achieve economies of scale while servicing every part of the generational spectrum? An industry expert followed by moderated discussion helps attendees understand and debate how to develop I.T. strategies that straddle multiple generations and explores the reality and potential of Web 2.0 for the legal industry.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
They call their product Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) and distinguish it from Client Relationship Management (CRM) products. I have posted about my dissatisfaction with CRM systems: CRM in Law Firms, Is CRM Worth It? The Pros and Cons of Client Relationship Management. The problem is that they do not add much value to the lawyer so there is little incentive for them to add and maintain the information in the CRM system.
Contact Networks mines information from email traffic, address books, calendar, the CRM system and other available data sources. In particular, it matches an email domain to database of companies. So it knows that an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, is an email to someone at Goldman Sachs. Using that email address they match the contact information to the CRM system or the contacts to flush out the name, title and other information.
They crunch all of the contact information, the frequency of email communication, and some other information to determine the strength of the relationship between someone inside the firm and an external contact.
Contact Networks provides a simple, "Google-ish" interface to search for who inside the firm knows a particular person outside the firm or who inside the firm has contacts at a particular company. That is a question that passes through my email system dozens of times a day. InterAction was set up to try to answer the question. But InterAction relies on attorneys adding contact information and dealing with its kludgey interface. Contact Networks also goes farther than showing Who Knows Who to showing How Well Who Knows Who.
When seeing the relationship, it displays what data is part of the relationship: emails, contact card, InterAction entry, etc. This exposes some interesting information. A large amount of email traffic goes out to people that are not in your address book. Looking back at my recent traffic, I agree that the proposition is completely true. I am just as lazy and time-pressured as anyone else. I often will just hit reply all and not bother adding the contacts into my address book. Rich threw out a number of 70% of email traffic recipients not being a person's address book. A benefit of Contact Networks is that it can match the email address and email traffic from one person to someone else's contact card or InterAction information for that person. I may just be hitting reply all. But if my junior associate has entered that person's contact information, Contact Networks will match the contact information to the email address.
Contact Networks also has a compilation of Standard Industry Codes for the companies so you can associate the contact with an industry. The you can search for contacts in a particular industry and see who in the firm knows the person and how well they know the person.
Contact Networks is not trying to position itself as an alternative to InterAction or CRM, but as a complement. Contact Networks is able to pull in lots more information than InterAction can get on its own. Bu Contact Networks does not have the management and control features of InterAction to track information and catalog it.
Obviously, Contact Networks focused on alleviating concerns of privacy. First, they do not look at the contents of the email. They just grab the address, date and frequency of email contact. You can also allow users to opt-out, you can allow users to apply a private label to exclude the contact information and you can limit who has access to the ERM information.
The great thing about Contact Networks is that it requires no user input. It harvest everything from existing inputs in other processes and systems. It has a simple user interface, so training is a few minutes or a simple email instruction.
Tom Baldwin has been telling me to bring in Contact Networks for months. I am glad I finally did.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The post is an excellent primer on the basics of knowledge management.
- It starts with people and leaders
- A changing landscape requires strategic reassessment
- Strategic elements
- Strategic intent
- Firm culture
- Client access and services
- Implementation elements
- Practice planning and support
- Technology platforms and systems
- Audit and process
For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, you can think of it as a combination of blogging and instant messaging. Each post or tweet is limited to 140 characters so you can send tweets by text message. Like most social media, it is cheap (free and currently free of advertising) and very easy to use (there are only a few buttons).
Steve Matthews wrote a great post on an intro to Lawyer Marketing with Twitter. Kevin O'Keefe followed that up with his own perspective and success stories in Lawyer Marketing with Twitter Has Arrived.
Like both Steve and Kevin, I've had a few Twitter moments and find it useful to engage people through this communications platform. In this era of new ways to communicate beyond email, Twitter is a great avenue to communicate and share information.
Rather than duplicating what Steve and Kevin said about Twitter (you should go read both stories), I have two additional features that I like about Twitter.
First, it is very compatible with other platforms. The flow of tweets is available through RSS. For example, Twitter ties into Facebook and updates my Facebook status. I have a Twitter widget on this blog showing my most recent tweets. I also have a Twitter widget running on my intranet page.
Second, tweets are indexed and returned by internet searches. All of that good stuff in my tweets, gets returned in a Google search, just like posts on this blog. You are sharing beyond the Twitter universe.
To learn more about Twitter there is a great video from Common Craft, Twitter Explained. Once you join Twitter, feel free to follow me on Twitter: @dougcornelius.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
The book followers a group of growers in Rhode Island in their pursuit to grow enormous pumpkins to win pumpkin growing contests, to break the world record and to reach the 1500 pound benchmark.
[They] belong to a special breed of gardeners that compete to grow the largest flowers, fruits and vegetables they possibly can. At the end of every season, special events are held where the botanical marvels are weighed and measured and prizes handed out. Thus, the world has been gifted with its first 269-pound watermelon, a 124-pound cabbage, a 24-pound tomato and a carrot nearly 17 feet long. It is pumpkins, thought, that have taken center stage. No other vegetable or fruit grows that big, that fast.This was a great story and was very enjoyable to read. Yes, it is on a quirky topic. But the story of hard work and sacrifice is as true for these competitors as it is for any others.
Next on my list is The Toothpick: Technology and Culture by Henry Petroski. Here is the New York Times Book Review that caught my attention to the book: Consider the Toothpick.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Abby started off with her take on what is Web 2.0. She included the usual suspects of blogs, wikis, user comments, discussions, ratings and rankings, community contact tools, file sharing, federated search and mashups. She pointed out that this is not the right way to present Web2.0. Her take is creating an efficient, resourceful and engaged communities of interest.
How has Web2.0 changed knowledge management?
- Facilitate, don't manage. You have been willing to let go. Remove control.
- Higher value knowledge is smaller, flatter and broader in scope. Small chunks of information.
- Reduces overhead. The capture, catalog and distribution of KM can be part of ordinary work activities
Abby focused on the importance of social networks outside the hierarchy of a firm's structure. This recognition of social networks was especially important during a merger. It was key to keep those social and communications channel open. She also emphasized that employee profiles should be opened up for employees to add content. HR could not effectively add enough information.
Abby laid out some hard benefits:
- improved work quality and cycle time
- improve employee access to employee expertise
- improve usefulness of public (intranet content)
- speed time from question to answer
- employee engagement and retention
- informal knowledge transfer is cheaper and more effective than formal training
- recognize key players in informal knowledge-sharing networks
- much more effective than handing out company swag
-Picture on the front page of the intranet was one of best rewards in a poll of employees (more so than cash).
- corporate compliance
- Automate governance and document business process
- if information is more available outside the company then they will go there instead of your internal sources
- better to have employees using an internal social network and keep the information inside the firewall, rather than all of that information and communication happening outside
How do you validate the information if you are not reviewing information before it is published? People are using inaccurate information already: outside sources, email notes that are now outdated, etc. It is easier to monitor and address bad information if it is in a public space.
How do you deal with personal opinions? - Opinions are knowledge. You need to stop bad behavior. Abby's example: are you worried about employees in your lobby pushing each other around.
Chris took over to talk about the GoLightly products and their upcoming webinars.
It gives you everything you need to get your online community up and running. Includes: Community Home Page (easy to update), Searchable Member Directory, Unlimited Groups, Unlimited Email Lists, Resource Library, Forums/Bulletin Boards, Unlimited Blogs, Unlimited Wikis, and Training. And all of this with your Branding!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
"I wanted to build on that by pointing to the shift during the life span of knowledge management from the "chunked" material of case studies and best-practice documents to the unstructured, fragmented and finely granular material that pervades the blogosphere. So when I was asked to contribute this column to KMWorld magazine, it seemed an appropriate title; it allows me to talk about not only trends in technology but also social issues, the scientific use of narrative, and to fire off the odd invective about over-constrained and over-controlled systems."Since I started following the Enterprise 2.0 movement, I have shifted my philosophy of knowledge management. I fall pretty close to Dave's position.
"It’s not natural to chunk up material, to make it context specific; it is natural to share, blend and create fragmented material based on thoughts and reflections as we carry out tasks or engage in social interaction."Structured systems of knowledge and precedent are still useful. But, as Dave Weinberger points out in Everything is Miscellaneous, everyone has a different view on what the structure should be. Whatever taxonomy I create or a group decides upon, it will only be meaningful to some of the people some of the time. As the taxonomy gets more and more complex, the less useful it will be.
On many knowledge management projects, people ask for a very structured way of organizing content. Inevitably, they query the system for something that is outside the structure they requested.
The improved power of search, adding metadata and adding user comments have changed the way we should approach knowledge management.
If you are a KM practitioner I am sure you have received a request for matching the Google search. There is only one field to enter information; you just type in a few words. Obviously, the Google page rank algorithm is unique to the web and does not work well inside the enterprise.
We need a way to manipulate the search results inside the enterprise and add more context to our internal nodes of information. Google does this by interpreting links to the nodes of information (webpages). We KM practitioners need some way to replicate this ability to add metadata to our knowledge artifacts. We need to better describe them, attribute authorship, rate them and add notes to them.
That is one of the reasons that I am enthusiastic about products like Vivisimo's social search. [Using Social Search to Drive Innovation through Collaboration][The Four Types of Search and Vivisimo's Social Search].
Structured systems of knowledge and precedent are very useful for law firms. As law firms we need to highlight the better forms and precedents for reuse. I believe we need to rethink how they are highlighted, where they are stored and what people can do with them to keep them organized. Organized in a way that is meaningful to each individual.
Joining social networks does not cost you anything other than a few minutes to register and add your information. You may find it interesting. Even if you do not find it interesting today, you may find it interesting in the near future.
Claim you name on these social network sites. Even if you do not use them actively, you can generally point a lot of information at them from other collections.
Even if you have a fairly unique name like my name, there are still others out there with the same name. When I first became Doug 2.0 and started my online presence, "Doug Cornelius" was mostly about the Yuba College basketball coach. Since then, the top 20 search results in Google for Doug Cornelius all point to me. (At least as of this morning for my search).