HighQ Forum 2017: "HighQ can be your digital Lego"

Jonathan WatsonCollaborate 4.1 is now available, HighQ’s chief strategy officer Stuart Barr announced at the HighQ Forum held at BFI Southbank in London yesterday. The key new features of the firm’s flagship cloud collaboration platform include agile task management; DocuSign and Adobe Sign integration; iSheet drafts, auditing, versioning and row locking; and improvements to the Sites, Activity, Users and Files APIs.

Barr provided a demo of the DocuSign component, which he described as a ‘really nice, seamless process’. He also put the new tasks interface through its paces for the audience. Among other things, users can now add their own custom statuses to the module. They can also template their tasks. ‘Users could already export to Excel - now they can also import from Excel into any site,’ said Barr.

Row locking in iSheets means that if someone is working on a file, no one else can access it at the same time, so there is no risk of divergent versions being created. However, this feature, along with the API improvements, will only be available in a supplemental release, Collaborate 4.1.4. That is due to appear in about a month’s time.

Any users still on version 3 of Collaborate will be able to upgrade straight to 4.1 - there is no need to start with Collaborate 4.0, Barr said.

A new version of HighQ Drive, the application that allows users to have their personal work files stored in Collaborate synced to their PC or Mac, is also available now. New features include full native iPad support; slide over and split view support; an option to auto-update offline files; bug fixes and performance improvements; and support for the latest versions of Collaborate.

However, users will need to upgrade to Collaborate 4 to take advantage of this - it won’t work with version 3. 

Stuart BarrLooking further into the future, Barr said HighQ’s top priority would continue to be projects and processes. This means it will be focusing on the Files, Tasks, Calendar and iSheets modules in Collaborate. It will also be concentrating on task management (including boards, templates, calendars and custom statuses) and process automation (including workflow, report generation and analysis tools).

HighQ will also be looking to make greater use of artificial intelligence. ‘We want to build intelligence into our platform in a number of different ways,’ said Barr. AI can help users to derive insight and uncover correlations, trends and predictions. It can also help with document classification, clustering and text extraction, he said.

Apps and integration is another key focus for HighQ. ‘We need to remain an open platform with comprehensive, open APIs,’ said Barr. ‘A vibrant developer community is starting to grow.’

HighQ plans to deliver the next version of Collaborate, 4.2, in November or December 2017. The main elements that the company is working on for that release include dashboards and data visualisation; a document analysis dashboard, which represents HighQ’s first step into AI & machine learning; native file digital rights management; and APIs for Permissions, Tasks and iSheets. There will also be various improvements to Files and iSheets and an overhaul of Site Admin with full mobile support.

Collaborate 4.3 will include Workflow for iSheets, Tasks and Files; improved site and solution templates; Timeline view and checklists for Tasks; System Admin overhaul with reporting; an AI training interface and text extraction; and simultaneous editing in Microsoft Office 365.

Looking ahead, Barr said the company was also currently working on Android support for HighQ Drive; offline folder support for mobile apps; Microsoft Office integration for mobile apps; a doc auto toolbar for Word templates; and email filling directly within Outlook.

‘We’re trying to augment humans, not replace them,’ said Barr. ‘There is no such thing as a robot lawyer… yet. Augmenting people and processes will be our focus for the coming months and years.’

HighQ clients now include 72% of UK top 100 law firms; 40% of US top 100 firms; and 50% of global top 100 law firms. There are 44,000 organisations and 400,000 individuals using HighQ products.

Rob McAdam, group innovation manager at Pinsent Masons, provided one of the most striking images of the day when he compared HighQ Collaborate to a set of digital Lego. ‘Law firms need to create a culture of creativity and transformation and Collaborate is the best product to unleash lawyers’ creative potential,’ he said.

Barr liked the comparison so much, he borrowed it for his closing remarks. ‘HighQ can be your digital Lego,’ he said.


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