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The State of Microsoft’s Matter Center (Part II)

Keith VallelyQuietly seeing Explosive Growth in Legal (part 2 of 2)

This is part II of Keith Vallely's story about the current state of Microsoft's Matter Center. Part 1 was published last week and can be found here.

When deploying a Matter Center instance, the technology partner must consult with their client and determine how much data is to be captured before Matter/Project creation, and what is to be used for document metadata tags, and what is to be used for reporting purposes.  

In Corporate Legal environments, reporting that is easy to access, and simple to collect, that is tied directly to the matters they are working on is very hard to come by.  With the Matter Center, this issue is put to bed easily.

Of course, the screen you see above in most cases going to be “too much” for a typical enduser at a firm to fill out.  So more common deployments will utilize simpler matter creation screens where users can determine if a Microsoft Team is to be created along with the Matter/Project, as well as if the Matter/Project is to be kept private, which is to create it with a restricted access model.  Where does the security models, users, and the like come from?  Active Directory or SharePoint security, which again means the internal IT Departments of the enterprises that utilize the Matter Center do not have to worry if there is a ‘third party’ security model.  The beauty of the Matter Center is that it is Microsoft developed and so its functionality and capabilities are based and rely on other, ubiquitous Microsoft technologies.    Here are two examples of Matter and Project creation screens (click to enlarge):


The second screen shot is not a “legal” but a Non-Legal Enterprise that utilizes the Matter Center to create “WorkSpace/Project Sites”, where the forms and functions are identical but the nomenclature is replaced with non-legal nomenclature.  This makes the Matter Center the single most powerful “site creation” utility in the SharePoint world.  With it, firms and businesses can have “any kind” of SharePoint structure because the Matter Center can be customized to suit the needs of the client.

Looking forward, what is next for the Matter Center software development?  Once the Matter Center became open source, its direction became driven by the users of SharePoint, the Legal and Non-Legal communities, and what they seek in Matter/Content management.  I believe this is what Microsoft may have had in mind but didn’t know how to get there using their very big foot print.  From what Microsoft Professionals tell me, they are not in the business of verticals.  They are the horizontal company.

They make software for every business.  And if you click that Waffle in Office365 it becomes clear as to their intentions.  Microsoft intends to be the next utility that we all pay rent to, just like cableTV and Water.  They were looking to give the legal vertical the tools they needed to build up and into the Office365 cloud.  The Matter Center does exactly that.  At Epona, we have over 500 in production Matter Center firms and companies, and the numbers of clients continues to expand, as does the business kinds and types of deployments, due in part to the immense flexibility of Office365 and the Matter Center.  If I were a gambler, I would bet that Office365 will replace the legacy DMS platforms one by one.  Why? Because the Matter Center deployments themselves drive the core use, which leads to fully taking advantage of the platform that sits in nearly every Fortune 1000 and AMLAW 200 firms desktop, the Office365 cloud…which is currently massively under-utilized.

Keith has worked in the legal technology/software industry since 2003. Before joining Epona USA in 2011, Keith was the Vice President of sales for GDSI (an iEnvision Company) and DocAuto, Inc.  Initially a technical sales professional, Vallely has expanded his expertise to include deep SharePoint and Office365 experience (translatable to the non-IT professional) including DMS design, Document Management Systems, and SharePoint Training knowledge.   Vallely holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago.

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