Cloud Computing, where you do not own the physical IT infrastructure and avoid capital expenditure by renting usage from a third-party provider, is a hot topic under consideration by many Managing Partners and IT Directors. Cloud services include such things as data storage, computer servers and software as a service (SaaS).
Software as a Service (SaaS) has been gaining a lot of ground in the last year or so and I am encountering many start up firms that have decided that this is by far the best source of applications for them. Established firms are pencilling into their diaries a review of resources with a view to moving to SaaS as their existing provision and support contracts wind down.
I attended the first day of London’s Legal IT Show last Wednesday. Although it is sometimes considered the poor relation of the more glamorous New York event, following last year’s diary clash, this year the events were a week apart, enabling the keenest legal IT followers to attend, present or exhibit at both – with time in between to travel/recover!
The weather was better too. Although there were a few flurries of snow in London, we had nothing like the white out which hit attendance rather hard in 2009. This year, although the event occupied a noticeably smaller area of London’s Business Design Centre and there were clearly fewer stands, attendance seemed to have improved on last year, with all seats taken at Speakers’ Corner for many of the sessions on the first day.
A friend of mine related this story from her son’s school. Apparently when he showed up to class there were Beanie Babies all over the place. His teacher then explained:
“Her group of second graders had come in earlier in the day and needed ‘something’ to do basic matching. She asked the second graders, out of the animals represented by the beanie babies, to each pick two that were the same.
Everyone started to make their pick and one of the little girls picked a lion and a duck. All the other children picked zebras and zebras or bears and bears. After their selection, the kids had to say why they picked their pair.
Two points struck me from findings in ILTA’s 2009 Technology Survey, at 42 of law firms: one about the shared challenges of providing technology to lawyers – inside or outside – and the other about overhead support for IT that legal departments often enjoy free of charge.
The law firms that responded to the ILTA survey chose from a list of the “top 3 biggest technology issues or annoyances within your firm.”
All interviews now available in one location
While at LegalTech, our columnist Christy Burke interviewed Legal IT heavyweights and asked them about their impression of this year’s show and their newest products. Listen to the short one-on-one interviews now.
A lawyer sits in an airport lounge, pulls out the iPad and connects to the firms document management system (DMS) through the Autonomy iManage App in the AppStore. She flicks through the correspondence folder, checks her teams filed emails and reads up on the clients comments to the agreement draft. She then decides to dictate some amendments to her secretary using the built-in microphone. Launching the agreement from the DMS, she highlights the paragraph needing amendment and also launches the BigHand dictation app ……
Great things often come in small packages, like the ignition key to a Ferrari, an engagement ring, a winning lottery ticket, or…an iPhone! The business of practicing law is being transacted more and more on handheld devices, cell phones and pocket computers. E-mails now deliver massive amounts of information onto Lilliputian-sized gadgets and this has become critically important to meeting client demands of 24/7 availability.
“I didn’t get the memo” has gone the way of “The dog ate my homework” as a valid excuse for not being informed. There are so many ways to be connected back to the office, even if you’re on a beach somewhere. While this phenomenon can be viewed as depressing for some, it can also be seen as a major plus and convenience. Perhaps it means that a beach could be in your future after all this winter!
As promised, here is the 4th part of my fall conference wrap-up. In this part I will take what I talked about in the previous 3 parts, and try to relate it to real world solutions.
Usability & Manageability
Obviously the changes to the UI in SharePoint 2010 are significant, and are the most noticeable change your users will see immediately. This should hopefully lead to better adoption by your users, and better productivity.
Happy New Year to you all!
Hope you had a good 2009 and I wish you all a great 2010. For me what better way to start the blog this year than conforming with a blogger tradition and compiling a list.
I thought I’d try a prediction of the technology areas that I will be big for Legal It in 2010, so here it is my top 5 list of legal IT technologies for 2010.
A return of the WorkSite hints and tips series to end 2009!
Following a question today I found a neat way of adding a shortcut to another folder from within your matter file. This is pretty straight forward when you think about it within WorkSite, but it’s worth noting as it’s always handy to be able to link to a folder of documents from within your electronic file (e.g. to link to common client documents within a client folder from within each matter file relating to that client).
Professional Developers Conference 2009
The Professional Developers Conference (PDC) is Microsoft’s big programmer event. Usually, this is where they announce major new products and technologies. For example, PDC 2003 was the first major public announcement of Windows Longhorn (which grew up to be Vista) and its underlying technologies. At last year’s PDC, Microsoft announced its cloud computing strategy, Windows Azure.
PDC09 was a little different. This year was more about fulfilling the vision. A number of new products are in late beta stages and approaching release:
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