I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about email recently and I mean a LOT! I’ve concluded I hate the stuff, both on a personal level and on an enterprise level. It’s like sand, it gets everywhere and you can’t get rid of the stuff. And even if you put it in a sandbox, you’re still finding the stuff all over your feet and clothes for days.
The worst thing is that email plays to our natural instinct to hoard. We actively go and collect the stuff. Then we keep hold of it for years! I know of lawyers who have mailboxes running in the Gb’s and have inboxes with tens of thousands of items in them. I remember doing a rollout in 2005 and noticing PST’s in lawyers mailboxes going back to the early 1990’s!
Make Your IT Department a Revenue Generator
If you saw a hundred-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk with no one around, would you pick it up? Maybe/maybe not, depending on how much of a Boy or Girl Scout you are. Now what if you knew that money was actually yours and you had dropped it yourself without realizing it – would you pick it up then? Of course you would!
Think of this - you didn’t have to work any extra hours for that hundred dollars – it is quite literally found money, rightfully yours, which you weren’t ever going to see again unless you went back and picked it up. What if you were given the same opportunity to find money for your law firm by leveraging certain kinds of technology - wouldn’t you seek those tools out? Of course you would.
Workspaces. They’ve been around for quite a while and I’ve thought about doing a post on what they are since starting the blog. The aim being to try and easily explain the concept of workspaces and libraries within the Autonomy iManage WorkSite document management system (DMS). So basically removing the tech speak and explaining what they are in “real life” terms. I was going to title this post “The Dummies guide to Workspaces”, but apart from possibly getting sued for copyright infringement I figured the concept of Workspaces and libraries are terms that to be fair aren’t that easy to grasp. So, here it is. Let me know in the comments if it hits the mark.
It’s a simple set of instructions, really. I suspect you can find it on bottles in every household around the world. They are easy to follow (so easy apparently they actually don’t even appear on the shampoo bottles we use for the children - I checked) they vary slightly (on my wife’s bottle they recommend you follow on with the high end conditioner by the same company) One might even say they are timeless. Which in turn, begs the question, when do you stop? If you take them literally, you’d run out of shampoo every time you washed your hair. Of course, common sense tells you to stop sometime before you empty the bottle, but when exactly have you reached your goal? When have you solved your problem?
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!
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