Thursday, January 29, 2009

Autonomy Technical Information

Although we should not expect too much detailed information on product integration, roadmaps, etc until the deal is complete (thought to be Q2 2009), the obvious expectation is that the Interwoven document management system will be powered by the Autonomy IDOL search engine rather than the existing Verity or future Velocity (Vivisimo) products.

For those of you who want to review technical product information on the Autonomy IDOL product in the interim, and in preparation for the expected change, these technical documents may assist.

Autonomy Technology Whitepaper
Additional Technical Whitepapers (including security and MS SharePoint items)
IDOL 7 Server Technical Brief
IDOL Mobile Edition
IDOL Answer Product Brief
IDOL Echo Proactive Legal Protection Product Brief
Autonomy Taxonomy Generation Product Brief
Autonomy Taxonomy Libraries Product Brief

Also in preparation for a new set of terms and phrases, we should all start to get used to terms such as IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer) and MBS (Meaning-Based Computing).

Here is an early interview from August 2006 found within where Autonomy founder Mike Lynch describes the theory of Meaning-Based Computing, and this link takes you to a pod cast from 2006 with Mike Lynch, Professor Kevin Werbach from Wharton and Knowledge at Wharton editor Mukul Pandya. Another article from the Wired archives on the topic can be sourced here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Latest Recommind Enterprise Search Version Released

Recommind's latest Enterprise Search (MindServer) product version has been released this week. See here for further details.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

You look a little sad and down this Friday? What's the matter? The global financial crisis bugging you? Oh stop it. Here is something we've picked out of the bottom drawer to show you again just to cheer you up today (and to make you whistle while you work).

Remember this - if life seems jolly rotten, then there's something you've forgotten, and that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing!

We're not letting it get us down. What did you think we would do - change the name of the Friday posting from "Friday's Cocktail Leadership" to "Friday's Shared Can of Pre-Mixed Homebrand Spirits & Cola"?!?

Anyway...Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to work! What did Santa (that's "Father Christmas" to all you posh folk) bring you?

In 2009 we pinky promise to continue being your optimistic and bouncy little pups in the world of law firm IT and KM. We'll keep serving our clients as best we know how - with experience, trust and expertise.

Our next Friday Cocktail Leadership posting will have lots of information about how we spent our time at the end of 2008, and tips to help you look on the bright side of life. Now go and have a cocktail and feel good about the fact that your spending is improving the economy.

We're thinking of buying a tank...

Law Firm Technology News - Autonomy Makes Interwoven Bid

Autonomy has agreed to purchase Interwoven for $775 million. The deal is due to be completed by Q2 2009.

As the news is hot off the press, we have no confirmed information to hand as to how this impacts the enterprise search market, the Interwoven Universal Search product powered by Interwoven product partner Vivisimo, or the possibility of the (re)introduction of the Verity product (owned by Autonomy) into the Interwoven DMS.

This news (and the subsequent position of Interwoven/Autonomy on product integration and roadmaps) will need to be considered by those firms who are reviewing their options at present in relation to search.

We'll be working with the management of the companies concerned to clarify the various issues and positions for our clients in the coming days and weeks. More to follow.

Keep an eye on the community comments on Charles' site here for further postings from users in the UK market on this, and also on the corporate sites here and here.

There is also an impact on the Litigation Support markets given that Interwoven own DataMining and Autonomy owns Introspect.

Monday, January 19, 2009

SharePoint Advice

Although the Knowledge Thoughts blog no longer has contributions or involvement from the original creator Matthew Parsons, there is still some highly valuable technical content which occasionally is posted - see this latest one in particular if you are a law firm IT or KM Systems team who are currently (or considering) developing in MS SharePoint.

As these posts are now written exclusively by an IT developer they are less relevant to the KM purists who followed the Parsons postings and strategic input. What remains however is indeed particularly relevant for IT developers out there looking for hints and tips on MS SharePoint.

The author (who had worked for a few years in legal, but who now has moved out and into the IT team at an accounting firm) does a solid job of sourcing and supplying links to relevant third party content and other blogs on the topic.

2009 Legal Technology Awards London

The count down is on for the international Legal Technology Awards event in London next week (January 29th 2009). OK, so it is not as exciting as a US Presidential Inauguration, but in that little niche which is international Legal IT it is a big deal each year.

Although there has been some concerns about the costs associated with attending such an event at a time when IT an KM budgets are shrinking, there is still great interest with organisers expecting another sold out event.

Concerns have also been raised about the number of awards, with 20 separate categories being created this year (which makes for a long night as we discovered last year). Thankfully the vendor awards are last - by the time these start to be announced the attention span of the audience (with the exception of the vendor personnel of course) has turned away from the stage.

Simmons & Simmons and Ashursts are front runners with multiple nominations, with Bird & Bird also worthy contenders for the IT Team of the Year award. Our friends at LDM are yet again up there showing a level of consistency over the years rarely seen.

Although one or two award 'regulars' can still clearly be seen on the short list, it is great to see newcomers edging out these out as the community becomes tired of the traditional award 'collectors' over time.

The full details of the short list can be found

No APAC firms are represented in the 'real' awards this year (although Thomson have submitted a self nomination citing the Maurice Blackburn project). This lack of entries is a move away from the norm and something which we trust will be rectified in 2010. Few US firms made the cut either this year.

Good luck to all, and special Janders Dean wishes to the Sam Suri table (which we hear will be the most coveted seats in the house)!

ILTA Update

For those in the APAC region who are members (or interested in becoming members) of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), Miles Ashcroft of Freehills will be taking over the leadership of this group.

We look forward to an informative series of law firm technology educational and networking events in 2009 from ILTA and encourage all to join this unique peer to peer network.

In addition to the domestic events which will be undertaken this year, ILTA also offers a series of international events and webinars, a massive repository of research information relevant to the IT and KM Department, and a vendor-free peer-to-peer forum for Q&A which reaches across the globe.

At the annual ILTA Conference in the US last year, Janders Dean DMS design client Gilbert+Tobin was placed as a short listed finalist of three firms around the world for the ILTA Interwoven Design Awards for their matter centric implementation.

Redundancies - KPMG's London Approach

Although not seen yet (publicly) in the legal industry, professional services cousin KPMG (UK) has created a buzz with their approach to reducing headcount costs in the UK. The firm has approached their 11,000 UK staff with options including taking a four day working week or taking sabbatical on 30% pay. The hope is that volunteers will emerge and allow the firm to avoid a forced redundancy approach.

This is a positive approach which allows the firm to temporarily cut costs while also keeping staff in preparation for the recovery, rather than chopping wildly to rapidly reduce costs and leaving themselves venerable when the economy recovers.

Apart from the general attractive nature of time away from the office, this will be an valuable proposition for some professionals, and will be ideal for those who have been looking for the opportunity to undertake self funded further education or to contribute to the community.

Perhaps an approach which the law firm cousins can learn from and adopt?

New Magic Circle Global CIO - Freshfields

After almost a quarter of a century at the firm, David Hamilton is leaving Freshfields, and the firm announced this week that they have created a new role at the firm. Paul Domnick (previously with Zurich Financial Services) takes up the new role of Global CIO (rather than David Hamilton's role of 'Head of IT Department').

See story from original LegalWeek source

In other Legal IT leadership news, Martin Telfer was been appointed the Global CIO of Baker McKenzie (to be based in Chicago) towards the end of 2008, with Sydney based Brent Snow taking the regional management role left vacant by Telfer's promotion.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

White & Case - A New Global CKO

The remarkable Oz Benamram (previous guru of all things KM at Morrison & Foerster) has been appointed the new global CKO at White & Case. A great move for Oz, and an even better move for White & Case.

For those of you have not had the pleasure, take a look at some of Oz's pioneering work with Enterprise Search and Expertise Location

Reducing Operating Costs - Lovells Pilots Outsourcing

UK firm Lovells is piloting a new document production outsourcing deal with a South African provider in an attempt to reduce operating costs.

The interesting piece in this story is the preference for South Africa over the traditional India choice - with the firm stating that time zones was the determining factor.

See story

London Burning - UK Law Firm Redundancies

The Lawyer magazine has published their list of firms' redundancy numbers (including those in consultation). The number is a frightening 2,209. Keep in mind though that this number is for the entire year of 2008, and not a number from the past month or two.

We're not sure how accurate these figures are; however after spending the majority of the final quarter of 2008 in London, we can assure all that it is not the city to be in. See
here for the chart.

Of those on the list, Clifford Chance has been the most talked about in the media, and also the most open with the press and staff about their intentions. The current number of non-partner fee earners up for consultation is quoted at 880. Support staff numbers are set to be announced within weeks.

Although the fear is in the City that other major firms will follow close on the heels of Clifford Chance with lawyer redundancies, Legal Week magazine has run with an article which states that few will be doing so immediately. See
here for the story.

The Clifford Chance news is in addition to the firm calling in some GBP60 million of capital from partners (an average of GBP150,000 per partner), and this week announcing a potential profit fall of 30%. Such a fall will once again take the average PPEP down to under the GBP1 million level (not seen since 2005-06 when the average PPEP was down to a non-magic GBP810,000 level).

Cadwalader's London office is also not a happy place, with news today that seven London partners walked out the doors this week. Expect more tragic tales of loss in the coming weeks and months from others in the City.

Obviously it is not all doom and gloom - the loss of many high street retailers has created more work than some practice groups can handle.

Ashurst is the most recent of firm to announce a recent win in this area after furniture retailer Land of Leather fell into administration. Takeover related business is also set to start kicking in as the cashed up sharks circle the poorly performing and injured businesses across Europe. Both Freshfields and Norton Rose have witnessed this first hand with the GBP8.5 billion takeover of Dutch utility company Essent by German rival RWE.

...and of course there is always one person with a
smile no matter what happens.