Leveraging SharePoint to Improve Firm Performance with Expert Portal

  • Tom Jones, Director – Product Marketing of Aderant
  • Tim Kenney, VP Business Development of Handshake Software
  • Michael Green, IT Director of Nixon Peabody LLP

Expert Portal is designed to be the “home page” for professionals and their clients. Handshake’s Relationship Toolkit combines the information from CRM, Aderant Expert, DMS, HR System and SharePoint content.

The session moved on to a case study from Nixon Peabody LLP. They spend a lot of money on technology because they think it increases productivity and gives them a competitive advantage. They really want to create an environment the conducive to sharing, using and reusing knowledge. They also want to improve communication and collaboration.

Their short term goal was to create a more user friendly environment that addresses the requirement for information sharing and collaboration. The longer term goal was to focus on improving internal processes, decision making and aggregation of data.

He prioritized the projects based on a matrix, charting business impact against ease of implementation.

Mike moved on to a demo of his MySite, which contains:

  • Attorney’s matters
  • Attorney’s clients
  • Attorney’s hours
  • Office weather
  • Matter Billing Attorney’s AR and WIP
  • Recent documents
  • My links
  • My extranets
  • Link to the Wall Street Journal . com
  • Partner news
  • Firms news

The my site has a collection of webparts to add. The collection looks a lot like the iGoogle collection of widgets. This collection was custom built by Nixon Peabody. Not allow of them are strictly business oriented. They included things like sports scores. This strategy was done to attract users and get their attention. He allows the users to move the webparts around on the page. Some webparts are locked in place and the user cannot move them or remove them. So every attorney’s MySite will have business content.

They partnered with Recommind for the search, replacing the native SharePoint search.

They have knowledge liaisons that vet documents. Attorneys send them good precedents. The liaisons review the documents and rate them and summarize to affect their search results and document display. They have a user rating system, that allows multiple ratings available for each document.

Each matter has a matter system. Within the list of people who have worked on the matter, there is presence awareness.

Nixon Peabody uses extranets extensively. They give them a particular look and feel and brand specific to the client.

The portal demonstration was based on SharePoinit 2003. They have no current plan to move to Sharepoint 2007. [Like my firm, it likes like they have lot invested in 2003. That makes it hard to “migrate” to 2007.]

Their rollout strategy was office by office and floor by floor. They sent trainers to each attorney’s office to show them the portal and how to add and use the webparts.

Strategies for Success:

  • Executive Support
  • Vision – Be able to articulate where you want to go.
  • Planning – Develop a roadmap on that you plan to do and outline what you are not going to do.
  • Governance – Develop a cross-functional team with ownership across the organization.
  • Marketing – Make proactive efforts.
  • Simplicity – Make it easy to train and easy to support.
  • Incentives -KM is supported by financial incentives.

As part of the attorneys business plan, they require the attorneys to set a benchmark for how many documents they are going (a) to add to the portal/precedent collection and (b) review and rate. Management tracks this information.

The value: “Information in the context of other information, naturally linked and highly relevant.”

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