Interwoven Roadmap, Strategy & Vision for 2008 and Beyond

Rafiq Mohammadi the CTO of Interwoven was the presenter for this session.

Three drivers for professional service firms: risks, client expectations and battle for talent. Interwoven wants to position itself as a productivity tool.

The strategy is to provide a complete solution to organize, find and govern information. Rafiq acknowledged that find or search was a weakness of their product, but the 8.3 release now turns it into one of their strengths.

The want to meet the ease of use expectations of Google. They are moving to a simple user interface, available in many devices. They also want to embed access to the Interwoven product in many platforms instead of having to go to a free-standing, separate program.

They also realize they need to scale up to handle many more documents. If they are going to be a repository for email, they realize that the number of emails will greatly exceed the number of documents. [Law firms are not ready to tackle Luis Suarez’s reduction in email.]

Interwoven wants to focus on opening the platform to integrate with other applications and be able to support new applications without difficult development.

They gave a demo of email filing and management, in particular the send and file functions. Send and file really requires their matter centric environment to work. The presentation had two buttons with “send” and “send and file.” With send and file, a screen pops up and asks for the client matter designation. Unfortunately, the file screen that pops up is terrible. It does give you the option to pull down a list of recent matters, the ability to just put in client matter numbers or send only. One nice feature is that a reply email has a “luggage tag” that designates where the original message came from. When you file the email, that tagged matter comes up automatically.

The email integration also allows you to keep courtesy copies in their inbox with a flag designating that the email has been filed in WorkSite. There is a button that purges all of the filed emails out of your inbox. (It is not clear if the purge only works on the inbox, or also in other email folders in exchange.)

One problem that pops up is that if the recipient is also on email management client, there will be competing “luggage tags” for the emails and the email chain. (ouch!)

They moved on to Interwoven Express Search. It is a floating toolbar that pops up with a simple “Google-ish” search box. It also returns results based on relevancy. There is also a query builder that you can pop-up to do an more advanced search by limiting the search results to particular fields.

The problem with the query builder is that they introduce some new terminology. We are used to limiting based on particular document types, Adobe, Word, PowerPoint, etc. They lump Office documents into one category. They also introduce the concept of “my stuff” and I am not sure what the definition of my stuff is. One problem we are having with 8.3 is that it does not seem to work well for searching for a document when you have the document ID.

Lastly, is onto Universal Search, powered by Vivisimo. This a great move forward on Interwoven’s approach. I am a big fan of Vivisimo’s approach of semantic clustering of results, along with the more straight-forward clustering of results based on hard-coded taxonomy. I have found the semantic clustering to be somewhat hit or miss. If the documents are rich in words you can get some interesting clusters. Otherwise the clusters can look very odd.

I very excited to see some graphical representations of some of the taxonomy. So you can see that a particular person is the author of most of the documents in the results. That starts exposing expertise.

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