Enterprise Content Management combines hardware, software, infrastructure and process enabling an organization to store, manage and access information generated throughout the organization, without regard to its form or source. How do intranets, portals and SharePoint aid in these efforts? Learn strategies firms can use to enhance relevance and usability of these tools so attorneys and other timekeepers develop trust in the information produced, and how firms can use these tools to get the right information to the right people at the right time for better business decisions and more effective client service.
- James Tuvell – Fox Rothschild LLP
- Catherine Monte – Fox Rothschild LLP
- Ellen Duff – Winston + Strawn LLP
- Shy Alter – ii3
Enterprise content management is focused on the process of publishing information into a public space. It involves the creation, editing, publishing and updating of content inside the law firm. A huge part of knowledge management is about the collecting organizing and disseminating explicit knowledge. The technology is the piece in disseminating that explicit knowledge.
But why is enterprise content management becoming a hot topic? There are better front-end channels pushing information. People are expecting a better delivery of information.
One issue is self-publishing. You need to find a way to get lawyers to create and publish content.
Shy started off the session with interviews of several people related to the topics and issues of enterprise content management.
Catherine presented a case study with their use of SharePoint. Catherine defines ECM as collecting information, organizing information and publishing it in a way that makes sense to consumer of that information. ECM=Knowledge Management + Information management. The focus is on efficiency.
You want to reduce redundant data entry, end-user search time, and confusion is selecting different sources of information .
ECM is about software. But is also about knowing the workflow of your people, where the information is being stored and how people are using the information.
One key to success is how to get the attorneys to trust the system. Jim mapped out some key elements to developing trust in the system.
- Relevancy – information on the page is relevant to me
- Usability – laziness, we need to get to information quickly and easily
They rolled out practice specific pages for practice groups. They have gatekeepers for content being published into the Sharepoint intranet.
They are looking to industry focused pages. This would be focused around awareness and news feeds on the relevant topics.
The firm has rolled out a personalization of the intranet. They push out a selection of suggested sites, based on their practice, such as practice area sites and external sites. They pull relevant information out of subsites and push it to the person’s home page.
They are using the MySite as the firm directory. They have shut off the customization, but they are using webparts to pull information from other systems onto the MySite for the person.
They broke the navigation from the firm structure. They use a flat list of departments and practices rather than a hierarchical structure. Users found the hierarchical view too hard to navigate.
Next, Ellen spoke about her and her firm’s experience. She started with a view of the lawyer’s task starting with a client question and moving on to how a lawyer gathers the information the lawyer needs to answer the question. One key is trying to get internal and external information tied together. There is an incentive for lawyers to publish to the internal collection, which then gets pushed out to the external site. This is a particularly effective approach for marketing oriented lawyers.
My Take: My problem with the panelists’ approach is that I am focused more opening up the publishing process. I do not want anyone to have to to KM or IT to publish information on our intranet. These are just barriers to contribution. I have been advocating to open out intranet even more. Of course the key to this is being able to monitor the content as it is added and changes. Since our intranet is based on Sharepoint 2007, the blogs, wikis, lists and other collections have an alert feature associated with them.
I am trying to shift the firm from “ask for permission” to “ask for forgiveness.” At the same time, moving it from a “need to know culture” to a “need to share culture.” I do not think that enterprise content management fits into my approach of collecting my firm’s knowledge.