Document Management for Law Firms

I have posted an article on March 24th, 2009 that was included in Technolawyer, an email newsletter for law firms. This article highlights the key document management applications and some key features when shopping for a DMS. I thought it was well written, objective and worth posting to our blog readers: Have you ever made a mistake or forgotten about something? If so, it's likely that your firm's manual system for storing and retrieving documents has caused you headaches thanks to misplaced documents, missing documents, misnamed documents, and many other mis-takes so to speak. You may benefit from a document management system (aka enterprise content management system), but where do you start? Earlier this year, legal technology consultant John Heckman penned a 25 page treatise on document management systems (DMS) for law firms. We asked him to distill the key points into two TechnoFeature articles. In Part 1 last week, John discussed the problems that a DMS addresses. Today in Part 2, you'll learn how to shop for and implement a DMS. This article contains 1,722 words.

SaaS, Cloud Computing and Security

I just read some good articles on the long term forecast of Cloud Computing on Wired's Portfolio.com site. the article highlights a key issue regarding the preceived fears of SaaS and security. In an ongoing survey conducted by the research firm IDC, almost 75 percent of I.T. executives and CIOs report that security is their primary concern, followed by performance and reliability. Good perspective from those that have the big picture view:

NetDocuments Attends T3 Conference for Financial Service Advisors

Leonard Johnson and Marc Duncan exhibited and presented at the Technology Tools for Today 2009 Conference, held at the InterContinental Hotel in Addison, Texas. This event targets the technology needs of Financial Services Advisors. This is the fourth conference held and the first for NetDocuments. There were about 400 attendees from across the nation. We were impressed with the attendees and their focused interest in learning more about technology, and looking for CRM, document management or other industry-specific technologies for their business.

22 Year LexisNexis Veteran Joins NetDocuments

Great to have Keith Schneider join NetDocuments as a Senior Account Manager based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Many in the legal community know Keith as the Product Champion for NetDocuments the past three years. It's nice to have him wear the "ND Hat" as a full time employee. Keith worked for LexisNexis for over 22 years as a client manager and product champion responsible for working with legal, government and national accounting customers to understand their information needs, business objectives and the firm's IT strategy. Keith was instrumental in forming the LexisNexis strategic alliance with NetDocuments in 2006 and, as product champion, directed the sales and marketing efforts within LexisNexis for NetDocuments.

NetDocuments 10 Year Anniversary

On August 26th, 2008, NetDocuments held a luncheon event at the Gaylord Texan Resort during ILTA 2008, the annual meeting for law firm technology administrators. We presented this video presentation to celebrate the NetDocuments 10 year anniversary together with many of our customers who were at this event. Click below to play this 10 minute video.

NetDocuments® Receives KMWorld Trend-Setting Product Award for 2008

Orem, Utah (September 3, 2008) -- NetDocuments, a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) document, email and records management service provider announced today that NetDocuments has been selected by KMWorld Magazine for the Trend-Setting Product list of 2008. This is the second year in a row NetDocuments has been recognized with this award. "NetDocuments is pleased to be recognized as an eminent provider in the knowledge management industry," said Ken Duncan, CEO of NetDocuments. "Going back to the early 90s our team has been developing trend-setting products and services in the document and knowledge management space that have influenced the industry and more importantly improved efficiency and productivity in the lives of our customers."

Paperless or Less Paper? by Leonard Johnson

Consider how technology has really made us more efficient over time. In 1986 I went to Europe and managed the european operation of a computer company. I remember around 1987 we got a fax machine….wow….it changed our lives. Then about 1992 we got email…. What a savings in time instead of printing and faxing, we simply typed and sent… I worked at WordPerfect and Novell with Groupwise in its early stages and now we all recognize how email has truly changed the way we do business and how we communicate. Its drastically helped us reduce paper…. (now of course I hear how many attorneys tell their secretaries to print their inbox for them….) Isn’t it sad to run across this item on the ABA's Site-Tation that states: " According to the 2006 Legal Technology Survey Report, 61% of attorneys save email related to a case or client matter by printing out a hard copy." Actually, it's probably a good thing that we didn't find the percentage of lawyers who later scan those printouts of emails as TIFFs to reconvert them to digital form. This isn't even a step toward a paperless office - it's a move toward a "papermore" office. OLD WAYS DIE HARD! By the way, one of the major lessons from the Katrina and Rita disasters was the vulnerability of paper records in disasters. The fetish for paper runs against technology and business trends. It places law firms and their clients at an unnecessary risk. Paper is not the most efficient mode of communication and it is no longer the most secure method of retaining informationâ€"but you CANNOT protect paper. BUT it sure a lot easier to READ!! Right?

NetDocuments Moving Ahead

One of the key benefits of the SaaS model is that it allows better, more frequent, stable, and comprehensive updates to the software being served up to all customers at the same time. This has certainly been the case with NetDocuments. As you hopefully are aware, the NetDocuments Service consists of the following four fully integrated services: 1) Document Management, 2) Email Management, 3) Extranets, and 4) Digital Records Management. The Service continues to be aggressively updated at a pace of 9 releases a year. Our largest enhancement ever, the implementation of FAST as our primary search engine, is scheduled to be released later this summer when we run FAST in "parallel" with our existing search engine. The FAST search engine will support relevency ranking, phrase and proximity searching, snippets, and later this year lemmatization, lingustics, entity extraction, and topic based searching. FAST will be the base search engine for all four NetDocuments services.

SaaS-based Development Platforms – Is there any market value?

Salesforce.com has AppExchange, NetSuite has Suiteflex and WebEx has WebExConnect. I recall reading something recently that referred to this trend as SaaS 2.0, where SaaS vendors extend their Software-as-a-Service applications to third-party software vendors and customer’s in-house developers, proving that customization is possible with hosted apps. Is it really much different than the good ole’ days when Novell extended their network with NLMs to encourage vendors to write applications to NetWare which helped Novell solidify their market positioning? I recall working at Novell during a turning point for the company when Microsoft NT was threatening that market and Novell walked away from that position despite the resistance of its own sales force. And do you all remember the hot trend in the mid-nineties of “GroupWare†applications lead by Lotus Notes with Novell GroupWise getting into the mix? It was all about bundling a suite of apps into a common UI, and then allowing third-parties to integrate with it. It grabbed market attention at the time, but did they succeed? Document management was in many ways considered a middleware app where many vendors wrote integrations to it as well. We had many vendors in those days write to our SoftSolutions application. Did these groupware applications and document management integrations provide true customer value and are we simply now experiencing a maturity in the SaaS world as it follows the same evolution? After all, SaaS is proving that its becoming the future in software? Where is it heading and is there truly customer value or simply a market ploy? It’s very interesting watching Salesforce.com and NetSuite making attempts to do the same. I have to admit that I quickly became curious with the Salesforce.com’s strategy and their commitment to it’s third-party vendor “channel†as they have aggressively recruited partners to their AppExchange program. We jumped on the bandwagon and have enjoyed relative success as we offered “solutions†to our joint customers. Salesforce.com has been building such a large partner program but then at the same time is clearly trying to take over the world by extending their own functionality, which in the end creates a channel partner conflict. An example of this is their announcement this week regarding the purchase of a small document management start up named Koral, despite enthusiastically partnering with NetDocuments and other document management services as listed on their App Exchange program. As the late Ray Noorda coined the word “co-opetition,†is this the posture that companies such as NetDocuments have to take to work with Salesforce.com as its loyal partners and now perhaps competitors? After all Salesforce.com has helped solidify and draw attention to the SaaS market. But do these decisions truly weaken their partner program and relationships with the market? Do they care? What should be the keys to a successful development platform that allows third-party vendors and more importantly, our joint customers, to truly leverage and take advantage of the virtures of SaaS? What are your thoughts? During the coming days I will share our NetDocuments perspective regarding a document services development platform and how our strategy fits into this SaaS 2.0 trend.