Thursday, August 23, 2007

Session 1 of last day of ILTA---Thursday morning August 23, 2007: Where are the Matter-Centric Pioneers Now?

By way of background, "matter centricity" is the concept of storing all or some portion of a firm's documents, notably including email, in matter-specific folders within a DMS or other comparable environment. The folders are tagged with matter profile information, and there are various ways of storing and retrieving documents and the associated folders (also known as "workspaces"). This session focused on firms who have attempted to implement matter centricity in the context of the Interwoven document management system.

According to an ILTA 2006 survey, over half of firms surveyed are going to a matter-centric collaborative (MCC) environment. There was a refreshing degree of honesty from this panel of senior IT folks who have (apparently succesfully) implemented MCC about the challenges they faced and how they might have done things differently.


Thomas Gaines, CIO, King & Spalding, based in Atlanta.
Peter Lamb, Director of IS at Torys LLP, Toronto & NY.
Andy Rudall, IT Operations & Programme Manager, Wragge & Co. LLP, Birmingham, England.
Bob Dolinsky, Director, eSentio Technologies, moderator.

King & Spalding

Thomas Gaines is known for saying that Matter centricity is easy to grasp intellectually, but hard to make operational. King and Spalding has 2000+ users, with eight offices in places as far-flung as Atlanta, London, and Dubai. Their DMS "libraries" (which in the Interwoven DMS is a particular designation for a set of documents that can be easily searched and linked to a set of specific folders) are defined geographically (so presumably they have 8).

The King & Spalding MCC project took place at the same time as an upgrade to the whole desksite and the "back end" as well. They used Interwoven Worksite 8.0, email management, Office 2003. Thomas advised ignorinig the other stuff and focusing on MCC.

Business drivers included risk management, and the firm management's focus on the necessity to manage, organize, and dispose of matter email.

The project was organized by a risk management committee consisting of partners, other lawyers, and staff. The RMC was both a pilot group and a broad base of people who could disseminate the benefits of MCC. Outside consultant eSentio also helped provide a broader perspective.

The biggest challenge was getting the lawyers to understand how MCC worked and to understand that it works the way that they think already. His biggest key to success was getting lawyers involved early on. He said that you want lawyers involved in the design process, especially the template structure for workspaces. People are all over the waterfront in terms of how they organize their own stuff.

He had thought that they would let users create workspaces. In the pilot, however, lawyers created workspaces that meant something to them but nothing to anyone else. Their workspace creation is manually driven by matter creation process. K & S allowed a "to be filed" folder.

They pulled in preexisting iManage/Interwoven folders into a public space. They did not try to convert them.

The project took 2 1/2 years from discussion to implementation. They had large demonstrations and put the product online well before rollout, as well as 1 1/2 hour classroom training. In retrospect, Thomas would have preferred to have 3 hours of training, to let lawyers adjust to how MCC might work within their existing processes. The challenge is that their "save" screen is different.

They had a specific project map / timetables and the RMC received regular reports of progress.

They measured project success by email. They have 5-digit number of workspaces. More than 50% of documents in workspaces are email. That's the case even though their attorneys don't have portable access to Interwoven documents (portable access is one of the currently unsolved challenges of MCC, and one of the few advantages Outlook folders currently have over MCC for email storage).

Wragge & Co. LLP

By way of introduction to his firm's home town, Andy Rudall amusingly described famous discoveries (like "oxygen") and people (J.R.R. Tolkein, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ozzie Osbourne) from Birmingham, England.

Wragge & Co. is on Worksite 8.2, use 2003 Office products, and SQL 2000. One Interwoven "library" serves all offices.

Business drivers included delays in a Hummingbird MCC solution; they therefore switched to Interwoven after a proof of concept test in their lab. Other drivers were that lawyers wanted to be work in a matter centric fashion and wanted access to the DMS through Outlook.

They also used a consultant and engaged with the business units to spread the word.

A big challenge for him was the switch to MCC over a single holiday weekend. They didn't want to have separate conversations with practice areas over how they wanted to workspaces configured, and so established a single template for the whole firm. They have allowed some separate styles of workspaces since the rollout.

The key to success of the rollout was communications and selling into the business. They had a "Star-Wars" theme with wallpapers and posters--"DocWars"--"A long time ago we had..." In retrospect, they should have tried more ways to encourage lawyers to attend trainings.

They have a tool, called E-filing Wizard, that allows automatic filing into a workspace on sending [I have seen a demonstration of a comparable tool developed by Baker Robbins, and also believe that the most recent version of Interwoven's MCC implementation also has this functionality]. The same tool allows filing of return email with the insertion of some code. This wizard was really important for adoption of MCC at Wragge & Co.

Torys LLP

Torys has 280 lawyers across 2 offices (Toronto and NY). They also have a centralized computing environment with only one library [my firm currently has six].

Torys is using 8.2 Interaction, Office 2003, one SQL server in Toronto, with caching in NY. For DMS security, they have "IndApp WallBase" after trying Baker Robbins' security tool.

Business drivers included risk management and the development of a "document retention policy" where email and documents were in the same system and there could be an electronic copy of the entire file. They also wanted a standard DM platform across offices (they had had DocsOpen in NY and no DMS at all in Toronto).

In a 2007 survey, a vendor [anyone out there know who?] claimed that between 75 and 80% of all matter information resided in email.

The inside champion was the KM Partner "Bob" who worked closely with the lawyers to develop the workspace schema. Torys also had a full-time project manager for MCC.

The biggest challenge was getting participation from the attorneys. They are interested so long as it doesn't take any time. His advice was to start with the perspective that Interwoven did not invent matter centricity; lawyers are already working in a matter centric fashion; this is not a change in how they think, it's a change in how the technology works. Training lawyers was difficult because they actually had to be changed. It was critical to get lawyers to understand how MCC works.

The key to success in implementing MCC is understanding that this is not a technology project, it is a process change. It has to be run through focus groups of lawyers in advance. Assume that most lawyers are working in organized ways. Reflect those systems instead of telling them what to do.

One effective "trick" was to populate the attorney's worklists on changeover, even without a previous document management system.

In retrospect, they should have spent more time involving the assistants. KM Lawyers don't have the same input as practicing lawyers in terms of organization. Start off with defined processes. No one told them when email is supposed to get into the workspace. They should also have done more on the why and where of email saving. There has been very little practice support information about how and when to do that. Best practices and processes should be developed at the same time as rollout.

The most succesful training for partners by far is 1:1 in their offices. Although they did face-to-face training almost exclusively, they should have offered some group sessions for lawyers.

Now they have more email in the system than documents. Torys saw declining growth what their Exchange email servers had to handle. They did not communicate to lawyers that a goal was to reduce the burden on the Exchange server, but that did happen.


Upper Deck Mike said...

Hi David-

I was reading one of your older posts regarding Matter Centricity, specifically the entry about King and Spalding. I work for a pretty large Firm, and we are in the beginning stages of moving to Matter Centricity. I was very curious about how they handled pre existing iManage/Interwoven folders, by moving them to a public space (not trying to convert them). these pre existing folders seem to be one of the biggest issues in moving forward with matter centricity. Do you have any further information about how many documents were moved to this "public space", and how it was set up? Maybe you have someone I can contact? Thanks for any information you might have. I have subscribed to your blog and really enjoy it.

Upper Deck Mike said...

Hi David-

I was reading one of your older posts, and came across your 8/23/2007 entry regarding Matter Centricity, specifically the story of King and Spalding's upgrade approach. I was curious about the fact that they "pulled in pre existing iManage/Interwoven folders into a public space. They did not try to convert them." Would you have any additional information about this? I'm wondering how many documents were put into the public space and where it resided? if you know someone I can contact or have any other information, please let me know. I just subscribed to your blog and really enjoy it.

David Hobbie said...

Hi Mike, thanks for your comment and the props.

Oddly my firm only this year moved to MCC so I have some recent experience with this exact issue.

We had a huge set of legacy iManage folders, set up for a broad variety of purposes (firm management, administrative, practice area, KM, personal use, client-matter service, and so forth). We initially thought we would be able to do broad-scale folder migration, but given the scale of the existing folders (and doubts about how many of them addressed active matters)we instead moved the legacy folders into a "Other Folders" area within MCC. The documents themselves were migrated to the appropriate workspaces, the legacy folders only kept references to the documents. Matter teams were educated about how to move the active folders from the "Other Folders" area into the active workspaces.

I should note that there were exceptions--we did some custom migrations for some key client teams, and also for the administrative teams that saw consistent use of a given set of folders for a long period of time. MCC was, frankly, an opportunity for some teams to clarify and improve how they worked with documents.

Happy to touch base directly about our consultants and software we leveraged to do the move this way.

I agree that the legacy folders are a major challenge in implementing MCC. Good luck.