iManage Introduces New Interface and Co-Authoring

It’s now been almost 18 months since iManage split from HP and took charge of its own direction. In that time, they’ve modernized the look and feel of the iManage 9.3 clients in ways that they hadn’t done in the previous five or six years under the Autonomy and HP bureaucracies. The freedom is there now for iManage to innovate and take it to the next level to meet the needs of professionals who are becoming more mobile and particular about their devices. Two recent announcements from the company show that it is paying attention to these demands.

“White Rabbit” is Here

With the release of iManage Work Server 9.4, iManage unveils the new HTML5 responsive interface, which was for years considered vapor-ware by many in the legal technology arena. But it’s real, and it’s impressive. The sleek interface is currently accessible via a web browser pointed to the iManage Work Server.  (Just a note though–this is licensed free on desktop workstations for all users licensed for FileSite or DeskSite. For access from a mobile device, separate web or mobile accesses are required.)  Once connected, lawyers can access their content from four categories on the main banner – Documents, Emails, Matters, and Clients.

imanagenavigation

These categories provide easy imanagedocsways to access different kinds of content. In the past, it was difficult to focus on a particular client (it is called, after all, Matter Centricity, not Client Centricity). The Clients category will allow attorneys and paralegals to see recent content in a client-centric view. Each category then has it’s own faceted filters to easily slice/dice the content to make the view more relevant.

In the example to the right, we see the filters available for documents. The content can be categorized based on the type of activity performed, the dates of those activities, as well as the file format extension.  Multiple selections can be made to broaden the resulting document list as well.

imanagetimelineOnce a document is selected, the document detail page is displayed. In this pane, a live preview of the document is rendered in the browser. Particular actions can be performed, such as emailing a copy or a link, or downloading/checking out the document locally. But perhaps the coolest new tool is the Document Activity Timeline.  This view pulls information from the Document History area of the database, and displays it in a way that is more useful than ever before. Rather than simply seeing a list of activity, the attorney can see a visual representation of when a particular document was edited, viewed, emailed, or printed. Not only that, they can see who performed these actions, and have control over the period of time the activity covers. The Activity Timeline can also be user-centric, which would show all activities done on a per-user basis, or version-centric, showing all activity performed on each version throughout the lifecycle of the document.

Think of WorkSite Server 9.4 as a preview of what the iManage 10 client interface will look like. In preview demos of the iManage 10 client, these responsive HTML5 views will be available from within the Office 2016 environment. While working in Word 2016, the attorney can open a pane and see the edit history of the current document.

Document Co-Authoring

Just this week, iManage announced that it will soon release what it calls an iManage Work Co-Authoring Add-on for 9.3.1. Now, I had seen a brief demo/presentation of this functionality in a preview of iManage 10. But today’s news is welcome, in that current 9.x customers could potentially take advantage of this before planning their upgrades to the 10.x platform.

According to the announcement, “Documents are shared in the firm’s secured OneDrive for Business environment and can seamlessly be brought back into the iManage repository.”  So this appears to require that  OneDrive for Business be activated and available in the environment. This can be OneDrive on-premises or via Office 365.

The funny thing is, I’ve been wondering for 7 years (!!) when iManage would support co-authoring after it was first announced as part of Office 2010. Well, that day will soon be here. Giddy-up.