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Takeaways from ILTACON 2016: ECM Edition

Brian Podolsky

4 min read

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Another ILTACON has come and gone. Another chance to see what’s new and emerging in legal technology. Another chance to see how law firms are tackling the challenges before them. Another chance to catch up with old industry friends and to embarrass yourself singing Karaoke in front of them. Good times, for sure.

In my ILTACON 2016 preview, I mentioned I was interested in seeing what NetDocuments and Microsoft were up to, what iManage had up its sleeve, what exactly Matter Center is now, and how ready the industry is for digital rights management. In walking the exhibit hall floor, meeting with vendors, and attending sessions, I learned quite a lot and wanted to share some of my takeaways for 2016 and beyond:

NetDocuments and Microsoft, Continued…

Just prior to the opening of ILTA, NetDocuments furthered its Office 365 integration, announcing support for Microsoft Flow, an automated workflow module. With this integration, workflows can be set up to, for example, send text messages or email attorneys if certain content is saved into NetDocuments. As soon as users are disabled in Office 365/ Azure AD, their credentials will likewise be removed from NetDocuments.  This is just the tip of the iceberg of automated management and processes within  NetDocuments.

On another front, I was excited to hear what was in the works regarding document security. I don’t think I can say much now, but this is something that may come to fruition by next year, and will likely incorporate future integrations with Office 365. Finally, both at our booth and in sessions, I kept hearing a lot of interest in NetDocuments and the strides they’ve made with overall security certifications.

The Next iManage

Last year, it was all about “The New iManage” after the HP split. Well, now it’s the Next iManage. iManage 9.4 was announced, and more previews of iManage 10 were presented. New modern interfaces, compatible with practically any form-factor and device, as well as many new features and ways to consume the content relevant to your day-t0-day work. Beyond that, iManage told me they’ve heavily invested in new technology for their iManage Cloud datacenters (more than just the solid-state devices you may have heard about). These investments and improvements should be announced in a bit more detail toward the end of the year, and should allay concerns about how the iManage Cloud scales as more firms migrate their content there.

Matter Center and other Alternative DMSs?

On Tuesday, August 30th, I attended the ILTA Session “Alternative Document Management Systems.” The Twitter hashtag was #ILTA056, if you wanted to see my tweets from the session.  I was intrigued by what firms were choosing as alternatives to the market leaders.  There were two firms using SharePoint (one with MacroView, and the other with Epona DMSforLegal), a firm using MetaJure, MatterSphere, and Clio.

None of those are particularly surprising. For years, I’ve been interested in figuring out how SharePoint could be leveraged as a DMS for law firms, and it’s great to see US firms starting to go there. The Epona DMSforLegal looks to be the way to go in this area. The client user interface is incredibly slick, and Epona completed the Matter Center code for a nice web interface as well. MetaJure was mentioned, but the whole “Smart DMS” mantra, where documents can live anywhere (including workstation C drives) and are automatically tagged, scares me a bit. But it seemed to offer some real benefits to the firm using it. MatterSphere and Clio were also highlighted, and seem to fit in the “Jack-of-all-trade” bucket.

What struck me as odd was the inclusion of Worldox as an alternative. Now, it may be an alternative for a 1,000 user global law firm, but it most definitely not an “alternative” for the small to mid-size market. Worldox has been a staple in this market segment for more than 20 years, and is rather prevalent across our managed services clients at Kraft Kennedy.

Cool New Technologies

Perhaps the most crowded session I attended was What’s New and Cool in Legal Technology (Twitter hashtag: #ILTA067). It had an all-star cast of panelists, including Jeffrey Brandt (current CIO at a law firm, Editor for Law Technology Daily Digest), Ben Weinberger (former CIO,  currently at Prosperoware), and Dean Leung (former CIO, currently at iManage). The session started out with general complaints about vendors who don’t support modern browsers, don’t integrate with Office 365, and still require old technologies like Java. But then, the conversation shifted to what is happening now and what is coming down the road.

A solid five minutes was spent talking about Digital Rights Management as the next frontier of security. It’s important to ensure you have control over content even after it leaves the edge of your network, and even after the recipient downloads it. It was nice to hear this topic mentioned, as it’s something that Kraft Kennedy has been looking into for several years.  Both Seclore and Litera have product offerings in this space. Seclore’s product has been established for a few years now in the non-Legal vertical. Litera’s IRM is a new offering to its large legal portfolio of products.

Bonus Thought: Bacon is Delicious

I realize this isn’t news to anyone, but my goodness, is bacon delicious. During the Exhibit Hall Opening Reception on Monday night, one of the food stations was simply two slices of candied bacon in a clear cup. Genius.

All in all, it was a whirlwind week full of sessions, meetings, and demonstrations of the Microsoft HoloLens at our exhibit hall booth. It should be an exciting winter with new product version releases. Before you know it, we’ll be booking our flights to Vegas for ILTACON 2017.