Takeaways from ILTACON 2017: ECM Edition

Wow. That may have been the most packed ILTACON I’ve ever attended.

In my ILTACON Preview post last month, I highlighted more than a dozen educational and vendor sessions that I thought would be interesting.  I hope you caught them, because I think I barely went to more than two or three.  I’m looking forward to watching any recordings or slide-decks for the ones I missed. There were just so many sessions, great discussions at our exhibit hall booth, and one-on-one meetings and pull-asides, that I hardly had time to make it to the sessions I’d planned on!

Perhaps the most informative session I did attend was Everything You Need to Know About EU General Data Protection Regulation, But Were Afraid to Ask (Until Now), which was a panel led by Ian RaineJeff HemmingRobert Cruz, and Grant Shirk.  If you are not familiar with GDPR, start getting familiar.  GDPR s a new EU law that consolidates the data privacy laws of all 28 EU Member States. Companies in violation face stiff penalties. Think your company or firm is safe because you don’t have offices in the EU?  Think again. If your organization offers goods or services to EU citizens or monitors the behavior of EU citizens, you could be impacted.  The regulations go into effect May 25, 2018. So the clock is ticking.

Other than that, I caught up with many industry peers and vendors.  Here are some highlights:

AI, aye aye!

The buzzword now is AI — artificial intelligence. AI bots. AI lawyers. AI AI O. Lots of companies used this term, but the biggest one that may actually mean it is iManage. With the acquisition of RAVN, iManage brought on technology that can learn and generate information from your entire repository, distilling it where appropriate. Whether it’s building a clause bank, or auto-classifying and identifying documents that are subject to specific regulations, iManage plans to have the system work for you. At ILTA, iManage announced three new products on this front: iManage Insight, iManage Classify, and iManage Extract.

Shuffling of the DMS deck

On Monday, I led the panel for DMS Upgrades and Migrations: Look Before You Leap. It was extremely well-attended. I’d say it was standing room only, but there also people sitting in the aisles. We polled the audience, and about 80% of attendees said their firm was ready for a major DMS upgrade or migration within the next two years.

The status quo is not sustainable. A couple firms are migrating from NetDocuments to iManage. Many other firms (including some large ones!) are migrating from iManage to NetDocuments. In the arms race for cloud DMS, more firms are making the leap. Among our panelists was Barry Peters, who led Baker Bott’s migration from on-prem iManage to iManage Cloud. Another panelist was Jared Gullbergh of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, who migrated from on-prem OpenText eDOCS and iManage (via a merger) to the NetDocuments trusted cloud platform. David Woodman of Blank Rome, our third panelist, described some major consolidations and upgrades to the firm’s on-premise iManage system. All the panelists stressed the importance of planning, communication, and training to the success of their projects. At our booth and in our demo room, I had many conversations with firms trying to decide which DMS product is right for them. This looks to be a significant year for DMS technology, with cloud security and stability being key factors in determining which horse is going to win the race.

Techies love Star Wars (and Spaceballs!)

The theme of the Monday evening Exhibit Hall opening party was “ILTA’s Vendor Galaxy,” and the vendors did not disappoint. By my count, there were at least eight Darth Vaders, four Chewbaccas, and of course plenty of storm troopers. To my delight, there were also at least two Dark Helmets, two Barfs, a Lone Starr, a Dot Matrix, and even a Prince Valium and a Pizza the Hutt. May the Schwartz be with you!

If you were ask me to sum up ILTACON this year, I’d go with this: the atmosphere was great, the food delicious, and the knowledge shared plentiful. Here’s to a successful rest of 2017, and we’ll see you back at ILTA next summer at the National Harbor near Washington, DC.