October 21, 2003

Document Management Consolidation and Evolution

Ron Friedmann has an insightful post on his Strategic Legal Technology blog outlining some of the recent developments (i.e., consolidations) in the DMS developer community. I've been watching these with more than a little interest. The iManage/Interwoven merger sends a clear signal that portalizing your DMS with a content management system is one big enabler and business driver for firms and clients alike (think of the collaboration and KM implications alone). This is a key trend which bears watching, and in my humble opinion, participation from law firms who want to keep their edge in the market.

Ron offered several comments which struck a chord with my thoughts on the matter:

"The business dynamics of the DMS space may be changing and law firm technology managers - both operational and strategic - should keep an eye on the market."

"It's also important to keep in mind what Microsoft might do in this space. Between MS Sharepoint and discussions of a new file system based on SQL-Server in the next version of the Windows operating system (see, for example, Microsoft Details Longhorn Storage, it may be that a free-standing DMS will not be necessary in the future."

I've recently commented on Longhorn's anticipated storage capabilities and how Microsoft's combination of NTFS, SQL Server, and XML data labeling could be an important single storage solution if it lives up to the hype.

Document management isn't going away, but how documents are managed, secured, shared, and presented is evolving at a quicker pace. Add to this the fact that Microsoft's Office 2003 suite's main feature improvement is the addition of digital rights management, and you can see how important this trend has become.

While you're at Ron's site, I highly recommend reading his immediately prior post on "Knowledge Management and Law Firm Compensation". Ron aptly describes why firms with "lock step" partner compensation are perceived to better able support significant KM initiatives over competitors with "eat what you kill" compensation. However, he uses UK firm Clifford Chance's recent partner defections to suggest that pressures may be developing against UK firms maintaining their primarily lock step systems. It will be interesting to see the impact on KM initiatives moving forward.

Topic(s):   Law Practice Management  |  Legal Technology
Posted by Jeff Beard

Although the introduction of Microsoft's new file system will have an impact on the DMS market I think it is very premature to say that free-standing DMS solutions may not be necessary in the future.

Posted by: Document Archiving at July 21, 2004 05:57 PM