Sunday, March 13, 2016

Start/Stop Survey Product Results: Ravel Judge Analytics and Wolters Kluwer Cheetah Voted Best Products. Lexis and Westlaw Face "Sole Source" Cancellations

 In December, I offered readers the opportunity to respond to a survey on products and processes that they started or stopped using in 2015 or planned to stop or start in 2016. Readers were also asked to describe products or features they are waiting for vendors to invent.

What s the best NEW PRODUCT you became aware of in 2015?

Once again  the responses to the question “What was the best new product that you became aware of in 2015?"  evoked a wide variety of responses. Just to clarify this, readers are invited to recommend products they became aware of or used in 2015-- although products may have been developed and released before 2015.

Ravel Law Judge Analytics and Wolters Kluwer’s Cheetah platform were voted by readers as  the best new products of 2015. 
I have described Ravel's Judge Analytics as providing lawyers with a judges precedential behavior analysis. The product pinpoints the precedents which a judge cites when ruling on various issues and motions. I described Ravel's Judge Analytics features in Ravels Judges Analytics: Precedential Behavior  Analysis Made Easy

Wolters Kluwer took great pains to reinvent the platform for it's regulatory practice offerings with the launch of their Cheetah Platform. I previously reviewed their development efforts in two earlier posts.  Can Wolters Kluwer Get Its Groove Back. Can Cheetah Outrun the Market. and Wolters Kluwer Finally Launches Cheetah Research Platform: Usability, Workflow and Context Drive New Design.  At this writing only the Securities Law product is available on Cheetah. The market is ready and waiting for Wolters Kluwer to migrate the rest of their products to Cheetah.

The overarching theme for 2015 was competitive intelligence and business development. Many of the products highlighted by users are use to enhance business development opportunities. Many of these products leverage analytics to provide deep insights. The competitive pressures in the legal market seeking practice efficiencies and actionable insights for business intelligence and client related matters make it ripe and receptive to these new offerings.

One of the things I really enjoy about conducting this survey is that I always learn about products that I haven’t yet encountered. This year was no disappointment.  

Other products on the best new  products list:

New Features/Functions
Wolters Kluwer came out on top in the new features category as well. Wolters Kluwer Browser Plug-in  was voted the  best new feature.  The plug-in allows lawyers to simultaneously search  the web and Wolters Kluwer content. Now here's the irony...the Wolters Kluwer plug in works with WK's old Intelliconnect platform, not the new Cheetah platform which was just voted at the best new product in the Start Stop Survey.

 It is surprising that  although bother RelEx and Thomson Reuters have continued to add features to  in LexisAdvance and WestlawNext - no specific features of these products were identified by survey respondents. But maybe that is the point of these advance platforms - "functions" are less important in "intelligent" search platforms.  Possibly... but they are still adding content which could have been recognized as valuable.

Other functions/features highlighted by readers:
  • Fastcase semantic cloud
  • Cheetah’s entity search
  • Bloomberg’s docket analysis tools.
  • Pacer Pro’s “free looks.”
  • Political Pro’s addition of the Congressional Directory.
  • Publication Alerts in Lexis Advance\A-Z search in lib-guides.
  • Addition of ABA and Lexis treatises to the New York law Institutes’ eBook library.
Lexis and Westlaw - Sole Source Trend Emerges. The most surprising trend which emerged in the Responses suggests that a number of firms are pursuing a “sole online legal research provider strategy.” The Lexis and Westlaw were tied at the top of the cancellation list and it was a wash. An equal number of respondents indicated that they were cancelling each service.

The Runner- Up Loser is Print. Print was the category of resource which was frequently mentioned although there was no particular product or publisher being targeted. There was an across the board recognition that print is being cancelled aggressively. The other theme I recognize is that "products" are not forever. Law firm budgets are flat and vendors can not assume that they are safe from scrutiny after their are installed in a law firm. The only way to bring in newer more innovative products is to retire products which are not delivering ROI. Thanks to the installation of monitoring products such as Onelog, Research Monitor and Topaz, information professionals have powerful tools for identifying the winners and losers on their firms desktops.

Other products which were cancelled:
  • Loislaw
  • Lexis eBooks
  • Innography
  • Lotus Notes
  • Intelliconnect modules
  • Westlaw Business
  • Lex Machina
  • Courtlink
  • Bloomberg Law

"All" is the operative work here. People are exhausted from moving from product to product. The market is crying out for comprehensive "one stop" solutions targeting specific functions. Here are some of the products suggested by readers:
  • A better patent research product which includes ALL patent data.
  • ROI data for all content products.
  • "Nirvana" search – a technology that can search across ALL online resources
  • Easy to use research workflow software.
  • Regulatory risk analyzer.
  • Analytics for non patent litigation. ( Since Lexis purchased Lex Machina - this is the one suggestion on this list which I know is currently in development.)
  • A product that searches across the courts of all 50 state court dockets.
 Thanks To Readers and Respondents.Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's survey. As always I love to learn from the "wisdom of colleagues." Take notes on what you see at the best and the worst of 2016... I plan to be back with a new survey in December.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The 2015-16 Start-Stop Poll Results: Process Improvement Tops New Projects, As Print Disappears Focus Shifts to Digital Purging

For the third year, I have offered readers the opportunity to contribute to the "Dewey B Strategic Start/Stop Poll." Although it is a very informal and unscientific poll, prior annual polls have been among  the post popular Dewey B Strategic posts each year. Thanks to everyone who responded to this year's poll. I will be reporting the results in two parts. Today I am reporting on processes and on Monday I will be reporting on which new products are making the grade and which products may be starting a slide into oblivion.We are once again being offered a chance to learn from the "Wisdom of Colleagues."

START. The initiatives that were most often cited as priorities in  2015 and 2016 are: workflow process improvements including centralization specifically research tracking and virtual teams,  formal project planning, embracing analytics products. Knowledge access projects include knowledge management initiatives, enhanced mobile access to digital resources (Research Hub), enhanced practice portals, intranet redesign, product monitoring (Onelog or Research Monitor) and curated news (Manzama).

Additional organizational initiatives started in 2015:

  • Using SharePoint to manage vendor contracts using the end date feature to track renewals
  • Subscribing to e-books from Aspen.
  • Teaching lawyers process rather than products.
  • Reducing spending on deskbooks by ending automatic distribution and replacing it with "opt in" only distribution.
  • Outside counsel guidelines review.
  • Use data-driven analytics for outcome prediction.
  • Streamline approval workflows by adopting real-time chat.
  • New 
Additional organizational initiatives to be started in 2016:
  • Create a research knowledge repository.
  • Automate alerts and and email routing using Manzama, and EOS.
  • Introduce enterprise messaging such as Yammer or Slack to reduce email communications.
  • Enabling mobile access to digital resources with research hub.
  • Total review of everything we do to determine priorities.

STOP A new trend this year is digital hygiene.  People are looking at ways to eliminate emails, attachments, home grown databases, newsletters, digital archives. Print is still under fire. All manner of print is being tossed, books newsletters, loose-leafs, paper files and periodicals. The challenge of completely eliminating the routing of print newsletters was noted repeatedly--- even when a digital version is available - legal information professionals still struggle with lawyer attachment to print. One respondent was giving up on custom curation of newsletters. although that remains a growing trend in many law firms.

  • Stop filing loose-leaf services completely--just replace the books periodically.
  • Moving away from SharePoint.
  • Giving up on an unsuccessful custom newsletter curation project.
On Monday I will report on the top products and features highlighted by readers who responded to the  Start Stop Survey. Thanks again to all participants in the 2015-16 Start-Stop Survey.