Mar 15 2013

Watch out, watch out, InboxFiler is about! – explaining a gotcha in WorkSite Send & File

Jason

Send & File is a fantastic way to get email into your HP Autonomy iManage WorkSite DMS (Document Management System) – surely that brand name needs condensing!! But there is one small issue with Send & File that can crop up and bite you and that is the efficiency of the InboxFiler. Let me explain with a scenario:

John sends a email to his team about a project and uses Send and File to file that email to the project workspace. Each of the team (Sarah, Joe and Lisa) receive the email, Worksite nicely dedupes the emails in the workspace. All good so far.

Sarah then forwards on the email to a colleague, lets say with a legitimate question on the project. Because the email still has the “luggage tag” ie that part of the subject that looks like [TEST-LIB1.FID1234] when Fred receives the email the InboxFiler files it in the project workspace. Meaning John could still read this email in the workspace. Still OK as that email was related to the project and thus the project workspace holds a record of all communications on the project.

However, Fred thinks the question was a bit stupid and forwards on the email to Claire. In the email he writes a little note about how much of an idiot he thinks John is along with a few other choice words. In a normal email conversation John would never know. BUT in this example Fred left the “luggage tag” in the subject line, as soon as Claire receives it the InboxFiler picks it up and files in in the project workspace! John (who has full access to the project workspace) can therefore read this email, oops!

Thankfully in later versions of the WorkSite HP Autonomy allowed things to be configured to strip out the luggage tag if you chose “Send Only” on the send and file pop up. But if your version is not yet configured this way (How would you know? Try doing a “Send Only” to yourself and see if the “luggage tag” is still in the subject line) then be careful. You can also just remove the “luggage tag” by deleting it in the subject if you are making comments that are no longer relevant to the original subject, this will stop it being filed by the recipient automatically!

As a slight aside, I recently discovered Vine from Twitter. A rather neat App available on only the iOS platform at the moment. It allows you to record small video files and share them, a bit like Instagram for video really. Anyway whilst playing around with it I decided to knock up a short video of the above Send and File scenario, you can view it here.

 

For more info on Send & File see this previous post.

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Jan 15 2013

MCC : No not Marylebone Cricket Club, Matter Centric Collaboration!

Jason

A Matter Centric Document Management System or MCC (apparently the other ‘C’ is for collaboration, who knew!) isn’t it all a bit old hat? I see the ILTA competitions still and wonder who isn’t doing MCC now?

I think maybe this is a US v UK thing? Maybe having using Legal IT for longer and in particular Document Management Systems (DMS) the US have lived in a profile driven DMS world for a long time and thus “searching” is more the norm, whereas in the UK we came to the DMS party late and are more tuned to browsing through folders. Therefore maybe for this side of the pond the concept of MCC made sense and we adopted it like ducks to water?

Either way though a few conversations and emails recently made me think that maybe some best practice is worth revisiting as the volumes of documents on matters increase.

To start with its worth stating something I’ve said before, Simplicity Rules! If you’re moving to MCC then I strongly suggest you start simple, there will be enough challenges to get lawyers to file documents and emails without making a hugely complex structure for them (nor is it worth getting bogged down in endless meetings to try and reach a decision on such a complex structure! What will suit Litigation will annoy Corporate etc)

But, it is worth planning in a degree of flexibility. We started with 4 or 5 “top level folders” and restricted the creation of additional top level folders to “Matter Administrators”, these were a small number of admins within the business who could control the folder structures for their depts. matters. Thus we aimed to keep a level of control and consistency. Other approaches I have seen have been to allow a specific set of additional folders to be added to matters, ie to open up the creation process to a wider audience but restrict what can be created.

When coming up with your short list think retrieval, make it obvious where things are. Correspondence, Bills etc. These can each be tagged with meta data in most DMS and so the documents placed in them will inherit this information making searching easier. The tricky issue is the Miscellaneous folder or Other documents, there are pros and cons to this which I’ll leave to you all to discuss in the comments!

To me though, documents is easy. We’ve tied a lot of our filing into the template system now. So if you create a letter it will automatically try and file this to the Correspondence folder for you. The tricky part is email!

How do you file these? Technically they are correspondence, but combining into a single document/email folder will unleash a whole heap of trouble. Just don’t! So a separate email folder is the best option, but then some matters can have thousands of emails and if you’re a “browser” this can be a nightmare. This is where you probably want to think about some best practice rather than create a default structure. You could get people to create sub folders by date, fee earner etc

Overall though MCC is not just about the folder design, care needs to be taken in training and instilling best practice. Also you won’t get it right first time, you’ll look back a few years later and wish you’d done things differently. But then it’s worth diving in as you’ll only learn this through observing and getting feedback from real world use!

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Jul 12 2012

WorkSite Send and File explained

Jason

The idea for this post came about after a recent internal email query from colleagues in our Australia offices where we’ve recently started a WorkSite roll out. When you live Send and File for a long time you forget how confusing it can be for even the tech savvy. It’s not all simplicity in this Applesque consumer world, complex desktop software does exist! So this post is an attempt to simply explain the ins and outs of Send and File.

Lawyer is sending email to their client. To file the email, the lawyer uses Send and File (the subject line will be appended with a subject/luggage tag on send). In our set up the email address of the workspace will be in the BCC field.

Client responds to the lawyer. The email is received into the lawyers inbox and the email is filed using InboxFiler automatically, without any user action (such as pressing File) required.

Since the original email had the workspace address in BCC, the client would not have visibility to it when doing a reply/reply-all. We don’t allow incoming external emails to our workspace addresses, so even if the workspace address was in CC, then the client would get a bounce message returned. This is to prevent spam and other emails directly getting to the workspace. The important thing to note here is we are relying on the luggage tag, to file, NOT the email address for incoming email.

Lawyer then responds to the client. Now this is where our lawyers got confused, as there is an expectation that once they’ve started a Send and File then the whole thread gets filed. But as we’re using the luggage tag the lawyer needs to either:

  • Tick the box next to File To on the EMM toolbar to ensure this email is addressed to the matter workspace upon sending
  • OR ensure they select Send & File when the dialogue box pops up

When the client then responds the email is filed using InboxFiler automatically again. It’s just the Sent Items that that lawyer needs to remember to always file.

Couple of gotchas also worth pointing out in the S&F world:

  1. If during this process the Luggage Tag (in the subject line) is removed, the InboxFiler will be unable to identify and file the email. In this case a manual file will be necessary.
  2. Watch out for “rogue filing”! Scenario: I’m a lawyer and I receive a copy of an email originating from a Senior Partner with a luggage tag in the subject, I forward on the email to a colleague calling the partner an “idiot”. If I left in the luggage tag and the colleague was in my firm with EMM installed, then this email will get filed into the Senior Partners workspace. Oops!

Thanks go to @bashaa from whose email explanation to colleagues I cribbed the jist of the scenario from.

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Mar 7 2012

Upgrading to WorkSite Communications Server 8.5SP2

Mubashir

I first saw a demo of WorkSite Communication Server 8.5SP2 when it was introduced a year or so ago. Since then its had some missed deadlines but finally was released in GA a couple of weeks ago. Partly the reason for its delay however was because of the many architectural changes in the software. The underlying code has been completely overhauled and the operation of WCS 8.5SP2 has been changed in a number of ways.

WCS 8.5SP2 has a number of key features all rolled up into one release

  • Greater integration with Exchange 2010 CAS
  • Load Balancing across multiple WorkSite Communication Servers
  • Mailbox Sync/Mailbox Agent
  • Numerous bug fixes

 

If you are moving to Exchange 2010 and currently have WCS SP1 installed you may want to check my earlier post for further information.

In this post I’ll focus on a couple of the features that come with SP2 and share with you some of the useful tips I picked up along the way.

Exchange 2010
One of the eagerly anticipated feature of this release, especially for larger firms, is the deeper integration with Exchange 2010. In SP1 EFS configuration was based around filtering on the WorkSite database/Exchange server pair; which was fine until the number of filing folders in a single database increases to unmanageable levels (how much time have we all spent waiting for that EFS pane to refresh praying it won’t crash??). Even then you could have explicitly list your Exchange 2003 mailbox stores (until of course the number of folders per database per mailstore got too large!) to filter further.

In Exchange 2010 Microsoft recommend you use the CAS alias for all external apps, meaning you were confined to using just one server if you couldn’t split your WorkSite database config down further. Autonomy still allow you to filter Exchange 2010 mailbox/database, however with the introduction of Load Balancing, this is less of a necessity.

Load Balancing using iManage Clustering
The core problem with running multiple WCS SP1 servers was that they all ran independently and it was up to the WorkSite Administrator to set up each of their functions according to infrastructure resources and business requirements. If one of the servers failed there was no mechanism for the processing to fail over to another server. In SP2, Autonomy require an installation of iManage Clustering, the same service that clusters middle-tier servers together. This works pretty well, you can now have multiple servers processing the same setup together by the efficient Clustering service.

I would advise you spend time to get to know how Load Balancing works. The recommended setting is to enable Automatic Load Balancing and let the system run on auto-pilot. This works well, on the whole, the users are split evenly across each server with the ValidUsers.urs file dynamically updated whenever there is a change in one of the nodes across the WCS cluster. Bear in mind once you click on Connect, all the options are greyed out and you will no longer be able to make any config changes. Just as well really, I agree with Autonomy this is necessary to prevent any unintended user action that may disrupt the process.

You may choose to run the manual Load Balancing, which is mandatory when filtering users according to WorkSite group. This is definitely a gem in the release; as a WorkSite Administrator I’ve come across a situation many times where users complain folders have not been processed for filing or some other problem. In SP1, to troubleshoot the problem meant to let MarkingWork complete a run and then trawl through the logs. However the logs can get chatty (in SP2 unfortunately the situation has gotten worse) and it is difficult to filter threads for a particular user. In SP2 all you have to do is add the user(s) into any WorkSite group, add the name of your group under User Group Name and away you go, MarkingWorker now only targets the users you want. Simple, but brilliant.

SP2 Tips

  • Use the new functions available to SP2 to go through your infrastructure again and see if it needs to be tuned. Especially if your firm is over the intial period of introducing 8.5 client, you may want to re-evaluate whether you still need to have an aggressive polling interval.
  • It also might be an opportunity to do some housekeeping & go through the EFS console to remove some of the folders marked Failed as a result of the user filing and then deleting them from Outlook. If in doubt, reset the folder and attempt to process again so you can be sure its ready to be deleted. Alternatively, you may want to check the status of the folder from Outlook.
  • Consider using User Group Name, should you want align your EFS configuration to target particular users more than others.
  • Be aware of how big the logs can get. Currently there is no way to tone down the logs from Verbose. The available setting only allows to tone down to Information or Error in the EFS console view.
  • Although you may not be using Mailbox Sync and have it set to Manual or Disabled; you still need to review the settings you have set in this node in EFS. In particular, notice how any WorkSite/Exchange settings change you make also get replicated into this window (under the Exchange Servers/WorkSite DMS area). If it hasn’t replicated, click away and then back again.
  • Clustering the EFS servers will require a DNS alias first, so get these in place before you begin your upgrade. If you aren’t using clustering, you are still required to input the hostname in the Cluster Name field.
  • When using Load Balancing, note how EFS generates files in the (hidden) ProgramDataAutonomy folder until LoadBalancer has finished at which point the ValidUsers file is placed in the Config folder. This file is the heart of the Load Balancing operation and initiates & controls the process.
  • Using Automatic Load Balancing means each node in the cluster has a number of users held in the ValidUsers file for that node to process. This will not get refreshed until there is a connect/disconnect on that or other nodes within the cluster. Which is fine, until the time you have new users added into your WorkSite databases who will soon start to create Filing Folders. These new users will not get added until there is a refresh and the ValidUsers file is reloaded.

 

What do you think of WCS SP2 so far?

 

Mubashir Mian is the Lead System Specialist at a major international law firm. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/mubashirmian)

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Nov 14 2011

Migrating to Exchange 2010 with iManage WorkSite Communication Server

Mubashir

Quite a few Autonomy customers have implemented 8.5SP1x WorkSite Communication Server (WCS) to take advantage of the enhanced server-side filing features brought in by the new Email Management (EMM) client. Although the legacy “send & file” functionality existed before 8.5, it was a bit clunky & basic. Using the filing toolbar and other neat features bought the fee-earner even closer to matter collaboration and email volumes in WorkSite have increased.

Separately, there has been a push in the enterprise towards Exchange 2010, as the Exchange Administrators are keen to make use of the CAS high availability and new Outlook Webapp amongst other features, the most obvious one being Outlook 2010

This blog post will take you through some of the things to note when migrating your mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 and what the impact might be on your WorkSite user.

First the easy bit, the legacy WCS (SMTP) service that runs the filing via email address. There are no major changes to carry out here. The email filing functionality at the back end is still the same, with the SMTP service on the WCS picking up the incoming mail directed to it from your Exchange server using the mail connector The mail connectors from your Ex2003 environment will have automatically been migrated to your Ex2010 so things should pretty much remain the same, so any mail destined for yourworksitedomain.yourdomain.com will still go through. If you want to reconfigure the bounced email to be redirected to your new service account, (see below for why you need a new service account) you can make this change quite simply in the Communication Server Properties. A restart of the WCS service will be necessary, however the messages will queue during this time.

Things get a bit more interesting when it comes to the Email Filing Service (EFS). The EFS handles two of the main services, the FilingWorker (for Email Filing) & MarkingWorker (for Filing Folders). There are two key changes to be made within the EFS when the mailbox migration process begins.

First of all you need to review the Email Server Connection tab. Here you will have added the details of a Ex2003 service account which has relevant Send As/Receive As permissions. This service account field needs to be updated to a Ex2010 service account (a mailbox hosted within Ex2010). I guess you could also migrate the existing service account but I wouldn’t advise this, just so it doesn’t impact your current environment. Naturally, the Send As/Recieve As permissions need to be added for this account and should also have this access to the Ex2003 environment. In the Service Account/Server Name field you need to put in the name of your Ex2010 CAS name, whether this be a single server or an alias for the array and ensure you add this using the FQDN. All this can either be done manually or via the Email Filing Server Configuration Wizard, which will also change the local Outlook profile on the server to the new service account. If you use Trusted Login with the WorkSite administration account on EFS then you should ensure this has relevant NRTADMIN permissions in the database.

Secondly, depending on how many WCS’s you have and how they are individually configured, you may be filtering the Email Server Connection according to how you want each WCS to service Exchange. If this field was left blank, so the EFS could connect to any mailbox, then you can leave it like this. If however, you are using more than one WCS OR explicitly defining the Ex2003 mailbox stores, then you will need to add the same Ex2010 CAS name that you added into the Server Connection/Mailbox servers field. The benefit of explicitly defining what Exchange servers I want to filter on is it helps with troubleshooting and also keeps the WCS for the two Exchange environments separate. On the other hand you may wish to remain Ex2003/10 agnostic and want to leave it blank.

After you have saved the above settings you should run Test User Connections against both Ex2003 & Ex2010 users to ensure everything has gone through smoothly. Clicking on Marked Folder Management you should still see the listed of Filing Folders you had as before.

A subtle change to review is that any MarkingWorker or FilingWorker jobs carried over prior to migration will appear exactly the same in Folder Sync Monitor/Email Job Monitor lists. However, any new Filing Folders created or any new Filing jobs queued will have their mailbox entry prefixed by the Exch2010 CAS name.

So to summarise

  • Have a new Ex2010 service account with relevant permissions
  • Update the Email Server connection to use this account with the CAS name
  • Consider how best you can use the Exchange filter, to help you with troubleshooting and splitting across multiple WCSs
  • Set up a few test accounts with Filing folders, migrate, set up a few more and see how these differ in Folder Synch Monitor area. The same principle will apply in the Email Job monitor pane.
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Nov 24 2010

A WorkSite question – one library = one fileshare?

Jason

This blog post is a question to other legal IT teams, especially those that support Autonomy iManage’s WorkSite product. The question came to me after I re-read the post by @jbtrexler on the excellent blog electronic file 2.0.

It’s about storage underneath WorkSite and a realisation that after six years of supporting the product I’ve never really needed to get to grips with the underlying file management of the product.

The question though is simple. For a single WorkSite library or database, can I have the physical documents stored across numerous shares? So for my Matters library could I have the documents stored on a matters1 share on say one array of disks and a matters2 on another?

At some point I’ve been led to believe not, but am I wrong?

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Jul 9 2010

Using WorkSite 8.5 with IDOL? This is for you!

Jason

If you’re an Autonomy iManage customer and you have access to the WorkSite Support portal, then there is some new content on there that will be of interest. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a direct link to it from the portal home and I’m not sure I should link from here direct to the resource due to it’s customer only nature, but have a word with your Autonomy contact for a link (also if Autonomy are reading this and don’t mind pointing out the location please feel free to add it into the comments).

The new content is a number of video webinars on the IDOL worksite indexer deployment that are worth a look if you’re on or about to go to version 8.5. There is about 60+ minutes worth of flash video taking you through such topics as:

  • Indexer Deployment
  • WorkSite Indexer Components & Key Settings
  • Initial Crawl vs. Maintenance Crawl
  • How Indexing and Searching Works with Active Content
  • Plus a number of other related topics

I think it’s a great way to spread the knowledge of this new indexer and as IDOL becomes a key part of WorkSite it is a much better than the traditional training methods Interwoven (and other vendors) have previously implemented for new products.

I’ve not had time yet to watch all the videos but colleagues have and have said they’re excellent. Once I’ve had chance to watch them I’ll post what I think in the comments.

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Jun 1 2010

You know I never knew that! A tip for WorkSite searching in FileSite

Jason

You work with a product for years and every so often you find something new, something so obvious you probably should have known but it had escaped your notice. And that’s exactly what happened to me with iManage WorkSite last week. Finding a small feature in v8.2 to do with searching.

Basically if you use FileSite then you have the ability to use the Advanced Search in Microsoft Outlook to search your folders/workspaces.

Just simply select Advanced Search:

Outlook Advanced Search

And then you can use the Browse to select folders etc from within the FileSite. The limitations of Outlook are the same as if you have a PST (archive file) attached, in that you can only search something in the Inbox OR FileSite but not both at once.

This feature is pretty useful for searching for emails as you can use the From: lookup to select email addresses to search for.

As far as I know this is available in v8.5 as well. That is it’s on page 28 of the User’s Guide (it probably is in the 8.2 Guide but being a techie I’ve never picked up the manual for the current version! I just dived straight in), I just haven’t used the feature in our v8.5 test environment yet.

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Mar 4 2010

The Human guide to Workspaces

Jason

Workspaces. They’ve been around for quite a while and I’ve thought about doing a post on what they are since starting the blog. The aim being to try and easily explain the concept of workspaces and libraries within the Autonomy iManage WorkSite document management system (DMS). So basically removing the tech speak and explaining what they are in “real life” terms. I was going to title this post “The Dummies guide to Workspaces”, but apart from possibly getting sued for copyright infringement I figured the concept of Workspaces and libraries are terms that to be fair aren’t that easy to grasp. So, here it is. Let me know in the comments if it hits the mark.

Let’s start at the top. That green blob in Outlook under FileSite or the application called DeskSite on your desktop. The document management system (DMS) itself, think of this as your firm. In a paper world this is where everything is stored. DMS = Your firm

The Office

The Office = The DMS

Now inside your office or firm you can have many of Filing cabinets. This is the place where your documents are stored. In the DMS these are pretty much what are known as the libraries. Library = Filing cabinets

You can group these in logical ways just like filing cabinets, a row for Litigation, a row for Real Estate or maybe you just have a bank of cabinets for all the firms clients. It’s exactly the same for your libraries in the DMS. You might have one way of grouping them, you may have many. e.g. Litigation Library = Litigation filing cabinets

Filing Cabinets

Filing Cabinets = Libraries in the DMS

Right what’s in the cabinets? Yes, files and typically lots of them! In the DMS this is known as a Workspace. Workspace = File

File

Workspace = Matter File

Your firm will probably have hundreds or thousands of these files. Some of which you’re working on, some of which are just stuck in the filing cabinets (let’s not touch on those in archive today!). How do you organise those you’re working on? This is where your desk comes in! Your desk, the place where you put your files. In the DMS this is like the list of files under “My Files” (you may have it labelled My Matters or My Woirkspaces). My Files/My Matters/My Workspaces = Your desk

Desk

My Desk = My Files/My Matters/My Workspaces

This list can be changed by removing files or adding new ones. Remember though you’re just using these files, they aren’t just yours. Update them and all the office can see the updates. To add these in the DMS you would use a search to find the workspace (file) and add it to your My Files, in the real world you would go and get it from the filing cabinet and put it on your desk. Same concept.

Back to the file. Within the paper file you can arrange the documents with tabs and/or folders. Within the workspace (file) in the DMS  you can do the same. Tabs = Tabs, Folders = Folders

Tabs

Tabs and Folders

Within tabs you can store folders, within folder documents and emails.

Finally that thing called “Subscribe” what on earth is that? This is basically the ability to look at your colleagues desk and see their files!

For those that struggle with the concept of workspaces, hopefully that will make some sense. From here you can read on and learn about how you can apply security to these workspaces (files) (worksite security pt1 and worksite security pt2).

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Dec 30 2009

WorkSite Tips – adding a folder shortcut in your file to a folder in another file

Jason

A return of the WorkSite hints and tips series to end 2009!

Following a question today I found a neat way of adding a shortcut to another folder from within your matter file. This is pretty straight forward when you think about it within WorkSite, but it’s worth noting as it’s always handy to be able to link to a folder of documents from within your electronic file (e.g. to link to common client documents within a client folder from within each matter file relating to that client).

This is what you end up with (where Client Documents is located in another file, i.e. the shortcut):

Shortcut to a folder within a matter workspace

Shortcut to a folder within a matter workspace

To do this all you need to do is the following:

  • Right Click on the Tab (Matter Management in the above example)
  • Select Add Shortcuts
How to add a shortcut to a folder from within a matter workspace

How to add a shortcut to a folder from within a matter workspace

  • In the resulting pop up, browse to your required folder.
  • Then single click on the folder (i.e. highlight it, not go into the contents of it)
  • Click Select
  • That should be it, the shortcut should be added 

Given the relevant access rights (see explanation of WorkSite security here and here) you can also add shortcuts to folders at a Workspace as well as Tab level.

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