Jul 21 2015

The HP and Autonomy era is gone! iManage leadership completes buyout.

Jason

Well this morning sees the official announcement that the iManage leadership team has completed a buyout from Hewlett-Packard (HP). I’m not going to post comment yet, I’ll let the dust settle a few days before that. But here are some links to read what’s currently being said:

From the Legal IT Insider : “The Boys Are Back In Town as Team iManage complete management buyout from HP

From Legal IT Professionals : “iManage Leadership Completes Buyout of Business Unit from HP

The brand new iManage website press release : “iManage Leadership Announces Buyout from HP

From Phoenix’s website : “Phoenix congratulates iManage

Post from Neil Araujo on the iManage site : “Who is iManage Today?” and on LinkedIn Pulse “Who is iManage Today?

Post from Kraft Kennedy : “iManage Splits from HP, Becomes Independent Company

From Forrester : “The Rebirth of iManage: A New Company With A Familiar Name Re-enters The ECM Market

From Ascertus : “iManage buy-out great news for the market

Nothing from Tikit as yet?

I’ll update this page through the day with new articles, so if you’ve got any comment or posts that’s not just the press release please point them out to me on twitter @planty

 

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Jan 9 2014

Looking back on 5 years of blogging part 3 – Interwoven to Autonomy to HP

Jason

As you’d expect from a Legal IT blog I’ve posted a number of stories about the key Legal IT suppliers over the last five years. But one supplier has proved interesting due to the takeovers it’s been involved in and its almost ubiquitous coverage in law firms. That company is Netright Technologies! I’ve picked out four stories from 2009 to 2010 that take you through the Autonomy takeover.

The first post from January 2009 sets the scene nicely as it was written just as the takeover was announced. You can debate on how much came true in the comment, but I definitely got the new name right in the last paragraph! Interwoven and Autonomy – WorkSite, IDOL and iManage?

I wrote a couple of posts in February of 2009 as information became a bit clearer. The first was picking up more information via Tikit, I think this was my first lesson in the care required when blogging as my original published article had a number of release dates that Tikit had mentioned but weren’t for public exposure until the Autonomy/Interwoven deal was completely done. A quick retraction was needed. There are some worries highlighted in the post that I think in hindsight came true for many during the “Autonomy period” – News on Autonomy/Interwoven

The other February post was more an idea of mine for a simplified DMS design. However I include here just to announce that in hindsight I am rather ashamed of my last sentence! – Calling Autonomy!

Finally to wrap up the Autonomy period is a post from December 2010. Less to highlight the content specifically, more because it shows that really it took from January 2009 all the way to December 2010 to really sort things out in terms of the product and service on offer. Autonomy iManage WorkSite 8.5 and on

The fact I have posted virtually nothing on the HP takeover probably indicates it was an easier and much more successful transfer. There certainly has been more development in the HP era already (LinkSite) but the remaining small concern I have is with the core worksite product, if you read the December 2010 post above the main change is only the release of v9. But it’s been over 3 years, shouldn’t we now be talking about v10?

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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 23 2011

WorkSite 9

Jason

Vote for me in the Computer Weekly Social Media Awards 2011

I’d very high hopes for WorkSite 9. Admittedly a lot of these hopes I’d developed circa version 8.2 (i.e. before the Autonomy merger) so a lot has happened since. But because of this I feel just a little underwhelmed by what’s in v9.0.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is some good stuff in 9.0 that is going to be really useful for a lot of firms, but there were a couple of things that I’d hoped for that haven’t materialised. First off though let’s take a look at the things that are there:

Unicode: Now if you are a one country, one language firm that has no international offices nor international clients then this probably isn’t a big deal. But for everyone else it’s a big cheer of “Yes! finally”, no more agonising over the code pages of libraries and limiting the poor folks in the small office in Russia to using the Latin character set for everything! There’s the ability to handle the meta data of course, but also to handle dialogues in multiple languages based on the locale that Windows is set to.

Security: Two areas of security jump out:

  • Security in the ACL (Access Control List) currently uses an optimistic model (or can be set at the server for an all pessimistic model). i.e. the higher or the lower security always wins if the person is in the ACL more than once (e.g. marked as an individual as well as in a group). In 9 you can have a hybrid model, where no access trumps everything. Basically no mimicking the way Windows file security works.
  • Encryption. file encryption built in. So you can set specific documents to be encrypted at the file store level. In law firms I can see this being an increasing requirement in the near future!

Remote use:

  • https support: an alternative access to having to set up VPN connections to gain remote access to your firms WorkSite setup. Similar to Outlook where you can set the client up to talk to Exchange via https enabling easier remote access.
  • The other is not necessarily designed for remote access but will be beneficial for those on slow connections. It’s the utilisation of OffSite cache whilst you are online. So if there is a local version of the document that is the most recent, then that is used rather than fetching one from the server. Reducing network traffic (at least for large document transfer).

Client:

  • 9 has features for saving native word comparisons into WorkSite and to allow you to compare WorkSite documents
  • Integrated into the save as PDF functions in Office, allowing you to save to worksite (interesting these two seem to be an “attack” on Workshare, Docscorp & Litera territory!)
  • In Office 2010 you can now view NRL link attachments within email (similar to standard Office attachments)
  • Add-on available that plugs into the Outlook 2010 social connector that can show WorkSite activities.
  • iPad client v2 – take a look at this post on Legal IT Professionals for full details.

Some additional features that help IT department more than the fee earner are:

  • Easier desktop upgrades through automatic upgrade of custom configurations, handling re-install in the install package.
  • FilesSite and EMM will become one package.
  • v9 server compatibility with 8.5 schema to ease upgrades.
  • Autonomy Control Centre – Allows managing of all IDOL components. Includes graceful start-up and shutdown, ability to edit config files etc. In future sounds like there are plans to include all WorkSite components in this!
  • IPv6 support.

Finally there is a push to the cloud, where you can have Autonomy host the WorkSite infrastructure. There is also a hybrid cloud solution. Where your data centre would replicate to their cloud for disaster recovery purposes or just for backup purposes. Uses replication products from Autonomy’s recent iron mountain acquisition.

So what were those two things that I would have liked to be in v9.0 that weren’t?

I was hoping for a significant rework of the database schema. Something that would really remove any limitations on docmaster in terms of number of documents and give significant performance gains to workspace/folder navigation. Also an addition of a much more flexible custom field set up, allowing full user configuration of meta data.

The second area I was hoping for work on was to allow easier global working. We know latency is a killer for any global set up, so I wasn’t expecting the Chicago guys to perform miracles. But just add more flexibility to allow “on the fly” connections to other libraries. For example, I could create matter shortcuts to an Australia matter in the library in Sydney from within my UK system and the DMS servers would then manage the connection only on my entering that particular matter (releasing it once I navigated away). This would save me having to maintain a connection to the Australia DMS as well as my UK one. DocAuto have a product that does something along these lines, but can’t help feeling it should be in the core product?

I did say my hopes were high didn’t I!

But what we do have with v9 is a good step forward. Plus as they will be targeting Office 2007 and 2010 only, it will hopefully mean we see some further exploitation of Office 2010’s features and better integration as we move forward through 9.1, 9,2 etc. as well.

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Feb 15 2011

Is iManage WorkSite about to be outflanked?

Jason

It’s been a few years since iManage WorkSite effectively won the war of the document management systems (DMS) against Hummingbird’s DM5. Since then both companies have been through a number of mergers and are currently the Legal DMS products are owned by Autonomy and Opentext respectively.

The peace though looks soon to be shattered by a counter strike on two fronts. On the one side we have the SharePoint juggernaut from Microsoft and on the other a coalition of vendors we’ll call “the cloud” (currently led from the front by netdocuments).

So who’s going to win this latest battle? First off it’s worth pointing out that the game has changed considerably since the WorkSite 8.0 v DM5 days, it’s no longer just traditional DMS functionality that is required in the armoury, but email management capabilities and great search functionality.

Let’s start with SharePoint. In its 2010 guise it looks like SharePoint is starting to be taken seriously. From Lewis Silkin’s SharePoint implementation to the announcement that Clifford Chance are going SharePoint there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the product is ready to be used by law firms. The big benefit of course is the cost, if you’re licenced for Microsoft, then you’re likely licensed for SharePoint. Plus there is the native integration with Office 2010. The addition of the FAST search engine gives it some capability against WorkSite’s IDOL engine. And there’s also a growing IT skillset out there to maintain the product (wider than just the Legal IT market).

But wait, there are limitations for Legal. Matter centricity and email management to name two. These can be addressed by “add ons” like Workshare Point or DMS4Legal (the former I have seen and have to say looks really neat) but then the cost and resource benefits are reduced or eliminated.

So if it’s not a one horse SharePoint race, what about the other side, the cloud coalition?

I’ll be honest I like the concept of netdocuments. The desktop application has all the features of a good DMS like WorkSite, but the heavy lifting of a DMS (the application servers, the indexers, the database etc) is managed in the cloud. Allowing the focus for the Legal IT department to be on the fee earners desktop, which is where it should be.

The downside of the cloud at the moment is the perceived security and risk concerns, I’m sure this will be resolved in time. But right now it’s still a stumbling block for many firms, but the shift may be coming (Foley & Lardner in the US, a 1000 lawyer firm, have possibly shown the way).

So is the original winner of the DMS battle doomed?

Short answer, certainly not.

I think there is plenty of life left in iManage WorkSite. As well as the fact that unlike the others it is a proven product in Legal, it also has a couple of aces up it’s sleeve.

First off it’s proven itself to be scalable to meet the demands of even the largest law firms. Something that SharePoint I don’t think has yet proven. The number of documents a law firm has may have levelled, but the email volumes on matters is still growing. That’s a counter strike on one flank.

On the other side it’s announced a big offensive by moving WorkSite to a hosted solution, too early to tell whether this is a route to victory (or what exactly the hosted solution will look like), but on the face of it moving WorkSite into the cloud itself is a good move.

So who’ll be the winner?

I honestly don’t know. Thinking about it, I hope there won’t be one outright winner. A little competition in the Legal DMS arena is a good thing. Product competition usual brings with it innovation and advancement, it forces vendors to up their game. All of which can only be a good thing for the lawyers!!  *

*that’s lawyers as users of the technology, not in some big litigation of course!!

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Dec 12 2010

Autonomy iManage WorkSite 8.5 and on

Jason

A couple of weeks back I attended the Autonomy iManage (or should that be Autonomy Protect now?) user group in London. There was a good session early on in the afternoon where Autonomy ran through their roadmap for WorkSite. I was struck with a feeling that they were clearly listening to their customer’s needs, in fact some of the indexer additions are almost direct answers to an adhoc customer feedback discussion I attended at ILTA earlier in the year.

So it’s worth blogging some of the highlights of upcoming releases:

WorkSite client SP2

This release is out and you can find details on the support site. But it is worth noting that this is basically a branch of SP1 u3 (all the fixes in that release are in SP2) that just brings Office 2010 compatibility.

WorkSite Indexer 8.5 SP2

In this release there are some improvements in the connector (the fetch state is preserved via checkpoint to save having to start all over again), improvements in the indexing resilience and in disk space protection.

There are also a couple of nice tools that have been added. A diff tool, which will do a health check between your index and the DB. Sort of like the imfcheck between docstore and DB I guess. And the Autonomy Control Centre, a web based tool for monitoring all your indexing components. Allowing you to start/stop services, monitor all log files, messages, metrics etc of all your WorkSite indexer components from one control centre. I think in time the aim is for this to be able to monitor your IUS and EAS indexers too.

Worksite Communication Server 8.5 SP2

This release looks to bring Exchange online support (https support) and also a Mailbox Agent, this allows emails to be marked that have been filed elsewhere in the firm by colleagues (not just those filed by using the luggage tag).

WorkSite 8.5 SP3

This release will be a real plus for Excel users as there is a focus on linking support in Excel sheets. Also this release will see the start of the shift to .NET integration.

There are also some NRL improvements. The ability to have NRL previews in Outlook and NRL links to matter centric containers as well as documents.

WorkSite 9

A lot of what is in 9 I already blogged about from ILTA and this is still:

  • Full Unicode – yes! finally you can file those Chinese and Cyrillic language document descriptions (email subject lines)!
  • Encryption support.
  • Access anywhere – similar protocol to how Outlook client can communicate over https.

There is also now a hybrid security model. You can mix pessimistic and optimistic models. For example, you can have optimistic for grant privileges and pessimistic for revoke. Sort of how windows file store security works.

And maybe not in 9.0 (for which the main focus I believe is Unicode), but certainly earmarked in point releases is further outlook 2010 integration. Starting to exploit some of the new 2010 features of Outlook (conversation threads etc).

Autonomy ACA

Finally there was a quick mention of the Archiving ACA product. Autonomy Consolidated Archiving, this allows the archiving of many different types of content in an on or offsite archive. They are looking at a migration path from EAS too. Given the volumes of data law firms now deal with this product could be very interesting.

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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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Oct 25 2010

Rolling out WorkSite 8.5

Jason

I’ve been struggling over the last couple of weeks to come up with a subject to post about. Is this what people call writers block? It’s mainly down to being focussed on a particular project at work which has lead me to think about little else in the Legal IT field.

We’ve been gearing up to rolling out Autonomy’s iManage WorkSite 8.5 product together with the EMM (email management module). It’s been building up throughout the year, building VM environments, rolling out IDOL and Email Filing Servers etc. But it’s these last few weeks when the end users have started to get the software.

We started with a small field test and followed with a couple of pilots in London and Madrid, then this weekend was the big one. Six offices in one go, across four countries!

We’ve had some challenges with it, but on the whole I think the fee earners will like the product. If all goes well I’ll post up some coal face views of the software in the coming weeks!

On another note, this week I got short-listed for the Computer Weekly blog awards 2010! So if you’d like to vote for me (Jason Plant) you can do so over at the Computer Weekly site (or just take a look at the other shortlisted blogs).

computerweekly

Vote for Jason Plant - IT Blog Awards 2010

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Aug 15 2010

Time to sort out search in law firms

Jason

This week a couple of things cropped up to remind me of my predictions for the top 5 technologies for Legal in 2010. In particular that I had search at #4 and my thoughts on why I think next year this will be moving up the charts.

First off is my first recent experience on Autonomy iManage WorkSite 8.5 working with IDOL and using search to retrieve email out of a 30m+ document library. As I tweeted at the time it made me want to take my email out of Outlook and put it in WorkSite! The search experience was so much better than Outlook 2003 Advanced Search (although recently I’ve used Outlook 2010 and the search in that is itself so much better than 2003!).

Then on Friday night, the second thing that got me thinking about search was when my son (aged eight) found a Flipnote on his Nintendo DSi and wanted to know what the music was. I had no idea, but what happened next was an eye opener on the new generation.

I consider myself pretty tech-savvy but in this instance I was well beaten by the eight year old. First off he’d asked if he could use Shazaam, but he couldn’t wait for me to get my mobile and so he had gone to his PC, fired up Google, found the track by searching for keywords and lyrics and then found last.fm and a copy of the track. No guidance, no help from his parents, in fact I was so impressed I went and bought him the track off Amazon (which in hindsight wasn’t that clever, as it is now on a continuous playlist of one!).

The thought hit me though, that if my son was to go into law (not on his list of potential employment at all at the moment, currently being a Chef is #1) then he just won’t accept the reams of paper file or the clunky e-filing systems that require either browsing or complex search forms. No search is something he takes for granted. It’s not technology to him it’s just something, like reading and writing, that he just does.

We in Legal IT have about 10 years before these kids start arriving in law firms, think we’ll have enterprise search working by then? And for the lawyers get yourselves comfortable with search technology, as these kids won’t accept the “I don’t understand computers” argument. They’ll just look at you like you’ve just announced “I can’t read”!

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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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