Jan 9 2012

And the gold medal goes to Windows Phone


The following was one of my 2012 predictions.

Windows Phone/Android/iPhone : Or more to the point, the death of the blackberry in Legal. After years of being the corporate tool of choice (remember when having a BB was a bit of a status symbol!!), RIM through major failure of service and also taking their eye off what they were really good at (email access) have gone the way of the fax machine. As for the replacement? Well the last two on the list are obvious, but I’m sticking my neck on the line and predicting the order as written! I’ll post up why I think this in an future post.

So Windows Phone as lead candidate to replace BlackBerry as the corporate smartphone of choice, am I mad?

Well no, I honestly think the new OS from Microsoft will make significant roads this year and shock the other two a little. Below are some of the reasons I think that it will position itself to be the enterprise device of choice:

  • Nokia – yes they may have fallen behind a little in recent years, but people still talk about them and they know how to build a phone. Regardless of the OS the new Lumia 800 is a extremely well built piece of kit! Plus they can market phones in a way that is second only to Apple.
  • Skype – sure this is available as an app for Android and the iPhone, but over the next year I expect to see closer integration with Windows Phone and more importantly closer integration with Lync. This will start to glue corporate telephony into Windows Phone and as Lync becomes the internal telephony platform of choice, Windows Phone becomes the natural choice for a law firms Unified Communications plan.
  • The enterprise marketplace – rumoured to be coming in the Apollo release of Windows Phone (due later in 2012) is the ability to create a private, secure private app marketplace. Allowing controlled distribution of applications to corporate devices or access to corporate applications to specific personal devices.
  • An obvious one, it’s Microsoft! And so is your corporate email (Exchange), your corporate intranet (SharePoint), your corporate engine room in legal (Office) and your corporate messaging/telephony (Lync). Do you not think they will all just work together seamlessly? Try using Windows Phone now with OneNote, SkyDrive and OneNote in Office 2010 to see how well this can work.
  • The original xbox case study – when the xbox was first released all the “gaming experts” said it was too late to the party and stood no chance against Sony and Nintendos offerings (PS2 and Gamecube). Ten years later and the xbox is THE games console and dominates the market. Sure Sony and Nintendo are still there with a healthy market share, but the 360 is the market leader. History has a tendency to repeat itself, what I saw in the original xbox I see now in Windows Phone.

And finally a bit of wild speculation?

Overall I don’t think Windows Phone will overtake Android or iPhone in market share in 2012, but I think by the end of the year it will be looking like a definite player in the market. And in the corporate world the knowledge and foothold that Microsoft has will give it prime position to take the crown from RIM.

Blackberry running Windows Phone OS?


Apr 22 2011

Those funny square barcode things


img.phpTheir actual names are QR Codes, like the one to the left. They seem to be cropping up all over the place, including lawyers business cards.

I’m not sure about the benefits other than being a gimmick to attract attention. I posted as much this week on twitter and this led to a brief twitter conversation with @jeffrey_brandt, @emmalouwillcox, @KMHobbie and @geekchicy on the merits of QR Codes.

Some of the comments raised were:

  • scan code smartphone, no typing – big advantage! Great for location based stuff (Maps)
  • why should you need an app for it?!
  • QR code on google.gl service link page, e.g. http://goo.gl/info/7nKy1#week
  • I see biggest potential value of linking static hard copy to dynamic web content

I was also reminded of Microsoft’s attempt at its own version (as somebody pointed out “came up w/their own version of QR code. Quite silly!”), this then reminded me I did a blog post about Microsoft’s “Tag” just over a couple of years ago!

“Microsoft Tag – perfect for the paper file?”

I re-read my article and can’t help think now that a simple barcode would be as useful and so my thoughts come back to my original point made on twitter:

Are QR codes just a fad? What are benefits over urls? Seems bit of a gimmick to use an app to snap QR to get a link? Am I missing something?

And I don’t seem to be the only one, Google seems to be thinking the same. But I am going to install a QR application on my Windows Phone 7 and give it a go for a while. I’ll post what I think in the comments, but let me hear your thoughts on QR codes too.


Feb 24 2011

Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office


Here’s one to strike fear into every risk manager in law firms and perhaps give a warm glow to every lawyer (well the tech savvy ones at least), Google Cloud Connect!

In Google’s words.

Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office brings collaborative multi-person editing to the familiar Microsoft® Office experience. You can share, backup, and simultaneously edit Microsoft Word, PowerPoint®, and Excel® documents with coworkers.

or how about “with coworkers clients”!!!

It’s only been released today, so I’ve not had chance to play about with it too much but from what I have used so far it was fairly easy to set up and very easy to sync to the cloud. Maybe a simple way to finally rid ourselves of the back and forth drafting process via email attachments!

There is more information on how it works in the video below.

Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office (2003/2007/2010)

Nov 10 2009

Collaboration – Google Docs just got served


For a while I’ve been meaning to do a post on document collaboration, especially as working on documents with the client is such a key part of a lawyers work. In a typical law firm this collaboration is through backwards and forwards emailing of the document to the client.

I’ve had some more thoughts on this recently whilst doing a number of workshops on email management, a large portion of email traffic for a lawyer being this transmission of documents back and forth! To be fair this process works reasonably well, especially when you’ve got version controlled documents in your DMS (Document Management System) and tools like Workshare are thrown into the mix, either for use in comparison (e.g. using the Compare functionality or Deltaview as it was once called) or for power users using tools like the collaboration in Workshare Professional to track the multiple amends from various parties.

However I had a nagging feeling return that underlying all this was the email system and really this wasn’t what email was designed for. Surely there is a better way to do this?

So first off when I originally thought about this post it was Google Docs that had prompted the feeling above, with its ability to share the document in the cloud. This basically cuts down on the multiple copies of the document. Instead of attaching the document to an email and sending out to multiple people (= multiple copies) you create your document on the internet and invite people in to collaborate in real time. One click and they can edit and save the document online. One copy, always up to date!

For a brilliant explanation of Google Docs watch this video : Google Docs in Plain English.

Then this week I came across an article in my RSS feed for a product called DocVerse, a document collaboration plug in for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For me this brings the benefits of Google Docs, with its online collaboration and real time document editing with a number of parties, together with the power of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint which I’m guessing is the standard for most law firms. This for me is the ideal solution.

Again take a look at this video explanation from the DocVerse suppliers.

This real time collaboration has to be the way forward. There is a but though and thus I think full adoption of this technology may be a few years off yet. The but is that there are a few hurdles IT depts and risk management functions need to get over first. The major one being “the cloud” itself. I read an article online yesterday that posed a question :

“Would you use a cloud-based service to store critical infrastructure documentation?”

45% said they’d consider it

36% said no way!

only 20% said definitely

That’s only 1 in 5 that would definitely be happy storing their documents in the cloud! Maybe someone good in math would be able to work out the odds therefore of you and your client being happy? And for this reason I think for large adoption this may take time, however for small firms who can move quicker than the large firms maybe the take up will be faster.


May 25 2009

Lost in Stockholm : the benefits of mobile applications


I suspect there are a number of organisations that lock their Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices down, stopping people installing applications on them. There are plenty of valid reasons for this, but there are some great applications that I think should be installed as default by all companies.

One of these is the Google Maps application (available for Windows Mobile and Blackberry), it’s especially useful if your devices have GPS chips in them (which a growing amount do).

I spent this last weekend in Stockholm with some friends, on one of the days we went our separate ways during the day and then arranged to meet up later.

I got a call about 4pm :

“We’re in a pub called The Londoner”

“Where is that?”

“Not sure, it’s just down from the Olympic Stadium”

“OK, do you know the street?”

“Nope sorry….”

There were some directions given at this point but as we couldn’t work out the starting point accurately I wasn’t hopeful!

Anyway the point of all this was to explain the benefits of Google Maps.

I fired up the application on my Windows Mobile device, the GPS located my position in a city I’d never visited before, I then used the integrated search function to find “The Londoner”. This searched was location aware and only searched for places and names near my location.

The description given showed I had found the correct place and from this point in the application it was a simple click to show directions and immediately highlight the path from where I was to the destination.

As soon as you move a little arrow shows your direction on the map so you can tell you’re heading off the right way.

The interface is extremely intuitive and on a 3G connection very quick, there is no jumping off into the mobile browser it’s all done in the Google Maps Application. And if the city has street view you can even access that on the mobile device.

Now clearly there is little business benefit of finding directions to a pub, but a travelling lawyer could use the app to easily find directions to a clients or the firms offices in a different city. There could even be savings if staff were encouraged to walk rather than jump in a taxi (which I bet is common when in a new city).

Now if only it integrated with your internal CRM systems ……


Feb 23 2009

How’s your Google CV?


I saw an interesting post on the Personal Branding Blog last week, written shortly after the Michael Phelps cannabis story. It referred to a “Google CV”.

What’s a Google CV? I’m not sure Dan Schawbel actually coined the term, but on his site it’s referred to as

“A Google CV is the Google search results page returned for a name search.”

There have been countless cases of the impact of the negative Google CV, people sacked for something said on facebook etc. But I suspect the more savvy HR departments and employers will start to use the online you more positively and begin to complement your paper CV with your Google CV.  So just as you take time to prepare your paper CV, maybe now is the time to take a look at your Google CV and make sure it’s one that you want to show a potential employee?

So here are 6 tips for maintaining your Google CV

  1. Unless you’re quite confident that your non-work persona is perfect for the workplace AND that your social network of friends fulfil the same criteria, then create a dual online personality.
  2. Get at least two email addresses (make sure they’re not both from your own domain!!), one for signing up the professional you to social sites and one for the personal you. Most social sites use the concept of a “friend searches” that use email addresses.
  3. Make sure your online presence is up to date. And unlike your paper CV that is gathering dust, keep it up to date. A two year old Lined In profile with 1 connection may send a wrong impression.
  4. Use Google itself and services like  123people to look at the online you, find all those sites you’d forgotten you’d signed up to and tidy up those you don’t want people to find!
  5. Obvious one, for those personal social sites (facebook, bebo, myspace), lock them down to your friends. Here’s a great post on facebook privacy.
  6. Get the professional you on LinkedIn or other similar social sites, set yourself up a blog related and/or contribute to online forums that relate to your field of expertise. Basically heighten the chance of that HR person finding the professional polished you on Google!

If you’ve any more suggestions why not post a comment?


Jan 21 2009

Google vs Interwoven – email send & archive/file


Google have introduced a “Send and Archive” function in their Gmail (Google Mail) application. This is a labs feature at the moment and so isn’t turned on by default. I caught sight of this from a post on Mashable in my RSS feeds, which in turn refers to the Google Labs blog announcing this feature.

I already posted a link to this via twitter on Monday, but I thought I’d add some thoughts here now that I’ve used the feature in Gmail. And to say that it is very similar to a feature introduced by Interwoven in WorkSite already, their “Send and File” functionality.


On the left is Interwoven’s product integrated with Outlook and on the right is the Google labs feature.

Basically both are designed to get your emails out of your inbox into a long term storage area. In Interwoven’s case this means into a Workspace for the matter you’re working on and in Google’s case into your Archive area within Gmail.

After playing with the Gmail version for a while, two things struck me:

  1. Subsequent replies to your email don’t seem to be auto filed in the archive, I had to chose to archive these (admittedly one click archives the whole email thread). The Interwoven version though will “tag” the outgoing email so it can then file the incoming replies automatically.
  2. There is no structure to the archive (unlike say sub folders or workspaces), it’s just a big “bucket”. Google can handle this either by labelling the emails (from what I can see rather like a categorisation tag) or alternatively by just by relying on their search engine to find your stuff.

It’s this very last point I want to touch on. This to me is the killer feature! When your search engine is as good at returning what you’re after as Google’s, why bother structuring it at all?

After all email is an absolute pain to file in a rigid structure. For example, that email you received from the client may refer to two matters and some personal information just for you, how do you file that in a single folder? But a big bin with a fantastic search capability might just work!

Will the velocity engine from Vivisimo that’s in Interwoven WorkSite 8.3 bring the “Google search” to WorkSite? I’ll let you know when we get it up and running!

And if you’ve already got it up and running why not post a comment?