Apr 19 2010

LinkedIn to replace InterAction?


I caught a status update of a ex-colleague of mine on LinkedIn regarding InterAction today.

“wondering if LinkedIn will be the death of InterAction for CRM”

Now I don’t know if this was just a sound bite as a result of a bad experience of InterAction he had today or a genuine question of the possibilities on Linked In?

But either way it is an interesting question. Have walled off contact and CRM systems reached end of life? LinkedIn certainly has gained popularity to the point where it is the de facto standard professional social network and with that comes a wealth of information on “who knows who” that an in house system couldn’t hope to capture.

Then like most social networking platforms it has an API. Now I’m not sure how open the LinkedIn API is but would it take too much work on say Tikit’s part to integrate their eMarketing suite?

As almost every Legal IT or Legal Marketing person that has used InterAction  will know the benefit comes from the data and therefore won’t it just take a small shift in LinkedIn technology to leverage the wealth of data it has in it for use in house?

So, in a week that has seen the demise of Ning as a free service, has fighting the de facto standard (in Nings case facebook) just become impossible in the long run? All it will take now is for facebook to shift it’s Fan page infrastructure slightly and introduce a private network facility and it’s bye bye Ning.

What do you think?


Jan 7 2010

Familiar Faces


Looking back on 2009 there seems to be a few familiar names that have branched out from the large Legal IT companies to set up their own businesses aimed at Legal IT.

I mentioned Paul O’Connor from Interwoven/iManage UK and the GS Link Warden product he’s been working on for Grant Select back in August.

There are two more that I thought worth pointing out.

The first is Simon Ellison-Bunce who some of you may know from Tikit. He has started a company called FellSoft Limited. They are focused on CRM and in particular InterAction and have recently released a product called Feed Watch.

Feed Watch is an add-on product for InterAction that basically can bring in content from the web (via RSS) into InterAction.

The second is Keith Lipman who some may know from Interwoven/iManage. He has started a company called Prosperoware. They are focused on information management and have a product available called Milan.

Milan is an add-on for Autonomy iManage WorkSite and adds a number of useful tools for managing the environment.

I think 2010 will be an interesting year for Legal IT as there does seem to be a wave of new software companies providing innovative add-ons and expansions to the “core” Legal IT products.


Jul 10 2009

CRM system + Email Marketing + Twitter?


Forget twitter it’s back to email marketing? Well maybe not, but a couple of things this week reminded me that email marketing is still useful and it is still used a lot.

First off was a post I caught on Larry Bodine’s blog entitled “Forget Twitter, Go Back to Email Marketing”. Now I don’t necessarily agree with the title, but there is a point in the article that I do agree with. The fact that “There is limitless opportunity for real interaction with your customers sitting right there in your email database” i.e. start using email better to interact rather than just ‘tell people’ and the fact that in most law firms CRM systems I bet there isn’t one twitter username, but there will be hundreds of email addresses.

Second was that I attended the inaugural user group for the Tikit eMarketing product yesterday (this is basically a bolt on to InterAction that manages email marketing activity) and I was surprised at the turn out. It shows that email marketing is still big for law firms.

So does the Tikit product address the direction of the blog post? i.e. the ability to react and engage with those you are mailing?

The upcoming release (v4.6) looks promising.

As well as consolidating the user interfaces of the current version and improving the technical side. There are changes proposed to enhance the reporting to generate metrics from multiple mailings and compare. So you can start to see what content is relevant to which clients. All this can be linked back to InterAction data to categorise by contact types, folders etc

These changes are setting the platform to build on the product in 2010 to allow enhanced process flows and multiple page events (allowing choices to be made by the recipient and different content delivered). There are also plans to enhance the ability for fee earners to deliver dynamic content to clients simply through the InterAction interface. There was also a session at the end on Spam. And this is the difficulty in trying to get personal in email marketing, especially if you go down the articles path of emails from partners addresses rather than “noreply@bigcompany.com”. Last thing you want is a badly formed email broadcast resulting in the partners email address being added to a spam list!

Email marketing though is still widely used and is definitely here to stay for a while, products like this are allowing you to make it more individual and relevant by track the metrics and allowing dynamic personalised content.

I did ask the “Twitter” question to the product team in a coffee break and although it isn’t planned I did get the impression that discussions about it had taken place internally. But the feeling they had was one I can see, how would you integrate twitter campaigns into CRM systems? I had an initial think on the way back and came up with:

  • You could broadcast links to content and track clickthru’s, can’t really see real benefits of that as you could gain this from web stats.
  • If twitter usernames were collected in the CRM system then you could @ or direct message your customers?
  • Maybe you could add to the first point a tracking of RT’s of your articles and collate this information as to which twitter users are interested in what content?

But I concluded that I’m still not sure twitter is tuned to traditional eMarketing, it’s less a centralised marketing function and more an individual tool. I’m sure though there is some way to link the two, but haven’t thought of it yet. Any ideas?


May 8 2009

InterAction IQ


I received an email yesterday about a new product from LexisNexis, InterAction IQ.

InterAction IQ automatically mines email correspondence to discover the existence and strength of previously unknown contacts and relationships.

Sounds interesting! There wasn’t much in the way of technical details of how it works, what exactly is it etc, but it sounds like a Xobni type of solution. If this is the case and it has the integration into InterAction to “make that information actionable” as they put it, then this could be really useful.

InterAction IQ takes relationship management to a new level – by mining correspondence and meetings between individuals automatically. The frequency of activity, messages, or even inclusion on “cc” lists are indicators of the strength of a relationship – all are factored into the evaluation.

Xobni is an Outlook add-in, that ranks your contacts based on the messages you exchange, extracting contact information and identifying people the messages are connected to. You can click through to explore the conversations you’ve had with those connections.

There are a few other bits of information that are worth taking note of:

  • InterAction IQ which is targeted for availability in June 2009
  • InterAction 5.6 SP2 is a required update for this new product

More information I’m sure will be on it’s way soon and most likely on the LexisNexis InterAction website.


Jan 12 2009

Microsoft Tag – perfect for the paper file?


Thanks to the Mr Mobile Blog for alerting me to this Microsoft beta technology. The technology is called Microsoft Tag.

Microsoft Tag

Basically you install an application onto your BlackBerry, Windows Mobile device or iPhone. You can then just photo the tag with your phone and it’ll redirect you to a web page or any other online application.

It got me thinking. Imagine if you had a tag on every paper file in a law firm you could photo it with your BlackBerry and get instant access to the electronic details for that file. The WorkSite matter workspace, the InterAction client contact details or the financial information for that matter. Now if you had some way of opening all that information on your desktop PC by simply snapping the tag with your BlackBerry that might be the killer app!