Feb 25 2014

It’s touch friendly MS Office first for the iPad and now an Android phone from Microsoft?


Much has been made on numerous tech sites of the alleged Microsoft decision to release the touch friendly version of Office dubbed “Gemini” first on the iPad rather than on their own Windows 8 tablets. The angle a lot of the articles have taken is that this somehow highlights a huge vote of no confidence in Windows 8 and that even Microsoft favour the iPad over their Surface and Windows 8 tablet devices.

I don’t think this is the case, my feeling is Microsoft realise that their long game is to get us all hooked into their cloud based Office365 environment. After all in terms of long term revenue streams, that is where they will make the money over time. But couldn’t they still do this by launching on the iPad after the Surface? Well yes, but the early adopters of the Surface devices will already be running Office2013 which when combined with keyboard covers mean the device is already ahead of the iPad for document production and spreadsheet editing. So it does make sense to target the iPad contingent initially and pull them into the Office365 eco system.

Then this Monday (23/02/14) the same type of lazy reporting comes out of the Mobile World Congress. Headlines scream Nokia are going Android, but what they’re doing is launching a forked version of Android on some cheap handsets for emerging markets, they won’t hook into Google Play at all and will have their own app store. Again they’re designed to bring people into the Microsoft ecosystem with OneDrive, Skype, HERE maps etc integrated and a very Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone) UI on top. Still, I’m actually more convinced on the Office play than this one, although I can see where they’re coming from in terms of the ecosystem I struggle to see how the Nokia X can be that much cheaper for emerging markets than say the Lumia 520. Especially when you consider the loosening of the hardware restrictions this week for Windows Phone.

But what this does all show is that it’s not about just products anymore, it’s all about the ecosystem. Apple understood this first and tied up a good chunk of the consumer market, Microsoft is aiming to do the same in the corporate space with Office365 and Azure. Throwing a line to the huge iPad user community with Office Gemini or leveraging an Android development team for cheap entry phones is just a long game play for Microsoft.

The question to Legal IT vendors is how are you going to plumb into these ecosystems? If you’re coming along to LawTech Futures 2014 in March I’ll expand on this topic and question a bit more in my talk (straight after lunch on the Lounge Stage).


Jan 2 2014

Looking back on 5 years of blogging part 1 – Wrong predictions!


For the last four years I’ve started the year with a series of predictions, but after five years of blogging I thought I’d spend a few posts looking back at some of the things I’ve written in that time. Starting with a highlighting a few posts with predictions or ideas I got a bit wrong.

First up are a few posts from 2009 which were a little off the mark:

I started in January 2009 raving about what a great idea Microsoft Tag was, well QR codes have sort of taken off but I think Microsoft have long since retired the tag! – Microsoft Tag – perfect for the paper file?

Also in January 2009 I thought that a product acquired by Google may become the enterprise twitter, however I suspect few now even remember Jaiku. Now Yammer there’s another story…. – Jaiku v Twitter

In May 2009 I didn’t so much get a prediction wrong, but reviewed two great twitter products that were both taken over and then either disappeared or left to the dusty top shelf of technology to whither away – Tweetdeck v Seesmic Desktop.

In 2010 I was clearly hedging my bets, or more likely making a U turn faster than Bill Gates on the internet! I started in January 2010 convinced that the iPad would fail in the corporate world (Apple iPad – a disappointment for legal) but by June 2010 I was extolling the fact that it was now a game changer in the corporate world (Stop printing your emails – the iPad’s a game changer!). If you ask me know I would say the tablet will enter the corporate world en masse in the next few years but it won’t be the iPad (apart from as a BYOD device).

Finally one from 2013, so soon to get things wrong? Well yes, I somehow got excited by the Q10 as a possible saviour for BlackBerry. I then carried this into LawTech Futures 2013 where I suggested that BlackBerry’s Secure Workspace product would do the same. I think 2014 will prove me wrong on both counts. – BBX (BlackBerry 10) – spoke too soon?


However for balance I also took a look back on my very first Top 5 for Legal in 2010 and had put : Instant Messaging, Windows 7/Office 2010 and Mobile Apps. These are all pretty mainstream now in Legal, the other two Search and Speech Recognition have been tried and are continuing to be pushed by law firms. Top 5 Legal IT technologies of 2010


Jun 4 2010

Stop printing your emails – the iPad’s a game changer!


A big pile of paper!

Law firms print paper, in fact they print LOTS of paper! I recently heard of a secretary printing off 6-8 inches of paper for the file (you know you’re printing a lot when your margin of error is 2 inches!!). I am therefore pretty sure that the cost of printing is rather significant cost for law firms.

So why on earth do it? There are two main reasons I’ve come across:

1) Keeping a good and proper file

“All the emails and documents must be printed for a paper file, it’s been like that for years and it isn’t changing on my watch.”

Come on, there isn’t any reason to do this. It’s not a regulatory requirement to keep a paper file, a good and proper file yes, but that file can be electronic. The only reason I could understand is maybe in a small firm, one that doesn’t have a document management system (DMS) to organise the electronic file. But why are lawyers in medium and large firms still doing this? Do people think it’s more secure? Well it’s not, not even in the slightest. An electronic file will be backed up a number of times with all documents and emails in a number of locations for security. A paper file is in one place and there is just one copy of it. Damien Behan’s article here sums up nicely the increased risks of keeping paper based files.

I really can’t see the need to print off reams of email, if you must still keep a paper file just put in a file note indicating the location of the emails in the DMS. But save the paper and the cost (of the paper, storage and secretarial time) and don’t print them off!

2) It’s easier to use paper

Now this is where I can agree with the lawyers, shifting through paper copies of email to locate the correct one can often be much easier. The average DMS (and even Outlook) doesn’t make it easy to wade through vast numbers of emails.

I posted the why print question to lawyers on twitter recently and got a good comment in reply that backs up my view from @ljanstis

“paper can be read anywhere – in court, with client, on the the road. Can’t guarantee that if just in electronic form”

And here is where I do a big u-turn on a previous article and lay out what I think could be the answer for lawyers – the iPad! I’ve been reading peninsulalawyer’s blogs on his first impressions (here and here) of his iPad as a tool for lawyers and I’m more and more convinced that it’s going to be a game changer in legal.

For legal IT departments I think there will soon be a trickle of requests either to provide iPads or at least enable them to access the corporate network and as with the iPhone the trickle will become a stream and I’m betting an eventual torrent as people see the possibilities of this device.

Imagine. You could use some of the functionality of Adobe Acrobat 9, it’s email archiving feature that allows you to convert email in Outlook into a PDF Portfolio (a Portfolio contains PDFs of email messages which in turn contain the attachments to the message). You could put this PDF portfolio onto the iPad and browse through your emails with ease. As peninsulalawyer says in his post:

“I could zoom in on a PDF document on a netbook, scroll backwards and forwards and highlight text, but the speed and ease of doing this on the iPad is like nothing I have ever seen on a laptop or notebook.”

This could be the perfect tool to finally eradicate the piles of paper from a law firm. For a firm of 1000 lawyers it would cost under £500k to provide an iPad for each lawyer. And if that sounds a lot I suggest you find out your printing costs, I wouldn’t be suprised if it suddenly looks a good deal!



And yes, to all those that know me well, I do realise it’s an Apple! 🙂


Jan 28 2010

Apple iPad – a disappointment for legal


A lawyer sits in an airport lounge, pulls out the iPad and connects to the firms document management system (DMS) through the Autonomy iManage App in the AppStore. She flicks through the correspondence folder, checks her teams filed emails and reads up on the clients comments to the agreement draft. She then decides to dictate some amendments to her secretary using the built-in microphone. Launching the agreement from the DMS, she highlights the paragraph needing amendment and also launches the BigHand dictation app ……

<Fail> No multitasking on the iPad!

There have been plenty of posts why the iPad falls short some I agree with some I don’t. But as a device for lawyers or other business usage I think it’s a case of “not there yet”.

As well as lack of multitasking, I think for a tablet to be a great tool for a lawyer it would need to replace the touch keyboard with a stylus/pen and good handwriting recognition. Marking up a document on a tablet with a pen surely is the “revolutionary” vision Mr Jobs?

It’s not far off and to be fair to Apple I never thought it would be a business tool, it’s a consumer device. But as a consumer I’m personally not convinced there is a gap between the smartphone and the netbook. I prefer the former on the move and if I wanted something a little more the later would be more convenient (and less tied into the Apple eco system!)

So after all the hype, the multitude of blog responses (including this one) I’m left with the feeling that with the iPad Apple have maybe left us with another :-

Apple Newton

The Apple Newton

“magical truly revolutionary product” – Steve Jobs on the iPad

Perhaps it’s just too early for the technology that will make the tablet a real killer device. I think there is a gap (especially in business) for tablet PC’s, but the revolution will only come when it’s as convenient as a pad of paper or a paper magazine!