Nov 22 2016

OneNote and Office Lens – hidden gem or does everyone know?


This is one of those blog posts that I’ve thought about for a while, but worried that I was stating the bleeding obvious and so have put it off. I’ve used Office Lens and OneNote for so long now that I figure others must know about it and be using it? But if not then there are folks missing out on a really useful tool for anyone who needs to collate information from various sources (whiteboard write ups, projector screens, hand written notes on paper, printed documents, business cards etc). Given that law firms are mainly users of Microsoft Office and are now generally on smartphone platforms it’s a great combination for the lawyers.

So here we go.

Office Lens: This is a smartphone app for iPhone, Android and Windows 10 Mobile. Its purpose is to allow you to quickly take notes using the phones camera.

The app allows simple selection of some defaults (whiteboard, document etc) to set things up and then attempts to auto crop the content (and does a good job for most things). You can then fine tune this before accepting the photo, where the app then flattens and straightens up the image (so if you’ve taken the photo at an angle what you end up with is a nice flat image).


You can then email the document or import quickly into one of the key Microsoft Office apps, the most useful I have found being One Note. It’s a really quick way to collate notes together in a OneNote notebook. For scanned images where the text is machine readable OneNote then OCR’s the content and makes it searchable in the notebook. For business cards you can of course simply photo the card and immediately add the information directly as digital contact to mobile address books – there’s an article here on how to do this.

Best of all it’s totally free.


Jan 28 2014

Smartphones in law firms – which way’s the wind blowing?


Back in September I finished a poll on my site that asked which platform people thought was going to become the leader in law firms. iOS topped that poll which was not surprising from a consumer perspective, but from a costs perspective it was rather surprising given the high device costs AND the higher tariff costs for non-consumer tariffs (particularly in the UK where 50%+ of the traffic for this site comes from).

So since then I’ve been running a poll asking a slightly more specific question, focussing much more on the costs aspect to see if the results matched.

Are you considering as a firm to remain with BlackBerry 7 to control your costs? 

The results were interesting, 20% indicated they were going to stick with BlackBerry 7 devices (either keeping the same handsets or upgrading to the latest/last BB7 device). Only 12% said they were going to go BlackBerry 10, this roughly tallied with the 16% in the previous “Which mobile platform do you think will become the leading platform in law firms?” poll.

Still though I was surprised that 68% said they would go with a different OS, meaning one of iOS, Android or Windows Phone.

I still struggle to grasp how in such a cost sensitive industry like Legal there can be a cost-benefit analysis that justifies iPhones for all, smartphones yes but high end smartphones? It’s an interesting landscape that is going to change dramatically in 2014 I’m sure, but I still think that Windows Phone has a big part to play here. I know of a few large international businesses (outside Legal) that have gone the MS way, will further integration into products like Systems Centre for management of mobiles make this easier for firms? Or will a more consumer own device with business providing SaaS (Software as a Service) facilities be the norm? Time will tell.


p.s. I’m running another poll at the moment looking at what people use for news (rss) feeds since the demise of Google Reader. Why not take a vote? It’s at the top right of the home page of my site.



Sep 16 2013

Which mobile platform do you think will become the leading platform in law firms?


I’ve had this question on a poll on my site for a few months now and thought as it had passed about 150 votes it should give a reasonable indication of what Legal folk think. Now clearly with an online poll there will be a fairly wide margin of error, but I figure for every Apple fan who votes without thinking there will be a BlackBerry (BB) fan doing the same. So hopefully some of the error will be nullified.

Unsurprisingly the Apple iPhone topped the poll with 46% thinking it will become the leading platform. Safe to say that most vendors think this too with the majority of Legal IT apps appearing on this platform first (or in the case of many only on this platform), also a lot of the MDM/MAM (Mobile Device/Application Management) providers think the same and provide iOS with a level of control above all other platforms.

What came next is the interesting result. Up second was Windows Phone 8 with 23% thinking it will be the leading platform in law firms, beating the other two who got a fairly equal share (BB10 at 16% and Android at 15%). Android was interesting as in the consumer market this OS dominates the smartphone arena. Does the fragmentation of the OS and lack of controls give an impression of it not being manageable or secure enough for the enterprise? As for BB10 I suspect its newness accounts for its position. It remains to be seen whether the promise clearly shown by Windows Phone can translate into market penetration in the legal enterprise.

Final thought though is if I had put “Old BlackBerry” on the list and highlight a little more the costs, in particular roaming costs, would the %’s change significantly? I think all the UK networks are putting the BB10 on a smartphone tariff, thus removing the in built cost control of unlimited managed data anywhere in the world that you had with the old BB’s. This alone for a lot of firms with a high number of travellers could ramp up costs significantly.

So as you can see I’ve swapped the poll on the right and I’d be interested in learning the thoughts of the Legal market on this. Get voting!


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?