Sparking Innovation: Cognitive Computing & KM #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: Agility, speed and flexibility are key requirements for organizations today.  Enterprises need a new approach to handling, analyzing, and acting on complex information—as it arrives.  Feldman, a long-time technology analyst discusses a new approach to knowledge management that addresses the complex problems enterprises face today.  She considers the impact of cognitive computing on the IT industry and how it will affect our jobs and our lives. She raises issues and possible impacts for those in the search, discovery, content management and knowledge management areas, and demonstrates why KM professionals are uniquely well suited to understanding and using these new technologies.  She’ll end by giving us a glimpse of a future fueled by cognitive computing.

Speakers: Susan E. Feldman, CEO, Synthexis Cognitive Computing Consortium

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2015 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Ingredients of Innovation: 
    • Problem or research direction
    • Opportunity
    • Cross-fertilization
    • Colleagues
    • Passion
    • Open Mind
    • Curiousity
    • Opportunity
    • Accident
    • Serendipity
  • What is Innovation?
    • A new idea, practice or object
    • rarely entirely novel — this is one reason why knowledge management can be so helpful for innovation
    • most successful innovation occurs at the boundaries between subjects or organizations
    • group, rather than individual effort — developers, users, partners, colleagues
    • tends to occur at lower levels of an organization — top-down innovation is rare
    • may disrupt industries or companies
    • risky and rewarding
  • Business Case for Supporting Innovation.
    • successful innovation drives growth in the economy
    • increases company revenue, especially when you are first to market
    • facilitates market dominance
    • helps a company attract and keep customers — it builds customer loyalty and market buzz
    • helps you avoid being disrupted — you stay competitive and expand into new markets
    • it helps create a fertile envionrment for R&D
  • The Innovation Process.  This process requires flexibility and time. It cannot be too tightly managed because that strict management will constrain creativity.
    • Engage in open discussions, wide reading, input from colleagues, customers, partners — all of this leads to a growing awareness of a need
    • define the problem
    • eliminate common, prosaic ideas
    • simmer — put it on the back burner and let it develop further
    • explore broadly
    • filter, winnow, focus
    • rethink, iterate, start from the top again
    • develop
  • Standard view of the innovation process. This is only half the process because the standard view presents innovation as a linear process. However, thinking is not always linear. Here is the standard linear view:
    • define problem
    • research
    • develop
    • commercialize
  • The iterative Innovation Process. By contrast to the standard view of the innovation process, the iterative innovation process is not a linear process. It looks more like spaghetti.
    • it involves lots of conversation, reading
    • it involves iterating, backtracking, pivoting
  • The Role of Information Access and Analysis Tools. We have tools that are pretty good at finding things we have and things we know. However, innovation requires that we get better at discovering what we do not know. Therefore, our tools need to help us
    • improve exploration and discovery
    • introduce related information without drowning us in superfluous information
    • improve and/or eliminate queries, then help the user frame the question broadly
    • discover unexpected relationships
    • search on a concept level rather than by keywords
    • unite multiple sources of information, including some you may not know
    • collect and share
    • enable information and people interaction in one application
    • save time
  • Cognitive systems are key for serendipitous exploration. Cognitive computing makes a new class of problem computable. This new class of problem:
    • is ambiguous, unpredictable
    • involves conflicting data
    • requires exploration, not searching
    • depends on uncovering patterns and surprises
    • involves shifting situation, goals, information
    • requires best answers that change based on context
    • requires problem solving that goes beyond mere information gathering
  • Context is a differentiator. Every problem may surface in completely different contexts that lead to completely different answers. Cognitive computing is best at addressing these different contexts.
  • Cognitive computing is...
    • meaning-based
    • probabilistic — you get several likely answers rather than just the ONE answer
    • iterative and conversational
    • interactive
    • contextual
    • learns and adapts based on interactions, new information, users
    • it has a big data knowledge base – multiple sources, formats
    • analytics
    • highly integrated set of technologies
  • What cognitive systems do:
    • analyze BIG data
    • understand human language on multiple levels
    • analyse and merge all formats and sources of information
    • uncover relationships across contexts
    • understand and filter content and context
    • find patterns and uncover surprises
  • Examples of cognitive computing at work:
    • Are there new drugs that might be MORE effective for controlling diabetes?
    • Who is funding this terrorist organization and how are the funds delivered? Is this organization a threat?
    • Can I identify the MOST RISKY product or customer problems before they blindside our company?
    • Which company will be the MOST PROMISING M&A target?
  • What cognitive computing is NOT
    • just big data or AI
    • robotics
    • drones
    • humanoids
    • entirely autonomous
    • the singularity
    • a human replacement
  • Cognitive system:
    • start with a question
    • analyze the question — define the kind of question it is and what kind of answer might be required.
    • enable exploring by expanding the problem statement and generating a variety of hypotheses
    • the orchestration element of cognitive computing determines the best way of answering particular type of question — this matches the likely answers to the most appropriate context
    • the cognitive processor is analogous to an index — it matches concepts, it provides confidence algorithms
    • the outcome is the dataset, which is then put through a series of filters
      • who, what, why and when?
      • who else has asked this question?
      • in what context?
    • sent the filtered results to the exploration loop = a set of tools that help visualize and analyze the information
  • Cognitive computing requires a large array of tools — this is necessary because, in many ways, it is trying to replicate the extraordinary ability of the human brain such as
    • facial and feature recognition
    • speech recognition
    • interactive voice response
    • content intelligence
    • about 20 more tools!
  • Barriers to Innovation
    • lack of organizational support
    • party line thinking
    • no time to think
    • too-rigid innovation systems
    • lack of encouragement of innovation
    • too much information
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Taking an Agile Approach to the Digital Workplace #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:  Organizations are looking beyond a sea of separated systems, with the goal of delivering a seamless digital workplace for staff. This brings together intranets, social and collaboration tools and business systems to provide radically better workforce solutions. While the vision is becoming increasingly clear, the question remains: How to get there from here? Robertson explores how to take an agile approach to delivering the full vision, sharing real-world examples from leaders and innovators.

Speaker: James Robertson, Founder, Step Two

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2015 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Three Key Elements of the Digital Workplace.  The hard part is not defining the digital workplace. The hard part is planning (and taking) the journey from where we are to the digital workplace of the future. To take this journey, we need to address three key elements:
    • Technology
    • Business – how we work in the new way that meshes with and supports the digital workplace
    • Design — use design as the “force multiplier” of the digital workplace
  • Coles Case Study. Coles is a large retailer in Australia that had a significant number of employees who were not connected digitally. They did not set out to deliver an intranet, but they did that. They did not set out to deliver Office 365, but they did that as well. The project was owned by the Staff Engagement team. Although the initiative was entirely voluntary, they achieved 100% adoption within the first month.
    • Their approach: they adopted an agile approach that they called Walk, Run, Jump. This means they had a lot of smaller subordinate work streams
  • Robin Partington Case Study. This is an architectural firm that moved to a digital workplace by aggregating a series of small, well-executed projects. The workforce was highly visual and had great design expertise. So these projects are attractive and well-designed. They built this digital workplace from the beginning of the firm. Each piece was built at the point of need and seamlessly integrated into the pre-existing resources. Best of all, they spent a relatively small amount (100 pounds sterling). [James Robertson put this in context by saying that other organizations spend at least this much on a month or two of SharePoint developers and consultants!]
    • their approach was to deliver small solutions deployed an incremental way
    • the challenge is to keep a firm view on the big picture throughout this iterative process
    • part of keeping the big picture in mind includes careful data architecture that is coherent
  • Telstra Case Study. When they created a new HR intranet presence, their goal was to reduce significantly the number of requests for help with HR information and processes. Part of the secret of their success (i.e., significant reduction in help requests)
  • Technology.
    • Take an agile approach — IT is familiar with this and can be a great partner in your efforts.
    • Use the intranet as the test bed for delivering high-value incremental improvements. In other words, test on staff before you try something new with your customer-facing site.
    • Prophet case study: they are constantly looking at what is in the consumer world and then trying to bring the best of the innovations back into their intranet. For example, they have taken the best of the Pinterest and crafting it to fit the work needs and work flow of the organization.
  • Business.
    • Get out from behind your desk/computer to find out how the organization really works.
    • Use true field research to understand how the business operates and how staff work.
    • Prestige Financial case study: they used SharePoint 2013 search to dramatically improve their business processes.
  • Design.
    • Build a strong internal design capability within the digital workplace team.
    • This means usability and information architecture expertise.
    • Commonwealth Bank case study: they have customer experience teams that have completed redesigned how the bank interacts with its customers. They have changed everything from the layout of physical bank branches to the  client-facing mobile applications. This is the ultimate in customer-centered design. (If stodgy, conservative, risk-averse banks can to it, so can the rest of us.)
  • Lessons Learned.
    • Quick wins are not good enough. Low-hanging fruit are not good enough. Instead, focus on small projects that you can deliver rapidly and iterate PROVIDED that they keep moving you towards your ultimate goal AND generate momentum to carry you towards that ultimate goal.
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Integrating KM into Practice Management #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: The Evolution of Practice Innovation:
Are We Successfully Integrating and Embedding KM within Practice Management Systems?
Law firms continue to re-examine traditional approaches to the practice of law, and along the way many have implemented a wide range of changes that enable firms to deliver client services more efficiently. These innovations touch virtually every aspect of our practice and the way our firms are run. Clearly, KM has not been left behind or subsumed into other support functions. However KM must continue to evolve in step with demands that are reshaping the business of law and redefining service delivery models. This discussion will seek to characterize the foundation of a true practice management platform, as well as the ever- changing issues and challenges that KM is trying to navigate. Is KM the cornerstone of a “post-silo” law firm strategy? Or is practice innovation squarely focused on “Business Intelligence” and financial data points, while missing the context in which KM solutions can be deployed?

Speakers:

Toby Brown, Chief Practice Officer, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Keith Lipman, President, Prosperoware

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • What is practice management? Managing matters to achieve client satisfaction and firm profitability.
  • What is the goal? Revenue and Profits!!!  How do we do this? By lowering the cost of delivering services to clients. The answer is not just buying cheaper pencils. It means you need to push work down to the lowest-cost resource within the firm. You need become more efficient in the way you work.
  • What’s the strategy?
    • Few law firm partners are empowered to understand their own contribution to revenue and profits.
    • Far too many law firm partners experience “pro forma surprise.” They do not really know what their matters have generated in terms of maximum billable suntil they see the pro forma. If their team has not billed as much as expected, then their maximum billables are down.
    • You need to know your firm’s profit margin. And you need a clear methodology for achieving that profit margin. Profit measure must be clear, simple and understandably
  • State of the Legal Market: Hyper-competition and flat demand. Corporate Counsel have bigger budgets, but not spending on law firms.
    • Now outside counsel are just a vendor to be handled by the client’s procurement office. In Toby Brown’s words, we are just another toilet paper vendor. This leads to more RFP processes to try to standardize the process for purchasing legal services.
    • Corporate legal departments are growing. They are both controlling the spend and spending differently. In fact, they are moving legal work in-house.
  • How can KM Participate?
    • To quote Kingsley Martin, think about every KM project and ask how far from the bottom line.
    • Consider yourself the provider of “Knowledge Services” rather than a “knowledge manager.”
    • Help lawyers see that increasing their own mastery of KM tools will help them become more efficient.
    • An obvious place for KM concerns “the numbers.” This means providing information and context for numbers such as the cost of a matter: what goes into that cost, what are the variables, etc?
    • Toby estimates that only 10% of law firms actually measure true profitability rather than some proxy for profitability. When the audience was polled, most did not know if their own firms actually measured true profitability rather than some proxy for profitability.
    • Become the best friend of the pricing person in your firm. They will know where the pain points are and which partner is really in pain.
    • There is a great opportunity for KM to help manage outside counsel guidelines and then track performance against those guidelines. At a minimum, read these guidelines to get an early look at emerging trends (e.g., clients are less willing to pay for online legal research).
  • 2016 is going to be really hard
    • The M&A cycle is coming to an end.
    • There is no major litigation wave on the horizon
    • The prospect of significant bankruptcy work is poor.
  • KM needs to be front and center in making 2016 more tolerable (and even successful) for law firms.
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Build a “KM Rapid Response Team” #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: Firm Mergers – How to Build a “KM Rapid Response Team”

When key groups join law firms, or when firm mergers occur, KM is often left standing on the sidelines. Finance, IT, Records, (etc) all spring into action—but what about Knowledge Management? Shouldn’t KM really be the ‘keeper of the playbook’ and able to ‘prep a program’ that can be triggered on a moment’s notice (see: cross-office training and team-building, professional development, experience capture and dissemination, systems integration, exposure of laterals to firm expertise and leadership)? This discussion will explore how firms can leverage KM to support rapid change initiatives in relation to mergers and acqui- sitions. How does a firm’s value proposition change following a merger? And who’s job is it to disseminate, redefine, and characterize the breadth of expertise at the firm? What tools and methodologies can be employed to help integrate new practices and/or resources—while maintaining a common sense of identity or culture?

Speakers:

Silvia LeBlanc, Director of Knowledge Management, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Vishal Agnihotri, Chief Knowledge Officer, Akerman LLP
Ginevra Saylor, National Director, Knowledge Management, Dentons Canada LLP

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • KM has the benefit of broader perspective.  KM tends to operate across silos. It works with a variety of people and functions within the firm. This gives KM professionals diverse knowledge and the ability to connect the dots. This also makes KM the perfect group to create the law firm merger playbook or new hire onboarding resources.
  • Why involve KM? When the firm is in merger mode, the firm will call in marketing, finance, etc. They don’t think to call in KM. However, the KM department is one of the support functions that thinks about business problems the same way
  • Communication. Marketing is extremely good at external communication. KM needs to be just as good at internal communications. Focus on the concerns and anxieties of the people who are on the receiving end of change. If the people in the firm are unhappy or anxious, they cannot deliver great service to clients.
  • Getting a seat at the table.  Bully your way to a seat at the table. Then justify your place at the table by solving problems and getting things done.
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KM’s Role in Leading Innovation & Managing Change in Law Firms #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: KM’s Role in Leading Innovation & Managing Change in Law Firms

Innovation and change management are processes, not projects. And in today’s law firm setting, there is demand for both but great sensitivity around how much change the organization can endure at one time. This next case study will explore the theory and process behind successful innovation as well as how to make change stick—transforming best intentions into best practices—sharing examples concerning the role of KM in innovation and change projects at White & Case.

Speakers:

Alicia Hardy, Director of Professional Support, White & Case (UK) Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer, White & Case

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • How they innovate.
    • Innovation is about accelerating the cycle at which small experiments fail.
    • Turning successes into processes by normalizing them and then scaling them up for wider adoption across the firm.
  • Innovation in law firms is hard.
    • Innovation is often the result of a big crisis. However Big Law does not feel that it is in crisis. So the drive to innovate diminishes.
    • Lawyers and law firms are risk averse.
    • Lawyers and law firms are not tolerant of failure.
  • KM should become the R&D function inside law firms.
  • Managing Change.
    • Focus on the emotional and psychological reactions. A tone-deaf approach to change management will amplify natural human emotions of fear and anxiety.
    • Be aware of dangerous assumptions such as one way is better than another.
    • The stages of acceptance of change are not dissimilar to those in Elisabeth Kubler Ross’ study of the five stages of death and grieving. So be aware of this inevitable journey for every one of your internal clients when you propose a change in the way they work.
  • Kotter’s 8 steps to change
    • (See the wikipedia summary)
    • the burning platform = a sense of urgency
    • pull together the guiding team
    • develop a shared vision and strategy for the proposed change
    • plan at the very beginning for good communication to enable understanding and buy in
    • empower others to act
    • produce short-term wins
    • don’t let up — persistence pays
    • create a new culture — this is about anchoring the new way of being/behaving so people cannot backside
  • Lessons from case studies.
    • Communication is key. People will resist that which they do not understand.
    • Be flexible. Your original plan will  inevitably have to be adapted to special or local conditions. Be open to this — within reason.
    • There is no change without casualties. So be strategic when you pick your casualties (i.e., when you decide who will pay the price for change).
    • When there is real risk attached to project, create a cushion. For example, when you are making dramatic change to the work environment (e.g.,  the DMS), allow people to work in either the new version of the DMS or the old version for a transition period.
    • Because people do not read email, they tried alternative forms of communication. Their most successful method of communication turned out to be sending everyone a postcard.
  • Conclusions:
    • Understand the problem.
    • Adapt the solution to fit your firm.
    • Have a plan, but be prepared to change if..
    • Communication is key. Communicate and promote at every opportunity.
    • Prepare to play the long game. Then everything is possible!
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Why Change Management Strategy Places KM at the Forefront #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: Why Change Management Strategy Places KM at the Forefront

The Intersection of KM, Innovation and Change Management at FMC Technologies At its most basic level, knowledge management is about connecting and collecting. Connecting people so that they can share what they know, and collecting critical knowledge for reuse. When based on achieving business outcomes and done strategically, both connecting and collecting accelerate the rate of knowledge transfer – and therefore the rate of change, the diffusion of innovations, the ability for organizations to learn from their experiences and evolve. Knowledge management underpins the “learning organization”, for which one definition is: “an organization that acquires knowledge and innovates fast enough to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing environment.” There’s a process at FMC Technologies for capturing and leveraging collective knowledge. It is an organizational capability that harnesses synergies between KM, quality, communications, change management and other process improvement initiatives. This talk will illustrate how the company utilizes knowledge management strategies and tools to accelerate collaboration, support innovation and manage change, resulting in cost savings and continuous improvement.

Speaker: Kim Glover, Manager of Knowledge Management, FMC Technologies

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • KM Depends on Culture. The core values of the organization set the stage for (or against) knowledge management. Key core values are quality, safety and innovation.
  • Quality. Instead of talking about change, talk about being a learning organization. That focus on effective learning will drive higher quality across the board.
  • Collaborative Environment.
    • Agile/adaptive
    • Efficiency
    • Diverse/Equal
    • Safe — create a “safe-to-fail” environment
    • Accessibility/reciprocity/trust – “You know trust exists when the pronoun ‘we’ is used more often than ‘I’.”
  • A Map for more innovative collaboration and knowledge management:
    • collaboration
    • facilitation
    • learning
    • knowledge architecture
    • knowledge capture
  • Their KM toolbox.
    • Wikis
    • Facilitated collaboration
    • Advanced search and auto-categorization
    • Datamining services — this can provide data and surface trends
    • Surveys
    • Events — including KM events (wikithons) and events regarding corporate values such as safety.
    • Discussion Forum — it allows for up-to-the moment conversations by people at the frontline, which then fuels new learning/teaching opportunities and possible changes in procedures and documented knowledge.
  • 70-20-10 Model of Learning. 
    • 10% of learning happens in formal training sessions.
    • 20% of learning comes through social or informal interactions.
    • 70% of training is experiential and happens on the job.
  • How to support change with KM.
    • Your KM team should perform as internal consultants. Help your internal clients identify their business problems and potential solutions
    • Embed KM in the flow of work.
    • Think big, but execute isn bite-size pieces.
    • Try things!
    • Cultivate favorite internal customers.
    • Be humble and let happy customers sing your praises.
    • Listen. Listen. Listen.Then Listen again. Learn what your internal customers want/think/feel.
    • Tie everything you to do business outcomes.
    • Connect with other departments. Empower them with KM.
    • Repeat your mantra/message again and again. But use plain language. Market internally until your internal customers start using your words to describe your services and impact.
    • Bring diversity to your program and your outlook.
    • It takes both a top-down and bottom-up approach to achieve good KM.
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Matter Profiling: What’s in it for Me? #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: Matter Profiling: What’s In It For Me?
Law firms are increasingly invested in matter profiling to help support the collection of knowledge and data that can be mined for more effective search and analytics. Experience capture, financial data and other knowledge artifacts are critical to the success of any LPM, process or pricing initiatives, and can involve disparate teams throughout the matter lifecycle. This panel discussion will tap various firm functions for their unique perspectives concerning both how and why client and matter profiling is critical and how each function benefits from a “matter lifecycle” focus.

Speakers: 

Peter Kaomea, Chief Information Officer, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Vic Peterson, Chief Information Officer, Stinson Leonard Street LLP,
Brent Miller, former Global Director of Knowledge Management, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • The data is the knowledge. Stinson has created a Unified data platform that shows the tools they own and how the data in each of those tools flows across tools/platform. They have moved beyond an old-fashioned data warehouse to database field relationships. The trigger for this effort was the move to Thomson Reuters 3E.
  • Throw away the word “profiling.”  What we are really doing is attaching useful metadata to specific records and then linking that metadata in meaningful and useful ways to enable better knowledge transparency and flow within the firm. Creating and applying the right metadata requires real expertise and skill. This is an area in which KM professionals could shine.
  • What does good metadata enable? Here are a handful of examples:
    • legal project management
    • alternative pricing arrangements
    • representative experience
    • business development
    • precedent retrieval
    • cyber security that provides security without crippling the practice of law
  • What are the big “waves” or challenges KM must confront?  You need both the content AND the metadata in order to respond effectively to:
    • Resilience: law firms downtown have learned that digitizing their records, coupled with a strong network, allows them to be up and running despite disasters and disruptions such as 9/11, the northeast power outage of 2003, the Japanese Tsunami and Superstorm Sandy.
    • Cyber Security: the challenge is to provide extreme security (e.g., completely locking down the entire DMS and email archives) while enabling massive sharing. If you do things incorrectly, people are working blind.  If you do it well, the relevance (i.e., signal) goes up and the distractions go down (i.e., noise). A lockdown of the DMS and email archives at Sullivan & Cromwell triggered renewed interest in KM. Suddenly practice groups started mining their documents and data, and then providing it to colleagues. (S&C does allow lawyers to see some metadata on locked down matters. If lawyers find a possible match in matters, they can request that KM review the matter to see if there are documents that would in fact be useful to the lawyer making the enquiry.)
    • Cognitive Computing: Cognitive computing is an example of technology enabling enormous new heights of productivity. As computer power grows, we facing an opportunity and a threat. We should plan for it.
  • Ask the right questions and then study the facts. At Stinson, they did a study of their DMS use and found that most lawyers used only 3% of the DMS, and these were largely recent documents. Therefore, they felt comfortable with their limited hybrid approach to locking down parts of the DMS.  Because they did the study, they were able to make the case for overriding a lawyer’s “hunch” that they need unrestricted access to the entire DMS at all times.
  • “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste!”
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Working Backwards to the Technology #ArkKM

Session Title and Description:  Working Backwards to the Technology:

Focusing on User Experience to Enhance the Practice of Law Technology is an important—indeed critical—enabler for knowledge management, but allowing the technology tail to wag the KM dog can lead to serious problems. Focusing first on user experience is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive; but doing so will help ensure success.

Speaker:

Patrick V. DiDomenico, Director of Knowledge Management, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Steve Jobs: “…you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it.”
  • Lessons:
    • Technology is an important enabler for KM. So don’t be a Luddite.
    • Good user experience is time-consuming and expensive to create, but worth it.
    • If the user experience is too demanding, the user will become frustrated and depleted. It’s a lot like decision fatigue. (See the Isreali Parole Board study.)
    • If the technology provides bad or incorrect information, the customer experience will be suboptimal.
    • The best technology disappears and the best user interface disappears. They leave a great user experience.
    • Don’t settle for bad user experience. Question things.
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Making Law Firm KM Easier for Lawyers #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: Connecting and Collecting: How Law Firms of Various Shapes and Sizes Make it Easier for Attorneys to Use and Contribute Knowledge

Legal KM succeeds when attorneys use it frequently through their matters and when knowledge collection requires minimal extra work. This panel discussion will feature KM leaders from firms of various sizes discussing how their organization effectively connects their attorneys with knowledge resources — as well as how they efficiently collect knowledge resources from their attorneys. The panel will address connecting and collecting techniques at each phase of a matter; the differences in resources and cultures among firms that may result in different approaches to the connection and collection challenges; and practical ways for KM leaders in different types of organizations to get started with either more effectively connecting, more efficiently collecting, or both.

Speakers:

Meredith L. Williams, Chief Knowledge Management Officer, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC,
Patrick G. Dundas, Associate, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP,
Kevin Colangelo, Vice President, Strategic Accounts, Bloomberg BNA

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • 5 Phases of Law Firm KM
    • Traditional content management
    • Technology and content enhancement
    • Client-facing KM products and services
    • Using technology to enhance practices and products
    • Total practice management
  • The Low-Impact KM Resource Journey.
    • Buying an off-the-shelf content product such as model documents and practice notes from The Practical Law Company.
    • Implementing better technology — but a good document management system requires human input for content and for metadata.
    • Enable search or provide concierge search services.
    • They collect all of the “pardon the interruption” or “request for information” emails that are sent to solicit experts and work product. This helps connect people to the resources they need.
    • Document assembly projects are a great way to distill the knowledge of the firm.
  • Data Classification.
    • Baker Donelson undertook a project to identify all their critical systems, all the data points in each critical system, and how the data flows between these systems. This means that they understand all the matters, phases and tasks. And they know specifically which KM resource will be helpful for each matter, phase and task. They also have information governance standards because they do a great deal of healthcare work and must comply with regulation regarding information confidentiality and preservation.
    • Instead of classifying individual documents, classify at the matter level.
  • Should we be in the business of creating and maintaining precedent databases?
    • Schulte Roth says no. It is an uphill struggle that never can be one.
    • Baker Donelson says it is only possible with the full cooperation of practicing lawyers. The firm provides billable hour credit to do this. And, when the resulting work product is sold to clients, the creators receive some of the sales price (after the firm’s venture fund is repaid).
    • How to involve attorneys when you do not have a venture fund? Dundas suggests publishing the unapproved forms with warning labels that they are beta-test ready but may not yet have the highest-level of internal approval. Then get the necessary improvements and approvals as you use them in the course of a matter.
  • Shadow the lawyers in the firm.   This is the best way to understand how the attorneys work and whether they have the right tools. Then make sure you give them the right tools.
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Client and Matter Profiling through the Matter Lifecycle #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: Client/Matter Profiling Throughout the Matter Lifecycle

Imagine capturing context from the get-go and approaching matter intake as an opportunity to define the parameters of knowledge collection, and then building this into the workflow of every matter the firm takes on. When a new client or a new legal project comes to a firm, the priority is to create a new client and matter file in the firm’s accounting system as quickly as possible. However, establishing a record in the accounting system for billing purposes is just the beginning. Data at the client level (and related party level) and the matter level (legal project level) must be collected from the time of inception of the client/matter through the end of the engagement. It’s simply not enough to talk about what data should be collected, there needs to be a discussion about the limitations and difficulties. Where do you start, and what is a minimum feasible approach that can support the value of concept?

Speakers:

Chris Boyd, Senior Director of Professional Services, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati,
Chad C. Ergun, Director, Global Practice Services & Business Intelligence, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP,
Deborah S. Panella, Director of Library & Knowledge Services, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Why matter profiling is important. Matter profiling facilitates better marketing, understanding client needs, pricing, selling, RFPs/pitches, identifying expertise, delivering legal services.
  • Matter profile requirements.
    • Accurate. Ideally, matter profiles are accurate. However, too often this is not reality.
    • Comprehensive
    • Consistent — using an agreed taxonomy
    • Done within routine workflow.
    • Completed as quickly as possible.
  • Challenges to matter profiling.
    • Too many cooks — every department/constituency has different reasons for participate and different expectations for the outcome. They also choose different ways of participating. At the end of the day, all they share is the belief that cooperation with matter profiling is a good thing — at least in theory!
    • Timing — too often asking lawyers for matter profiling is a timing challenge. You ask them before they know or after they care. Both yield suboptimal results. (It is very hard to interrupt attorneys in the middle of a matter to get their insights for matter profiling. The attorneys are more focused on client deadlines than internal knowledge needs.)
    • Time & Effort — participants do not always believe that they receive results that are commensurate with the time and effort involved.
    • Quality Assurance — it can be hard to standardize approaches, because the approaches are the result of differing workflows and work beliefs. For example, it can be hard for marketing and KM to agree on industry codes. And that is only one data point.
  • Capture and Consume. As much as there are challenges to capturing the necessary information, there is an equivalent challenge in displaying it in a form that is easy to consume by lawyers and law firm support functions.
    • Automate as much as possible in terms of capture and display.
    • Skim the cream off the new business in-take process — leverage that system as much as possible.
    • Consider whether there are any bits of information you can extract from legal documents as they are being developed in the course of an engagement.
    • When you capture the data, put it at the right level: should it be associated with the client or with the matter or even a sub-matter?
    • Provide an alert system to focus KM on creating even a rudimentary matter profile at the beginning of the matter.
    • Wilson Sonsini uses a document assembly tool (contract express) to help lawyers profile the matters they are working on.
    • Wilson Sonsini “pays” lawyers with billable hour credit (up to a cap) for assisting with these profiles.
    • Wilson Sonsini also provides deal profile and fee information to lawyers, to help them provide ballpark figures to clients who are inquiring about the cost of new representation.
    • Another firm creates  a closed matter questionnaire. Before providing the questionnaire to the lead attorney on the matter, they complete as much of the questionnaire as possible from other internal and external sources. Then these completed questionnaires are indexed by Recommind to serve back to the lawyers information on precedents and expertise.
    • White & Case uses their process of creating electronic closing binders to capture additional matter profile information. This work is done in their Manila office.
  • Use external resources. Sometimes it faster to receive notification of deal closings from external resources than internal resources. (Lawyers don’t always remember to report closings.)
  • Collaborate.
    • Involve marketing, legal secretaries, practice groups, the records department, etc.
  • Show the results.
    • Find ways to surface the data back to the lawyers.
    • Use the data to identify legal expertise and then mash that up with individual lawyer skills (e.g., language skills).
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