Knowledge Management Round-Up for 2021: Groundhog Day

14 Jan

By Gwyneth McAlpine

Photo by Aaron J Hill on Pexels.com

Many of you know that each year, I post a round-up of Knowledge Management (KM) programming produced by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA).  My goal is to collect the KM-related content and, in cataloging it, reflect on the themes of the past year.  You can find past years’ editions here: 2020201920182017 and 2016.  Keep reading for this year’s version. 

Because KM-related interests can be very broad, there is some editorial discretion in compiling this list.  I focus on content targeted to a KM audience, produced by members of the KM community and/or a sprinkling of other topics that seems to be relevant to KM (or me) right now.  I do include Marketing Technology content, mostly because I know that through ILTA, it is often produced in tandem with KM colleagues, but also because this is a key area for KM to stay informed about.  My editorial discretion does mean that you probably want to visit the ILTA archives for more, particularly if your scope of KM responsibility includes adjacent functions like Information Governance or E-Discovery.  Be sure to sign in for access to the whole library.  If you attended ILTACON, ILTA’s annual conference in August, you will have even more recordings available to you.  They are omitted below because of their limited access. 

In creating this year’s round-up, I looked back at last year’s.  The tone conveyed confidence that the worst was behind us and hope for a pandemic-free, return-to-normal year.  Well, I’ve learned my lesson and will not be predicting what 2022 will bring.  But I can tell you about themes from 2021, derived from the content produced:

  • Roles are changing. There is a lot of content on evolving roles, upskilling, team collaboration and getting to know fresh voices in our community.  To me this reflects trends we are seeing more broadly.  The pandemic accelerated new ways of working and new priorities, resulting in a rapid evolution in roles and responsibilities. In tandem, the job market is going bonkers, creating new opportunities and, for some, new colleagues.  Many of us are focused more than ever on the people aspects of our roles, and there is much food for thought below to support that.
  • Podcasts continue to be popular. Nearly one-third of the listings below are podcasts! If you, like me, have lapsed on those regular walks around the neighborhood, make a resolution to load your mobile device with podcasts and restart those walks.  Podcasts are short and conversational, perfect for a lunchtime outing.  I’ve included duration so you can create a playlist of appropriate length,
  • Crossover topics reign. Each year, I find it harder to categorize the content because there is so much interweaving of topics.  The author or presenter may touch on strategy, innovation, skills, specific software and user adoption in a single contribution.  KM sees opportunity everywhere, which is reflected in this year’s offerings.  Thus, the categories below are simply loose guides.

AI and Automation

Cross-Team Collaboration

Data Mining & Analytics

Experience Management

Innovation

Marketing Technology

Product Development

Professional Development / Changing Roles

Series: Fresh Voices of Legal Tech

Strategy

Tech Tools & Adoption

Be safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, and take care of each other.  The KM community is indeed a community.  Let’s continue to learn from, and lean on, each other.  Here’s to 2022!

#KnowledgeManagementandSearch
#MarketingandBusinessDevelopment
#Firm

Changing World, Changing Role – The Rise of the Tech-Savvy Marketer – Part Three

17 Dec

By Rachel Shields Williams

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

Marketing technologists have always been persuading law firms to change, like moving from a Rolodex to a CRM, a printed brochure to a website, and the list goes on. In the last year, the message has not changed, but the audience has become more receptive to the message. So now that lawyers are listening and more motivated than ever before to participate in client-focused technology, what skills need to be honed to leverage this extraordinary level of attention and engagement from stakeholders?

Change Management
Today’s world is changing so fast, and we need to not only change with it but bring other people along. Marketing technologists need to address and understand what needs to change while 1) not overwhelming people’s capacity to change, and 2) keeping people motivated while the change is taking place. Change is hard, and it takes a lot of energy; our role in the process is to help remind people of the “why” and keep them engaged.

Imagination
There is no easy button for the client service questions we are trying to solve in today’s business world. Marketing technologists need to look beyond what something “does” and think creatively about alternative use cases and share with their business partners “wouldn’t it be great if” ideas. They also need to reimagine processes and roles. Sometimes we don’t need to purchase a new tool; sometimes we need to change the process and who does what in that process. Even something as simple as cleaning data, so the technology works more efficiently and accurately, can make a difference.

Intellectual Curiosity
Yesterday’s solution is not necessarily the best tool for the problem today, and as a marketing technologist, you must be willing to challenge your past decisions. Be curious about the “why” behind the problem and about the world around you. New tools, solutions, and ideas abound in the legal technology space, so attend conferences (virtual or in-person) and meet with the business partners – hearing what they are doing and how they are helping other companies may inspire the next solution.

People Management
It’s not necessary to have an official management role to manage people, and the majority of projects will require us to work with stakeholders outside of our department. The modern marketing technologist will need to work within matrixed teams and lead people who don’t report to them, or even work on their direct team or department. Marketing technologists will also need to manage up to help leaders advocate for resources and communicate the technology’s “why” and “how”. If you are managing a team, remember their success is your success. Great teams don’t just happen; it takes intentional time, energy, and adjustments to create high-performing teams.

#Firm
#MarketingandBusinessDevelopment
#KnowledgeManagementandSearch

Business Efficiency Tools We Can’t Live Without Post-Covid

17 Dec

By Tara Patterson

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

To say priorities have shifted greatly over the past year and a half is an understatement. Many of us have been tasked with developing and implementing tools and processes allowing for more remote collaboration. Requests have grown in complexity with even quicker turnaround times expected – mainly because we have learned through this pandemic that our workforce is adaptable. To accommodate this progression, we now have technological solutions in our (virtual) tool belts that are indispensable.

You literally cannot be efficient if you cannot communicate. If you recall from our 2020 KM Survey, there was an incredible uptick in collaboration tools. Obviously, no firm can function right now without a video conferencing tool and Zoom seems to be the system of choice (harkening back to our survey were 66% of respondents noted Zoom as their preferred software). In 2019, most firms had limited users/licenses with Zoom, WebEx, and other similar video conferencing. Now, most staff and lawyers have an individual accounts forgoing telephone conferencing solutions and landlines. How seamlessly we went from hurried calls on a dial-up phone and having to send emails to view the same materials to “hopping on a quick” video chat to share screens, collaborate on updates in real-time. Pre-pandemic, some firms were only starting to integrate VoIP solutions. Today, Zoom is such an integral part of our day-to-day it has entered our lexicon as a generic term to encompass any video call.

Also in popularity is Microsoft Teams. And no wonder. It slices, it dices, it minces. Well, not really, but it is the technological epitome of collaboration. It centralizes discussions (rescuing us from never-ending email chains), collates notes, documents, and project updates (to name a few) into an easily accessible channel with customizable alerts for each team member. Further enhancing connectivity, it has a chat feature (fully searchable) and is another source for video calling and full telephony (assumingly, one already integrated with all firm users of Microsoft products). It has taken project team productivity to a new level.  Remote work is the norm, online collaboration is a necessity.

The need to automate is ever pressing. So, it is not shocking the increased usage of document automation tools. Document automation significantly improves organization and control over work. It drastically reduces paper use and the need for printing and reduces the time needed to fill, share and store documents – all tasks made more complex virtually. HotDocs, Contract Express and Formstack have become common software over the past year. Firms are developing teams focused on creating automated documents for both internal and external use. These roles barely existed pre-pandemic. Now, firms are struggling to find experienced staffers to handle the increase of document automation requests.

One reason we cannot live without these tools now is how it fits better into our new work-life balance. The tools mentioned are all mobile-friendly. Beyond where we physically work, the way we work has changed, too. Business and personal lives are intermixed. We are not just working from our home office on a laptop. We are tackling tasks on our digital devices while taking out kids to soccer, visiting a public park for fresh air and mental clarity or doing curbside pick-up on groceries since 1 pm was the only timeslot left for the day. The need to access firm resources from mobile devices is the new norm. Only a few short years ago, firms were trying to limit mobile access for security purposes. The need for continual and instantaneous connectively along with increases in mobile security now have firms prioritizing mobile solutions. Lawyers regularly ask if the technological solutions we provide can be accessed from their phones.

This is a small sampling of business efficiency tools firms are utilizing. The adoption of innovative technologies will continue to evolve. Go-to solutions today many become back-burner and no longer back pocket. What are some of the more unique technologies your firms have been using? Do you see the list of must-have tools changing as we move to hybrid environments? Let’s continue the discussion in our ILTA Community pages. It has been an interesting year, so sharing what we are using helps us all be even quicker to adapt and assist our law firms in the continuous drive for efficiency and improvement in productivity.

Product Jobs Are Next

17 Dec

By Jason Dirkx

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

Several years ago, I was on the ILTACON Conference Committee and was responsible for assembling a panel on “jobs in new law.”  At the time there was a lot going on around KM roles, some innovation stuff and a rise in e-discovery.  About five years later, contrast this with a recent post of mine on Twitter that stemmed from a discussion on client-facing KM.  Long thread short, I’m convinced the next winners in legal are going to be those that secure the product talent.

Let me unpack that…it’s no secret that I have an interest in productized legal services.  Even so, the stars seem to be aligned for a significant uptick in productization in the near term.  If that uptick comes to fruition, it will come from product professionals with skill sets that are mostly absent from law firms today.  However, the pervasiveness of these positions generally combined with the current skilled labor shortages seems to be setting the stage for a run on product talent in legal where there will indeed be winners and losers.

Products are so hot right now

Productization (or packaging) of legal services is by no means a new concept. In fact, Richard Susskind was outlining the benefits of packaging as early as The End of Lawyers? in 2008.  With the obligatory Susskind reference out of the way, I can now turn to the factors that are coalescing to make the time right for productization.  First and foremost, there is mounting evidence that law firms are actually engaging in this activity.  On top of that, there are increasing financial incentives that should increase the attention on these opportunities.  Moreover, there are attorney mental health and well being challenges that could shift interest in the product direction.  All of these factors make for fertile soil in which to sow some legal products.

One of the leading indicators I’ve experienced that productization among law firms is increasing is that there is mounting evidence of firms actually doing it.  In my direct experience, I recently left a job where I was working for about 7 years helping to productize legal services via ComplianceHR. Additionally, Simmons and Simmons in the UK has been productizing their services for years with a substantial portfolio of products at this point. While these are only two examples, I was pleasantly surprised at Ark group’s KM Legal in October of this year to see how many firms were touting some form of productized legal service; there was even an entire panel on the topic with @Scott Rechtschaffen@Nicole Bradick@Scott Bailey and @Ed Walters all touting productization projects.  Also, recently Nicola Shaver made the observation on Twitter that many of those that created self-intro videos for the Skills Showcase in January were looking forward to client-facing KM projects (which are basically just a form of productization).  To add yet more fuel to this fire, Jasmine Gavigan, creator of vrtu, a platform for productizing services, particularly legal services, recently posted a how-to video on getting started with creating legal service products.  These are just a few of many examples.  As the profile of these projects increase, you will continue to see more and more packaging projects out of law firms.  And it’s not just that this evidence alone points to an acceleration, but also that the evidence itself will generate even more activity.  As many of you know, law firms are generally loathe to risk first movement on novel practice innovations.  However, the mounting evidence means that it will be increasingly “safer” for firms to experiment with these innovations (along with increasing competitive pressure to do so).

In addition to the sheer fact that law firms are increasingly engaging in productization, there are more and clearer financial incentives aligning to further fund productization in legal.  Rudy De Felice, CEO of Keesal Propulsion Labs, gave a keynote at KM Legal spelling out the myriad factors aligning to increase funding in the legal technology startup space.  Now this space is much broader than productized legal services.  However, it will most certainly include packages services and, moreover, Rudy identified “Self-help legal services”, which is almost entirely products/packaging, as one of the 5 likely hot spots for legal tech investing in the near future.  So how does all of this increased funding help law firms?  Well, as far as I can see, it doesn’t.  However, what it does do is increase the activity in this space, particularly by startups that could challenge portions of law firm business through productized services.  In other words, this increases the pressure that if law firms don’t take on this work, someone else will; it serves as a stick driving more productization.

If increased competition is the stick, improved quality of life is the carrot.  There is a real and current crisis among attorneys’ mental well-being and quality of life. Some of the factors cited are the pressure to bill a large number of hours and the lack of autonomy, particularly to pursue novel business opportunities.  The current billable hour model can resemble a hamster wheel for attorneys.  You can futz with the margins by raising billing rates, improving realization and looking more diligently at staffing and leverage, but the fundamental model requires the continuous creation of billable hours.  The current pace is unsustainable and clearly unhealthy.  One way to relieve this pressure is to diversify the lines of business in which a law firm realizes revenue.  A product line of business would leverage existing attorney expertise, likely meet unmet legal needs of clients and create an additional line of revenue that would reduce the pressure for the entire firm revenue to come from attorney hours.  This should reduce reliance on high billable hour targets and unsustainable attorney pace.  

Where do products come from?

If this impending product-ocalypse (productathon? product-geddon? I dunno, comment if you have better names) comes to fruition, then law firms will need product talent up and down the business side of the firm.  Law firms generally don’t employ people with product skills now and almost all of the folks they do employ are geared toward a service business.  For example, most law firm marketing professionals are accustomed to selling their lawyers’ services.  This typically means assembling RFPs with profiles of all of their attorneys with their accomplishments, accolades and historical wins.  However, product marketing is a different beast entirely; it requires telling a compelling story about why this widget that we have is the widget that you need.  It requires a deep understanding of the customers’ business processes and how the widget will streamline, change or generally make those processes better.  It often requires metrics and case studies to prove that point.  And then there’s sales…products have to be sold and law firms don’t really sell. Period. Full stop.  Sure, adept lawyers generate business relationships, but true sales is so much deeper and more nuanced than what lawyers typically engage in.  And these are just the start, there are engineers, architects, designers, product support and on.

Now I can hear all of my fellow legal innovation people starting to murmur “What about all of those fancy client innovation projects that are winning awards? Aren’t those products? And people built those…why not just utilize that?”  I understand why you would think that, but they are two distinct activities.  Client innovation projects are often packaging without the product discipline.  Most client innovation projects start with a single client need (often a “tent-pole” firm client) and are kicked off as a way to strengthen that relationship (the stickiness factor).  These projects are usually developed collaboratively with the client and the attorney and reflect that client’s idiosyncrasies; it’s their business processes, their preferences, the data points they use.  Conversely, the decision to develop a product is a bet.  It’s a bet that there is a broad market need and the widget you’re making solves that need.  Product development eschews idiosyncrasies in favor of consistency.  It strives to identify patterns and commonality amongst the market players and to create something that will be adopted by the masses.  Doing this involves market research, prospective client interviews, frequent feedback, etc. Now sure, you could take a single client product and attempt to make a product out of it.  But unless you started with a product mindset, it is going to involve a lot of rework and a highly inefficient and likely unsustainable method for getting to a viable product.  You need professionals that are looking for and thinking about product opportunities from the outset.

Ok, so what? All of the law firms will just start hiring product professionals when they’re ready, right?  Well, there are a few issues there.  First, it’s not clear to me that firms will understand out of the gate that they need product professionals.  Law firms have a history of inventing terminology unique to the industry (a form of legal exceptionalism).  If firms make forays down this path, they may find themselves behind the eight ball when the product-athalon (seriously, I need help naming this) begins.  Even if law firms decide they need product talent, product professionals are employed broadly across all sorts of industries.  They will have to compete with the broader market for talent.  On top of that, if you haven’t yet heard, there’s a skilled labor shortage which makes being a new entrant into this labor market particularly challenging.

At this point, it probably sounds like I’m outlining a losing scenario for firms.  I’m not.  If you’ve read any of my prior articles, I think productization of legal services is a HUGE opportunity for firms for all of the reasons above amongst many others.  However, this won’t be a trend that all firms will be able to fully get on board with as it will be limited by the talent available.  So the winners in this next trend in legal services, the Legal Product 500 (okay, I’ll stop), will be the ones who are able to identify early on the need for product talent, hire up that talent and incorporate them into their business as revenue generators.

Knowledge Management As Educators

23 Apr
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Adam Dedynski, Knowledge Management Project Manager, Reed Smith

This blog is part of our “Foundations of Knowledge Management” and “The Evolving Role of Education” series.

Knowledge Management (KM) professionals can play a vital, and often varied, role when it comes to delivering formal learning. KM lawyers create and deliver training on legal topics, law librarians provide legal research or database training, and innovation and KM managers provide training on technology or processes. How this is shaped and delivered is always evolving, particularly with the move toward remote working. This blog outlines some of those trends and ideas for delivering engaging education.

Planning

Spending time planning and structuring learning from the outset is important. Engage with your lawyers or business services professionals about what they want to learn about and how. You could send a survey, speak to key individuals, or set up a ‘training ideas’ portal. For legal training you could create a series based on legal procedures or stages in a transaction (although think about the levels of experience as the needs of a junior and senior lawyer will often be different). At Reed Smith our innovation training series focuses on themes (such as data and design thinking). Consider, however, if formal learning is the most appropriate method as a lot of learning is best gained through hands on experience.

KM crosses paths with many teams, such as IT, Marketing and Learning & Development (L&D) so collaborate if a topic lends itself (electronic signatures is a good example as it’s a blend of law, technology and process). If you have an L&D department it is particularly worth engaging with them as they can offer advice on strategy, planning, presenting, technology platforms, and potentially share administrative duties.

Speaker engagement

People at all levels can deliver training, however, you do need someone who has the right experience and skills to engage with an audience (be that virtual or in-person). If there are people outside of KM that know a lot about a particular piece of technology or area of law then you could ask them to lead a session (for example, a senior lawyer talking about one of their high-profile or complex matters).

Sometimes you may not have the in-house experience or people with the right skills to deliver training. Therefore, think about how external speakers could play a role (often at no cost). Ask barristers (if you are in the UK) or experts to present about a topic, or ask vendors to demonstrate how best to use their technology. If budget allows, then paying for external speakers can be more effective and cost-efficient.

It is time-consuming to deliver consistent and good quality training even if you have a large and well-supported KM team. You should be upfront about the time commitment and clear about what you would like your speaker to deliver.

Delivery

Time is a critical factor at play in law firms so striking the right balance is important. Legal training in particular can take a long time if the topic is complex or new, therefore, think about breaking it down. Committing to a thirty or fifteen minute session rather than an hour may be more realistic or appealing for attendees. Try a few different approaches and analyse feedback or metrics.

There are many ways to make your training interactive or engaging, you could include a quiz or gaming element, or if the session is over a video platform think about using the functionality on offer such as break-out rooms, polls, or live annotation. Recording sessions allows for more flexibility as do podcasts, which are becoming an increasingly popular way of learning. Workshops or boot camps can also be an impactful way for people to learn and network but don’t underestimate the time and effort it can take to create and deliver them.

If you are organising or delivering a live session give plenty of notice and send reminders. Think carefully about the time or day (take into account time zones or national holidays if it is cross-border). If training virtually, ensure that you and/or the speakers are familiar with the technology platform and offer support, guidance or a demo in advance. That said, at some stage everyone experiences technical issues or last minute changes (such as a speaker cancellation) so be prepared for anything!

While this blog focuses on delivering in-person or virtual training, KM professionals play a role in creating precedents, best practice guides, databases etc., which are another essential component of educating people. See our previous blogs for further details.*

Conclusion

With the increase in remote working everyone has been forced to quickly adapt their approach to learning. Now is a great time to assess what worked well and what the future might look like.

Additional Resources to Review: KM for newbies Legal KM in a Time of Coronavirus: Back to BasicsPrecedent Collections

Changing World, Changing Role – The Rise of the Tech-Savvy Marketer (Part 1 – Junior Marketers)

5 Feb

By Rosa Colon, Marketing Technology Manager, Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Photo by Gabriel Santos Fotografia on Pexels.com

Introduction to Upcoming Two-Part Blog Series:
Those entering the marketing profession were taught that developing their talents in creative writing and data analysis would set them on a successful career path. But the savvy among us knows that adapting to the technological changes in how we apply those skills is critical in today’s world. Proficiency in design software along with managing social media accounts and developing strong SEO tactics are becoming the new norms in a marketer’s toolbox. Marketers today must engage in and demonstrate continuous learning.

This two-part series explores the technological know-how needed during the early stage of a junior marketer’s career and than will move into the more advanced skills essential for experienced marketers to grow their personal brand.

Part 1 – Junior Marketers

Life can turn on a dime. There’s been no greater example of this in our lifetime than the experience of this past year. Our lives have been in a seemingly endless spin. Not only have we been faced with an unimaginable health crisis but we also had to quickly pivot in every aspect—work and home. As 2020 progressed, it came as no surprise that technology had taken an even greater foothold across the board in our organizations.

For marketing technologists especially, the past year provided a unique opportunity for our roles within our firms. An opportunity to flex our MarTech muscles. Where previously we might have been mostly in the shadows implementing various tools and platforms; working across departments, managing service providers and integrations, losing sleep over delayed projects / potential blackouts / privacy concerns / advocating for centralized data warehouses with advanced visualization capabilities—the pandemic has placed a spotlight on us, the tools we manage, our roles and our distinct set of skills.

As we begin to emerge from the ashes of the dumpster fire of a year that 2020 was, it’s clearer now more than ever that the role of the marketing technologist is destined for its own dedicated seat at the leadership table and a necessary, integral part of our respective organizations and firms.

No doubt the world is changing at break-neck speeds which means that our roles as marketers and technologists are rapidly evolving, as well. Too often I hear stories of organizations focusing on a specific platform or tool solving all their respective “problems.” From my perspective, being a truly tech-savvy marketer does not rely on any one solution or technology but rather means consistently developing and building upon key fundamental skills and leveraging emerging technologies at each step to solve specific needs and anticipate future use cases.

With that being said, what skills should marketers (especially junior marketers) be nurturing today to ensure they are well prepared for this inevitable leadership role of marketing technologists? I think it’s important to go back to basics and consider the soft and hard skills needed to be agile and adaptable in these roles. Certainly not an exhaustive list however here are 5 fundamental skills every junior marketer and technophile should develop.

Interpersonal communication skills and emotional intelligence
Evaluating, implementing, and managing emerging technologies requires effective communication skills—written, non-verbal, and verbal. Day-to-day you are dealing with vendors, colleagues across departments and your clients. Efficiently providing solutions and tools to your organization means successfully exchanging information with other people. I added emotional intelligence as well because I think it’s incredibly important to understand your clients (in-house and externally) and challenges they face. Leading these conversations with empathy helps everyone and can also help you advocate and persuade, as needed.

Project management skills
Often overlooked, I think project management skills are another key foundational trait of the marketing technologist of tomorrow. Marketing projects can be complex with aggressive deadlines and limited budgets. They require meticulous planning, execution, and performance monitoring. Having a strong knowledge of project management techniques is essential to overall project success.

Strategic decision making skills
Marketing projects, in my personal opinion, should always consider an organization’s long-term strategic and business development goals. It’s extremely easy as a junior marketing technologist to focus on the issue at hand and neglect the bigger picture. Especially if you are not privy to conversations above your pay-grade, so-to-speak. Asking questions is a great and effective way to obtain clarity on projects. That allows you to discern the request and proceed with the best approach. 

Data analysis and manipulation
A marketing technologists’ world is full of data and gaining access to data is only getting easier albeit more difficult to wrangle. Learning and implementing methods of effectively collecting, organizing, and analyzing data is essential to the role. With extremely powerful data visualization tools becoming more and more popular, I fear junior marketers will also miss out on a key rite of passage—learning (and loving) programs like Microsoft Excel.

Development architecture, frameworks and UX design
Implementing a MarTech stack means working with service providers and across departments as stated earlier, most often IT. While it’s not necessary for marketing technologists to be formally trained in these areas, it is necessary to have a general understanding. These groups also have a language of their own. Educating yourself on the language and concepts for web and application development architecture, frameworks, and user experience (UX) design is key to ensuring your MarTech success.

“Luck is the residue of opportunity and design.” – Branch Rickey
I once read that a marketing technologist is a “part doer, and part conductor of an orchestra.” That resonated with me because the visual was so powerful. As a marketing technology manager, I do feel like I’m conducting an orchestral masterpiece!

As awful as this past year has been, I’m hopeful and I do think that marketing technologists have been provided a lucky hand. If we’re intentional and purposeful in the skills we develop, the conversations we take part in, and the strategies we influence we can help elevate not only our organizations but our roles as well.

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#MarketingandBusinessDevelopment
#martech
#Marketing
#VeryLarge(over500)
#Large(251-500)
#Medium(151-250)
#Small(under151)
#Firm
#KnowledgeManagementandSearch
#LawSchool
#ProfessionalDevelopment
#marketingtechnology
#YoungProfessionals

Knowledge Management Round-Up for 2020: A Bright Spot in a Cruddy Year

8 Jan

Knowledge Management Round-Up for 2020: A Bright Spot in a Cruddy Year

By Gwyneth McAlpine, Director of Knowledge Management Services, Perkins Coie

2020 was rough, and we’re moving on.  But on the bright side, ILTA members created another treasure trove of useful content on knowledge management (KM) topics, the quality of which was particularly good this year.  In case you were distracted at some point in 2020 (and who wasn’t?) and missed some of this excellent material, I have cataloged it below. It can be hard to filter the many recordings and articles produced by ILTA each year to only KM topics.  I generally look for works produced by KM contributors for a KM audience, plus a sprinkling of topics that are interesting to me. 

The range of topics was a little narrower this year than in years past, which I think reflects some convergence in priorities and focus among KMers.  Perhaps also we have also operationalized some aspects of the discipline that we do not need as much peer sharing around those issues.  Or maybe we didn’t have a lot of mental bandwidth beyond our very highest priorities and trickiest business problems.  In any case, if you are looking to explore more about a subject that is not well represented this year, the round-ups from 201920182017 and 2016 will lead you to additional content.  Or search the ILTA archives, particularly for areas that are KM-adjacent.

Here are some themes that struck me as I built this catalog:

  • If 2020 has a winner, it’s podcasts. Easy to produce just the right amount at the right time, easy to take on a walk or fit in between Zoom meetings, they seem to be the perfect medium for learning and staying connected in 2020.  It’s like having a KM friend in your earbuds when you’re stuck at home. 
  • We love innovation. We cannot get enough of innovation. KMers are leading many of the innovation initiatives at their organizations, and it’s clear there is a desire to connect with like-minded colleagues to share ideas and practicalities beyond the hype.
  • 2020 was unusual in that we collectively experienced the same thing at the same time. You can see this general trend (with some exceptions, of course) if you look at the content in chronological order.  We started off the year with enthusiasm for new business problems that KM could solve, then had a sudden and urgent need to share how we were handling the pandemic response.  Things got quiet briefly as KMers were heads down in critical response roles for their firms.  As the workload began to even out, content picked up again with deeper insights into changes brought about by the pandemic, as well as a return to ongoing themes.  We hit another quiet period post-ILTA>On and as we suffered through the 6-month wall  We emerged reenergized, and the focus appears to be back to business-as-usual.

Logistical Notes:
Some of the content is only available to ILTA members, and ILTA>ON session recordings are only available to members who registered for the conference.  Be sure to log in to your ILTA account before clicking on links.  I’ve provided alternate links where the content was posted to additional platforms (e.g. Podbean and the ILTA KM blog).  With the increase in podcasts and micro-learning this year, which can vary widely in length, I included approximate duration in the description.

As in the past, I did not include titles or organizations for the contributors.  There are a lot of new names in the mix.  You can generally find biographical information at the link, or just dive in.  Take a chance that you will learn something new from someone new to you.

Adoption and Outreach:

Applications:

Artificial Intelligence:

Series: AI Meets KM:

Automation and Workflow:

Corporate and Client Collaboration:

Data Analytics:

Design Thinking:

Electronic Signatures:

Experience Management / Marketing Collaboration:

Information Governance / MS Teams:

Innovation:

Series: Global Legal Innovators:

KM Foundations:

Series: Foundations of KM:

Management / People:

Series: Emerging Roles in Legal:

Pandemic-Inspired:

Enjoy reading, viewing or listening to these contributions.  There are so many reasons to look forward to 2021, including another year of new content and peer sharing.  May 2021 treat you exceptionally well!

#VeryLarge(over500)
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Adoption Metrics – Choosing the Tools to Measure Your Intranet KPIs

7 Dec

By Holly Hanna, KM Firm Solutions Manager at Perkins Coie, and Paul Henry, Chief Executive at NGAGE Intelligence

Whether you’re using the Objective & Key Result (OKR) framework, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), or some other performance measurement framework, identifying how you will define success is an integral part of proving the value of your program or solution. When rolling out a new solution, or an update to an existing solution, many solution owners focus on user adoption as the key way they will measure the success of their work.

Each application deployed within your firm likely has a different set of adoption metrics. For example, for your Document Management System (DMS), it wouldn’t make sense to look at the total number of users who are accessing it, since usage of the DMS is mandatory in most firms. Instead, you might look at the usage of the Email Filing feature specifically. In the context of an intranet or other portal there will be several stakeholders, each one measuring success in their own ways. For example, a Practice Group Team Site Owner might want to see growth in the number of Content Contributors and Contributions, while the owner of the firmwide intranet is probably looking at growth in the length and depth of site visits. For the Governance Team, it could be all about highlighting Inactive Sites and taking action as needed.

We suggest there are two ‘universal’ KPIs that you will want to be able to report against, whatever your specific change management/adoption challenge: adoption rate and behavior rate. These KPIs define both the target user group and the behavior that you want to change.

The Universal KPIs

The value of any technology investment within an organization is a function of how well and how widely it is adopted by its target user population.

Adoption Rate = #Active Users/#Target User Population

The definition of your target population is hugely important. It might be the entire firm, but it could also be only attorneys, or only junior associates, or only paralegals in a specific practice group. You need to know (and keep track of) the precise size of your target population, so that you can move towards 100% adoption within that population.  

But you can have problems with relying on this KPI in isolation. For example, if someone is automatically logged on to a SharePoint portal every morning they would count as an ‘Active User’ and superficial evidence of ‘adoption’. But if they don’t then otherwise interact during their working day, it’s hardly meaningful.

Behavior Rate = #Behaviors Count/#Active Users

You also need to be counting and seeing growth in the Behavior Rate (average activity levels) of Active Users. Even then you could be measuring high usage of a small number of enthusiastic early adopters, or the less enthusiastic who have no choice. And you might be getting zero or negligible activity among users who do have options and are choosing to stick with their ‘old’ way of doing things. As a result, on its own this, too, can be misleading.

So, while you should be tracking these individual metrics week by week, month by month, the most valuable insight comes from combining these metrics as a definition of ‘Engagement’. Because that’s what defines a successful implementation.

Reporting on KPIs

At Perkins Coie, we use an analytics platform called NGAGE, which allows us to track adoption of our SharePoint portal; it can also be extended to report on virtually any third-party product (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Handshake, Confluence, iManage) and home-grown IIS and Angular apps.

NGAGE promotes the notion of continuous improvement rather than hard targets for KPIs. Each KPI visualization displays the value of the described Measure for the selected time period and the % change relative to the value for the immediately prior equivalent period. In this example the Adoption Rate of the target population over the last 30 days had fallen (and hence highlighted in red) by 20% relative to the preceding 30 day period.

As well as a configurable ‘traffic light’ indicator, each KPI visualization is accompanied by a Trend Line representing the daily value of the Measure during the selected period.

The Value of User Segmentation – Measuring Engagement

An enterprise class analytics tool will integrate with Active Directory to maintain a rich model of your organization. You can then use those user attributes to filter the KPIs to the precise Target User Population (i.e., certain departments or practices). The key here is that it should be easy to quickly ‘drill down’ to the user group you’re interested in and report on the underlying metric(s). Reports should also be intuitive and easily understood. These are powerful when used to track a single segment in relation to a single KPI. Even more so when used in combination to compare and contrast multiple segments.

For example, in the Engagement report below, you can filter by Department, Location and/or Job Title and see each segment represented by a ‘bubble’. Its size reflects the size of its population, while its position is a function of both its Adoption Rate and its Behavior Rate. The most engaged segment will tend to the top right-hand corner, while segments where you have low adoption but high activity from a small group of ‘power users’ will tend to the bottom right. The top left-hand corner is where you’ll find segments that are adopting but at minimalist levels of activity.

And note that the bubble report can also be scoped to an important application feature (like the Email Filing example mentioned above) or, in the context of a portal, to understand engagement with Search or a specific Site. In all scenarios this will help you intervene early and accurately where there are the most severe adoption problems. You will be able to measure the effectiveness of those interventions and learn what works. Equally, you can use it to identify the ‘hot spots’ of engagement so you can understand and share their success stories.

Conclusion

Identifying the right metrics to track and measure adoption is a key part of change management success, but in order to do so, you need to have the right tools to accurately measure the targeted behavior. The resulting reports should provide both actionable insight and be easily understood by management as part of the overall change management story while correctly identifying the key components of who, what, where, and when. With a combination of thoughtful KPIs and a user-friendly reporting tool your next change management initiative is sure to be a success.

ILTA Podcast: Emerging Roles in Legal Series – Episode No. 2

18 Sep

By Amy Monaghan, Senior Practice Innovations Manager of Perkins Coie

In our second installment of Emerging Roles in Legal, I speak with members of Orrick’s innovation team. In this “fanel,” we discuss an array of topics, including: what it means to drive change within an organization, how they are working to empower attorneys to practice at the top of their licenses, and the importance of mentorship. You will hear from each Orrick team member about their roles and contributions to Orrick’s innovation initiatives.

We cover a lot in this episode and if you are interested in reading further here are a few applicable resources that might be of interest:

  • Business of Law Podcast: Orrick and Microsoft Legal Productivity Hackers Discuss Innovation and Microsoft Teams here
  • Investing in the future: Harvard grad students discover West Virginia here
  • Extreme Makeover: The Digital Transformation Edition here
  • The Ant and the Grasshopper: Planning Today to Succeed Tomorrow here
  • Legal Innovation: It’s the New Roles that Make the New Tools here
  • For further reading on T-Shaped Lawyers and here
  • Manyee’s ILTAON session on design thinking
  • Kendall’s ILTAON session Virtual Training 1 – Being Prepared to Reach a Remote Audience

ILTA Podcast: Emerging Roles in Legal Series – Episode No. 1

4 Sep

By Amy Monaghan, Senior Practice Innovations Manager of Perkins Coie

I had the great honor of speaking with Jason Barnwell, Assistant General Counsel—Modern Legal at Microsoft for the inaugural episode of the Emerging Roles in Legal podcast series. Jason never fails to provide thought-provoking insights and my personal favorite quote from this episode is that “business presents a candy store of broken things!” Of course, we see the broken things as opportunities for innovation, which is where these new skillsets and emerging roles in legal are needed.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Jason, check out the Business of Law Podcast and also his posts on Legal Evolution. (I recommend this post on designing knowledge work).

I hope you enjoy this episode!  Be on the lookout for the next episode soon.