Peer to Peer Magazine

September 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

Issue link: http://epubs.iltanet.org/i/43128

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CASE STUDIES The Intranet Is Dead? Long Live the Intranet! by Nancy Gimbol, Director of Marketing and Jeffrey McShane, Information Technology Director at Flaster/Greenberg PC pulled the plug and it flatlined — for an entire year — no one noticed. Really. We discovered that no one used the intranet because the content was old and inaccurate; the content was out of date because the platform was antiquated, which made updates difficult. Our employees gradually devised other methods to gather information, which meant an increase in the number of requests to the administrative team for certain forms, documents or other very basic needs. This kind of inefficiency had to stop. But in order C to revive the intranet, we knew we needed to start over completely. We needed it to be user-friendly, from both the front and back ends, and we knew we would have to involve our entire administrative team, including members from administration, human resources, library, operations, marketing, accounting and technology. DEMONSTRATING NEED In any organization, easily communicating what's necessary can be a daunting task. No matter the information — policies and procedures, how-to documents, blogs, photo galleries of the latest firm outing, etc. — life is easier when you are able to offer one repository for all firm-specific information. Enter the intranet, a centralized repository where firm employees can keep current on all things firm-related. For us, the first order of business was to convince our attorneys that this investment was worthwhile. After all, we had already gone a year without it, right? In order to demonstrate our need for the system, we asked each administrative function to come up with a wish list of items they would like to see offered on a firm intranet. We combined these departmental lists to make one master list, which included nearly 100 items. Next, we identified the 38 www.iltanet.org Peer to Peer onsider what would happen if you woke one morning to find that your firm's intranet had disappeared. Chaos would ensue, right? Unfortunately, our firm's intranet had been on life support for so long, that when we finally items that would benefit the attorneys most (helping us to make our sale) and we plucked these 20 items out and used them in our sales pitch to the attorneys. Once our needs assessment was complete, we evaluated each item individually to determine whether it should be included and how it might fit into the structure of the intranet. We slowly and methodically developed a structural outline in order to figure out how much information we had, as well as the most appropriate way to display this information. Right before our eyes, we were rebuilding the intranet. "This would become our one-stop, go-to resource for all firm- related information." EXPLORING THE OPTIONS Once we determined what we would include on the intranet, we needed to identify software options to help us execute the project, so we asked our peers for recommendations. With that information, we developed a short list of potential vendors with the necessary experience. In the end, we chose a system that fell within our budget and offered the largest number of bells and whistles from our wish list. The technology department was able to customize the software to meet our firm's particular needs and wishes. Although the software we chose did not give us every feature we wanted, we did come close! Along the way, some sacrifices were made and we made changes to the structure according to the capabilities of the software. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K

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