Peer to Peer Magazine

June 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 132 of 135

lessons learned Preparing To Launch In late November 2011, we made the decision to delay the launch for six weeks to allow for further testing and to upload as much content as possible. At the time, this felt like an incredibly painful decision. With the benefit of hindsight, it was absolutely the right decision to make. Not only did we have more time to test and migrate content, our internal team developed a deeper understanding of the content management system. That six-week extension has since proven invaluable. Launching the Site We "soft-launched" the system internally one week before the client launch. This allowed us to check many of our processes, especially those around user validation, security and permissions. Over one weekend in January, we brought the old elexica system down and began the process of switching to the new platform. When we had finished on Sunday evening, DNS records had been updated to point to the new site and, as far as the outside world was concerned, we were "live." The following Monday, we triggered over 11,000 email messages from the Sitecore CMS, inviting our elexica subscribers to revalidate their accounts on the next-generation platform. It was a rather stressful day, but certainly satisfying! Was the Project a Success? Since launching the next-generation platform, feedback from our clients and contacts (as well as lawyers internally) has been positive. The features that have resonated most with our subscribers are: • The ability to operate the site in a choice of eight languages, including Chinese and Japanese • Personalization and user preferences, allowing subscribers to tailor the content they view and the alerts they receive • Visual (map-based) navigation and report builders to improve content access and report creation • Complete mobile compatibility, allowing the site to be viewed across platforms and on many mobile devices, including iPad, iPhone and Android Twelve weeks in, we have 8,000 active users on the system. Eighty-five percent of subscribers are taking the time to build their personal profiles, the majority electing for a weekly digest and the delivery of breaking news items. We have been able to retire our old platform and feel confident that the system we've built will provide a solid foundation for at least the next five years. We have built the system in a very David Fitch is the Knowledge & Learning Director at Simmons & Simmons LLP. He is a recovering lawyer with an inquisitive (and sometimes disruptive) passion for technology. David has 10 years of experience at leading international law firms, developing and implementing knowledge systems and processes. He can be reached at modular way, which is important as we consider the development of the next round of subscription-based services. We're proud of the project we delivered, which is a credit to our team internally and our development partner, BlueArc Group, who proved to be one of Australia's leading digital agencies. What Would We Have Done Differently? Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but there wasn't too much we would change. We probably underestimated complexities in a few areas, such as: • Integration with our CRM system (InterAction) • Multilanguage complications (especially how fonts were handled in the different browsers) • Automated email alerts (i.e., the complexity of the business rules behind them and its overall implementation) • Video streaming We were fortunate to find solutions to tricky issues, and to have the time to test and work through scenarios on logic and business rules (especially where the CRM integration was concerned). One can always question whether we should have consulted our audience in more detail or asked more clients to be involved. Ultimately, I'm of the view that we struck a good balance, making key decisions confidently and seeking more specialized advice and feedback when needed. Next-generation elexica is demonstrative of our firm's commitment to remain at the forefront of legal service delivery. We are sure to see more firms creating innovative solutions as they respond to client demands to improve the quality and reduce the cost of the legal services being delivered. 134 Peer to Peer

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