Open Text Corp.'s legal customers will soon have the ability to access and share documents residing in several of the Waterloo-based vendor's content management products, including the most recently available collaborative tool Social Workplace and eDOCS Edition 5.3, as well as on Apple Inc.'s iPad.
Legal customers have traditionally focused a records management strategy on physical records only, but that perspective has had to expand change in the past few years to encompass a broader range of content, said Todd Partridge, general manager for eDOCS and legal solutions with OpenText.
"Like all other commercial customers, (legal firms) are quickly realizing they have a lot more content in their environment that should be managed as a true vital record," said Partridge.
Users of Open Text Social Workplace will be able to collaborate on documents stored in Open Text eDOCS, using social features like instant messaging and micro-blogging as per-individual access policies. Released about a year ago, the collaborative tool is meant to give law firms a "two-pronged attack" in building extranets for client access as well as including lawyer biographies for internal knowledge management, said Partridge. Social Workplace is an alternative for law firms that don't want to use SharePoint.
Recently released eDOCS Edition 5.3 now integrates with, and supports, Windows 7 operating system and Microsoft Office 2010 for 32- and 64-bit platforms. The integration recognizes that legal firms "live in Office and the demand for Office 2010 is out there," said Partridge.
Users of the Apple iPad can also access content from within eDOCS DM via iPad support in Open Text's WirelessDMS suite. Support for the iPad follows existing support for the BlackBerry and iPhone. Partridge said there's a surprising diversity in mobile device usage among lawyers but that one thing is clear: "These attorneys are demanding access to their documents on their mobile devices."
Open Text Records Management is integrated with eDOCS DM such that users can search and access documents in records management using the eDOCS DM user interface. Also, content in Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and SAP applications will also be accessible through eDOCS DM.
One Canadian law firm with eight offices globally has been using Open Text's document management products, then Hummingbird, since the early 1990s. Employees at Stikeman Elliott LLP also use Microsoft SharePoint to collaborate between offices, but the firm wanted to allow greater access to documents stored in Open Text's eDOCS DM, said the firm's director of technology Venky Srinivasan.
"Everything that is relevant to the matter or client we bring together on a page," said Srinivasan. The goal at Stikeman Elliott, he explained, is to allow users the ability to better report to clients on case updates by gathering contextual information with the point-and-click ease of the Web.
Stikeman Elliott deployed Open Text eDOCS Integration for Microsoft SharePoint. The firm has decided to consistently use Open Text for content management, and other platforms for financials and contacts--three data sources accessible from a single hub. "We'll treat these as sources of information and we'll tap into it at anytime," said Srinivasan.
As for Open Text offering social collaboration tools, Srinivasan said his firm is keeping an eye on Social Workplace to see how it might fit in the firm's content management environment.
Most recently, Open Text announced plans to acquire Montreal-based digital content management vendor Nstein Technologies Inc. for $35 million.
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