By David J. Bilinsky
What are some of the technologies that are worth looking at with regard to redesigning your new office?
Here is a selection:
SharePoint 2010: (http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx) This is perhaps the most interesting and exciting technology to be released in the last while. SharePoint is a collaboration software package that allows a law firm to set up secure “extranet” areas on the web for clients, experts, lawyers, teams and others. Rather than have your data “in the cloud” on someone else’s server, SharePoint allows you to host all of this within your own control. It offers security and authentication and is integrated into the Office 2010 suite. This software will be one of the most important developments in the time to come.
Office 2010: (http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca) The two new aspects to MS Office 2010 (aside from improvements to Word, Outlook etc.) are OneNote and MS Project:
OneNote is “an electronic version of a paper notebook where you can write down notes, thoughts, ideas, scribbles, reminders, and all kinds of other information. OneNote offers a free-form canvas where you can type, write, or draw notes in the form of text, graphics, and images wherever and however you want them.”
Project is a “project management tool that helps individuals, teams, and businesses cut costs, manage resources effectively, and streamline projects for maximum productivity.” It provides a timeline, a team planner and integrates with SharePoint.
Windows 7: (www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/default.aspx) This 64-bit operating system is a vast improvement over Vista. In fact it is almost Mac-like (but not quite)!
OS X and all things Mac: MS Office 2011 for the Mac has been announced and should be available shortly (www.macworld.com/article/146295/2010/02/office2011announced.html). Outlook will now be available on the Mac. Mac users will be able to: “Share files and collaborate on documents with other Mac and Windows users via Microsoft’s SharePoint, SkyDrive, and Office Web Apps.” Increasingly you will be able to fully use a Mac on a Windows network – giving you the best of both worlds.
OmniPage 17: (www.nuance.com/for-business/by-product/omnipage/standard/index.htm) this OCR software preserves graphics and formatting when performing an OCR on a scanned page.
Adobe Acrobat 9: (www.adobe.com) this software can do much more than just provide a common document viewing platform. PDF Portfolios (aggregations of PDF documents) can include video, graphics, text and more. Wonderful for presenting materials to court – all hypertext linked.
Worldox, Hummingbird Opentext, Interwoven: (www.worldox.com, www.opentext.com/2/global/sol-products/sol-pro-docmgmt-collaboration.htm, www.interwoven.com) These document management solutions will become increasingly central to how a law firm operates as we move into the paperless office. They are the equivalent to the steel filing cabinet today.
Tablet Computers: (iPad, Lenovo ThinkPad x200 etc.) The tablet computer will be surging ahead as the technologies continue to evolve. Whether it will be in a touch-only format (such as the iPad) or a more traditional tablet (like the X200), there is no question that tablets and touch computing is here – and will be found within the business environment.
The views expressed herein are strictly those of the author and may not be shared by the Law Society of British Columbia. David J. Bilinsky is the Practice Management Advisor for the LSBC. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Blog: www.thoughtfullaw.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of BarTalk and is reproduced here with permission of both the author and the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch.