Social networking tools like LinkedIn or Facebook and tools like wikis and blogs dramatically enhance the way that firms work. Major corporations like Morgan Stanley, Pfizer and Reuters are not alone in having discovered this. So have prominent law firms including Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Kilpatrick Stockton and Fenwick & West.
These tools are driving emergence of a new model of business some call “Enterprise 2.0. ” Less bound by restrictions of geography or time, they free people up to concentrate more on serving clients. Using a wiki to collaboratively produce a document significantly cuts down email traffic. (Some report savings of several days per person per year.) Instead of continually mailing updated iterations and having to track the latest version, everyone updates the one document ‘in situ, ‘and the system tracks who changed what. Email still has its place in “one-to-one” dialogue but “one-to-many” communication is more efficiently handled with Enterprise 2.0 tools, especially when multiple feedback is required.
Social networking also helps track the expertise needed for a particular matter and manage other information more effectively too. Deployed properly, these tools “connect the firm to itself, ” dissolving barriers between “silos” like practice groups and geographically dispersed offices. Firms can also share information externally (e. g. with clients) easier than before.
Edge International has partnered with Blogtronix (www.blogtronix.com,) a technology company from Colorado Springs, to offer a unique service to law firms. Blogtronix’s offering is the most comprehensive platform of its kind. It includes blogs, wikis, document management, social networking and RSS feed aggregation. The product is built on “CIO friendly” technology architected using Microsoft . NET and SQL Server, rather than open source components like PHP or MySQL. Compared to other similar platforms, it is also surprisingly inexpensive.