Thursday, January 15, 2009

Looking at IAM Software? Think beyond IAM!

As you look to implement new software for intellectual asset management, it makes a lot of sense to see if other areas in legal could use new infrastructure. It may be an opportunity to combine forces and budgets to get the project approved.

Corporate law departments have historically been technology laggards versus other functional areas such as finance, sales , marketing and HR. While there have been a myriad of reasons, at least one contributing reason has been the very nature of the practice of law itself – highly variable work processes based on the practice area, case type, individual attorney or jurisdiction. For many companies no individual practice group provided the critical mass that warranted the investment necessary to implement leading technology; not to mention that corporate solution vendors lacked the expertise in corporate law department management.

Fortunately for corporate law departments, the technology is quickly improving. The risk and volume of cases have garnered the attention of senior management, freeing up both financial and staff resources, as well as driving more discipline in case management. The Office of the General Counsel is now more visible as a key stakeholder in overall corporate management and strategy. New hot button areas such as electronic data discovery (“EDD”), document management and e-billing are becoming critical areas for “best practice” law departments.

Interestingly, at Anaqua we have found that the intellectual property practice area can be highly instructive to the broader, general law department in providing new technology leadership. As we know, intellectual property – more so than many other practice areas – is a highly structured, procedure-driven practice that lends itself well to automation, web-based collaboration, better content management and other technology-based efficiencies. As engineers and technology majors, patent attorneys are comfortable with technology, and have generally embraced software tools – when they’ve been able to get them!

Although Anaqua was initially developed for intellectual property management, some of our earliest clients are standalone IP holding companies who use ANAQUA for all legal functions. As a result, we are increasingly being brought in to other practice areas as the technology of choice. For example, our expertise in agreements and royalties lends itself very well to general contract management, including partner agreements, confidentiality / NDAs, lease agreements, etc. Similarly for Conflicts – supporting general, non-IP litigation matters has been an easy and natural extension. The core Anaqua components – if you simply strip away their IP-specific context – allow companies to have an integrated “ERP” for the entire Law Department. This is certainly an exciting opportunity for our clients and Anaqua, and we look forward to continuing to expand our value!

Please feel free to contact us if this is an area of interest for you.

No comments: