Stikeman Elliott battles data explosion

With an eye towards integration and cost savings, business law firm Stikeman Elliott chose RedDot to supply a new content management system (CMS) for its growing business.“Just looking down the line at the data explosion and the amount of documents that are being created, we wanted to make sure that they were managed in the best possible way,” said Venky Srinivasan, director of technology at Stikeman Elliott.
“We expect that as the needs amongst our internal clients grow, we need to deliver more personalized and classified information to them,” said Srinivasan.
“So, we were looking for a really robust enterprise-level CMS, which could not only manage content within the portal, but at the same time manage our external Web site content.”
After an extensive study of CMS providers the law firm chose RedDot because of the benefits that come from owning a CMS that integrates with its current Hummingbird applications.
“With (Hummingbird’s) acquisition (of RedDot) we are convinced that integration of the CMS with the document management system is going to be great, thereby giving us more features and functionality to push the content to our internal audience, as well as to our external Web site audience,” said Srinivasan.
Having a single vendor that can manage upgrades and updates across a suite of products was another selling point.
“We always believe that the vendors do the necessary integration for the other applications we use rather than us trying to customize it to our needs,” said Srinivasan. “The vendors will take care of that. It’s not our headache.”
Data management was another challenge Stikeman Elliott faced. Srinivasan said the law firm needed a CMS that could manage a large collection of data at a minimal cost. With offices across Canada and in New York, London and Sydney, Stikeman Elliott already has a substantial library of documents — nearly four million that need to be accessible to more than 400 lawyers. As the firm grows, so will its volume of data.
RedDot’s CMS is designed to allow non-technical employees to publish documents to the Web and to manage the firm’s Web site without special training. Employees will continue to create and save documents using the company’s Hummingbird Document Management System, software they already understand.
RedDot’s CMS also allows the law firm to simultaneously publish content in French and English.
“From the end user’s point of view, the only thing they will notice is a consistency of content,” Srinivasan said.
The CMS will also help reduce labour costs by publishing data to the Web from a central location.
“Right now we post content in different areas. It’s a lot of redundant work,” said Srinivasan. “Our mission is to push the content once.”
Stikeman Elliott will implement the new CMS in two phases. First, the firm will replace its current home grown CMS with the RedDot CMS.
After data from the intranet is successfully transferred, the firm will extend the RedDot CMS platform to the firm’s external Web site, which is being redesigned for launch in the first quarter of 2006.
In the second phase, Stikeman Elliott will install RedDot’s LiveServer, an engine that will allow users to personalize how they view Web content.
Andrew Pery, chief marketing officer at Hummingbird, says that as law firms begin to compete on a global scale, visibility among prospective clients and streamlined data management will become increasingly more important.
Content management systems that can allow lawyers from different practice areas to share information will become an important part of their data management, he said.

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