Chasing Versions

By Richard MacDougall on October 12, 2018
Richard MacDougall

As the Litera Product Manager for Metadact and Change-Pro, Richard understands how to implement global and local solutions for entire law firms and specific practice areas.

When document management systems came into our companies many years ago they were nothing short of a godsend for apps guys. Archiving important documents and deleting unwanted documents became a simple maintenance task that was easily automated. And they were a reliable part of our systems: how often did you have to update your DMS? Rarely! And how often did we even discuss changing vendors? Even less!

In those days, updates were driven by our big vendors, and our users were thrilled to get the associated improvements.

Implementing a new version of the Microsoft Office suite, along with the add-ins and ancillary programs was a huge undertaking and coordination among vendors was not as seamless twenty or thirty years ago. Office suite updates usually drove my companies’ DMS updates, and often an entire desktop refresh.

Back then only the DMS, the Office applications, perhaps some research tools, and a PDF creation tool had to be tested and certified. We didn’t have as many add-ins or programs that integrated with the DMS, and they were relatively simple.

These days IT teams seem to be chasing versions of applications on a daily basis; and the need to update our DMS is often driven by our users. Sometimes the new version of an add-in or application requires updating because of changes in the law or company policy. Add to this the addition of multiple DMS platforms and hybrid installations; suddenly the entire process is dauntingly more complex.

Testing and certifying all the applications, add-ins, and products during a DMS update is no small task; and none of us takes it lightly. Fortunately for all of us, DMS vendors provide plenty of notice and documentation about updates. I have always found DMS providers to be helpful and accessible during upgrades. Importantly, we cannot perform our testing in a vacuum, it must be in the context of our workflow.

As DMS applications move into a web interface, this has become a more complicated topic. What is your workflow? Are we adding extra steps to the workflow, making DMS certification more complicated than it needs to be? At Litera Microsystems we are always faced with the decision about how to deliver results and reports for comparisons and risk remediation. We choose to remain in the keep-it-simple arena by introducing no extraneous steps to the workflow, whenever possible.

Although market adoption for a fully cloud-based workflow has been slow, we anticipate customers moving toward it. We are taking a holistic approach to the user’s workflow by enabling the entire drafting process, not just individual tasks, to be managed in the cloud. This can mean that an enhancement may take a bit longer to deliver, but the end result is always a simpler and more elegant workflow than the previous version.

Our mission is to simplify the document drafting lifecycle and help our customers focus on what matters most: Serving their clients, not their documents. This means going beyond our products and building the proper, most effective integrations.

In these times, it is important to ask your vendors many questions when it comes to versions, upgrades, risk remediation, and testing. The old adage “there is no such thing as a stupid question” is truer now in the land of applications than it has ever been. As an apps guy myself, I always felt as though I was asking too many questions. Now that I am on the product side of the business, I realize there are never too many questions! Ask away!

At Litera Microsystems, we understand the importance of the DMS, how it impacts the user community, and the vital importance of all our products integrating perfectly. We strive to have our products DMS-compliant as soon as those updates are released to you. We enjoy excellent working relationships with the DMS vendors; and we meet with them regularly.

To that end, we are constantly updating and improving the development process for our products, as well as the product features themselves. Our products are on a quarterly release cycle, which is an improvement we put in place this year, and our global development team is ready-at-the-helm to prepare interim point releases when they are required.

When you have questions or concerns about our products and their compatibility with your DMS or any other application you are running, please contact our Support team. When you let us know what you are doing, we can keep you abreast of what we are doing and provide you the very best products and service for your business. We are here to help you succeed.

Topics: Technology, Microsoft, Legal

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