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Ripping up the playbook: iManage releases Work 10

Added on the 24th Jan 2017 at 7:30 am
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iManage will today (24 January) at last announce the release of iManage Work 10 and an upgrade to iManage Cloud services, in what is quite fairly being described as the most significant update to its document and email management application in over 10 years.

The release coincides with the announcement that new cybersecurity and governance tools Threat Manager and Security Policy Manager will be available to iManage customers in the first half of 2017.

iManage Work 10 is the culmination of one of, if not the biggest alpha project to date in the sector – one that CMO Dan Carmel tells Legal IT Insider began over three years ago, before the iManage leadership team bought their way out of HP and launched what became known as project White Rabbit.

“This is without doubt the biggest piece of news we’ve had in 15 years,” Carmel says. “We changed the way the industry worked before and we’re doing it again, now in response to a different set of pressures really impacting IT.

“Work 10 is designed by users for users – it really reflects the work and thinking of hundreds of professionals and I don’t believe any vendor has spent as much time watching users use their products. Attorneys walked in with their iPads and hooked in with live iManage and showed us how they would do the following task. From seeing them try to use the product the first time to now is radically different.”

Key changes include a single, unified user experience across mobile phone, tablet and browsers. Full integrations with tools such as Outlook, Office 365, Gmail, SharePoint, Lotus Notes, Adobe and over 40 partner products including practice management, document comparison and metadata scrubbing are in place.

The new product also has a heavy analytics focus, leveraging AI, machine learning and big data analysis to provide smart worklists and previews, as well as a personalised search function, which understands context, people and dates and puts frequently searched items higher in the user’s work universe.

Carmel says: “Watching attorneys work, they always had a work list but we have transformed the traditional list to a living list. It shows if anyone has edited documents. It gives you more intelligence. We’ve never had a client or matter view before but now, using four different buttons you can get to these lists. When you touch a document, you can see a Facebook-style timeline and beautiful graph, showing how many times the document has been viewed and downloaded. You can see who has touched it and what is happening without going through a cryptic list.”

Smart previews take you immediately to the relevant pages in a document and bring up the last version to the same page.

Of the new, personalised search function, Carmel adds: “It can track and analyse people, practice areas and topics. Personal search puts your frequent searches higher in your universe. We’re looking for that smile – if we can solicit that experience when you use a well-tuned web service, we have achieved what we wanted to achieve.”

iManage Work 10, which is available at no extra cost to existing iManage Work Mobility and Email Management clients, also features a new administrative control center that offers web-based administrative control of common tasks such as workspace design, file unlocking, and security settings.

Alongside the new release, iManage Cloud services have been enhanced with technologies such as containerisation and advanced data storage (SWIFT).

Carmel says: “We have enhanced and substantially re-engineered our cloud service so that the entire back-end is revised. It’s now a true multi-tenant system using the technology used by Google, Facebook and other internet companies in continuous deployment.”

Threat Manager, meanwhile, applies big data analysis to iManage’s data from user history across many years, to identify malicious threats active in the network right now, based on user credentials that have been compromised.

Carmel said: “This is state of the art. Normally a product will come in and say ‘define bad behaviour – how many documents and how many downloads?’ But defining a single threat is a recipe for a lot of false positives. The problem is you have 800 attorneys including new associates and all these legitimate users.

“We have this amazing resource called the history table, which traces all document activity. Now we subject that to big data analytics and instead of one fat line, it shows me what the individual does and gives me a baseline behaviour. We can then calculate a deviation when that behaviour goes beyond set parameters.”

That baseline behaviour can be aggregated for different areas, such as practice areas. Carmel adds: “The important point is that it knows what a practice area is, that violating a practice area is worse than a matter, and it gets smarter.”

Threat Manager is in beta within five sites at the moment. It will be made available on a subscription-based model to iManage clients and Carmel says: “We’re intending it to be inexpensive.”

Security Policy Manager, which is in early beta, tackles the problem of ‘need to know’, ‘pessimistic security’ and ethical walls, where firms are struggling to deal with the challenges of restricting access to files internally.

Integration between Security Policy Manager and iManage Work is said to mean that security changes can be applied automatically, as no re-filing or re-indexing of comment.

It’s been a long time coming and iManage is rightly excited about returning to form with a bang.

Carmel says: “We needed a broader response than simply ‘doing document management’, which seems so pedestrian.

“So, this is not a new DM, please sir can I have more, it’s a leading market company tearing into its products and reinventing and disrupting itself by taking on these challenges.”

Firms that will be deploying Work 10 include DLA Piper, and in the Orange Rag out tomorrow (25 January) we interview chief information officer Daniel Pollick for his initial reactions on the product.

Reactions from CIOs:

“It’s great to see the iManage team get back to its roots. They are listening to their customers, innovating, and delivering great solutions. The design thinking that has gone into iManage Work 10, watching lawyers and interviewing them about the key day-to-day tasks they do, combined with a lot of smart features, results in a user experience that I believe will improve adoption and satisfaction in the legal community. iManage Work 10 is a highly sophisticated and innovative product.”

Stefan Winquist, CIO at Bech Bruun, Denmark

“Our plan was to do an incremental upgrade of our existing iManage product when we moved to Office 2016 this year. But attorneys are not interested in ’upgrades‘ and are unwilling to spend time for marginal improvement. We needed something with ’wow‘ to get their attention and provide a reason for our lawyers and staff to care about document management. iManage Work 10 provides that wow. In fact, during a demo one of our attorneys said ‘wow’ 12 times! Our focus now…project WOW combining iManage Work 10, Office 2016 and Windows 10.”

Doug Caddell, Global CIO at Mayer Brown

“iManage Work 10 is the release we’ve been waiting for, it’s a quantum leap from previous versions. We are looking forward to deploying this new version and we think that the new set of smart features will help our lawyers improve their productivity. The unified user experience, independent from the device they use, is absolutely awesome too.”

Cesar Mejias, IT director at Garrigues, Spain

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