There has been some recent debate (on one of the legal community’s discussion forums) on the merits of SharePoint, Microsoft’s portal product. Our firm launched its SharePoint portal earlier this year (although we are still migrating content from our old intranet, and adding features and functions).
Even at this early date, we are enjoying two of the important benefits that led us to implement SharePoint in the first place – “one stop shopping” is not far from reality and distributed content contribution is taking place.
“One stop shopping” is the short-hand we use for our efforts to deliver all the content and functionality our users need through a simple, ever-present interface. This includes legal content, firm information, client detail, access to programs (such as Word and Outlook) and almost anything else you can think of.
Managing the traditional “library” content has turned out to be a major challenge. Our prior intranet library pages had more that 2000 links to external content (including third party online research services and government websites). SharePoint has allowed us to create a single list of all of these resources. The links on the list can then be filtered by a variety of categories and the resulting views displayed in context (eg, the commonly used M&A links display on the M&A practice area pages).
The advantage of this approach is the ease of adding new links (a matter of seconds), of updating links (again, a matter of seconds), along with the ability to display targeted content.
While we are still in the process of reviewing and updating our initial list of 2000+ links, once the initial work is complete, the ongoing maintenance will be easy.
Examples like this have convinced us that SharePoint is a powerful platform that will enable us to manage all the firm’s information and knowledge effectively. Our focus is on the timely creation and delivery of that content, with a secondary emphasis on presentation – SharePoint seems well suited to this role.