Why @Office365 Matter Center for @SharePoint Matters

22 08 2014

Created for Office 365, in keeping with Microsoft’s mantra:

mobile-first and cloudfirst

Matter Center for Office 365 is aimed at Legal professionals.  Basically it enhances and adds to the features in Office 365

Don’t get me wrong Matter Center is not basic and I am surprised the announcements (Microsoft Matter Center for Office 365 boosts law firm productivity and Boost law firm productivity with Matter Center for Office 365) didn’t get more attention. This is one of the biggest DMS/EDRM moves by Microsoft since the release of SharePoint itself.

What it allows law firms and legal departments to do is work in a way they are use to now but in the Cloud. Users can collaborate easier as files are organised  by client and matter. What is key is they can do this from within Microsoft Word or Outlook.

Since Matter Center is based on existing Microsoft technology it still gives:

“legal professionals secure access to the information they need – anywhere, any time, and from any device”

 Automatic version control is included. This may or may not be liked depending on how lawyers like to version docs.

Using metadata allows users to perform matter and document search queries that result in more accurate results.

Microsoft states that users can “Track or pin frequently used or recent matters” how this is done is yet to be seen, but likely similar to how you bookmark web pages or pin docs in Microsoft Word.

The ability to “Drag, drop, and save emails and attachments from Outlook into the right matter (likely a form of Site Collection) is something we have seen from the likes of harmon.ie and Colligo. What is nice though and what will save lawyers time is the fact metadata, permissions, and version control is handled automatically.

We all know that in SharePoint you cant say, don’t give access, in Matter Center you can! This is a big chance and helps with ethical walls. Historically tools like IntApp WallBuilder dealt with this, I still see a gap for these tools as well as for the likes of ControlPoint by Metalogix.

Lets face it building, supporting, running as well as upgrading any DMS Is not cheap. But compared with on-prem version I see Matter Center reducing the cost by 70%. That means lawyers can earn even more money and/or invest the savings back into improving other parts of IT.

Microsoft say:

“Matter Center can be deployed in the cloud, in a hybrid scenario, or as part of an on-premises SharePoint environment based upon a firm’s needs and existing infrastructure”

Which to me means there will be no on-prem version but they are happy to help move you to the cloud.

Summary

Assuming you can get over any legal issue not to go to the cloud and the functionality meets your requirements then Matter Center is likely right for your firm 

However I personally see this initially being adopted by large firms ready to take the leap of faith to the cloud or smaller firms, perhaps legal departments  who are agile enough to move over. Everyone else will wait to see what others have done, in other words learn from others.

If you are interested to learn more keep an eye out for more posts or contact my company Perkins-Smart Consulting.