Tag Archives: productivity

Declining Law Firm Productivity Tied to Information Governance Challenges

A new legal industry study finds a substantial decline in attorney productivity in recent years, significantly reducing law firm profitability. In its 2017 Report on the State of the Legal Market, Thomson Reuters notes that “over the past 10 years, the average billable hours worked by all lawyers across the market declined from 134 billable hours per month in 2007 to 122 through the late part of 2016.” This equals a reduction of 144 billable hours per year per lawyer. The report, by multiplying that total by the average worked rate ($463) for all lawyers in 2016, determined the productivity decline is costing law firms about $66,672 per lawyer per year.

One of the main causes for diminished lawyer productivity is the exponential proliferation of their stored emails and documents and the associated inability to recall important work product and previous e-mail communications. Another industry study assessing the productivity of lawyers and other high-end information knowledge workers found that such professionals on average spend 11.2 hours a week dealing with challenges related to document creation and management. As the table below from the IDC report demonstrates, lawyers and paralegals lose as much as 2.3 hours a week searching, but not finding, the right documents and emails and another 2 hours recreating documents they failed to locate.

Time Spent on Document Management Challenges

productivity-for-law-firms-table2Source: IDC’s Information Worker Survey, June 2012

Applying the same lawyer cost calculations used by Thomson Reuters in their 2017 report (4.3 hours per week X $463 average hourly rate X 49 annual worked weeks) reveals that an effective search capability can dramatically improve law firm productivity by as much as $97,500 annually per lawyer. Even normalizing this analysis for recovered billable time (assuming every hour of gained productivity results in less than a full hour of actual billable time) a law firm of a 1000 attorneys would realize tens of millions per year in recovered billable hours, in addition to important intangible benefits including enhanced work product, improved client satisfaction and attorney morale.

Many law firm attorneys tell us that without the right search solution, they can spend hours looking for a past proposal, a key client communication from several months prior, or many other forms of work product and client communications that are stored in emails, local drives or cloud file shares. If lawyers and paralegals cannot quickly find such information assets, then that represents a serious information governance failure. Time wasted rummaging around for past emails and documents is not billable time and directly cuts into a firms’ profit margin. To be sure, a law firm’s two most important assets are its professionals and their body of work product and other key information. As such, a top priority for law firm management should be to ensure their attorneys have the right productivity search solution to quickly find and retrieve the firms’ information assets.

However, the recurring theme we hear is that outside of the data managed by X1, enterprise search is a source of major frustration for law firms and other organizations. This is confirmed by survey after survey where the vast majority of respondents report dissatisfaction with their current enterprise search platform. Simply put, the traditional approach to enterprise search has not worked. This is largely because most search solutions deployed in recent years focused on IT requirements — which see search as either a technical project or a commodity — rather than an intimate end-user driven requirement that is core to their professional productivity.

And for lawyers especially, “good enough” is not good enough when it comes to their search. It does not make sense to invest in an enterprise search solution for business productivity search, unless there is a significant improvement in the end-users search experience for emails, files and SharePoint data.

At X1, however, many of our customers report dramatic improvements with their productivity search, with firm-wide X1 rollouts being major wins at their organization. We believe that X1’s unique focus on the end-user is the key. You won’t find many other business productivity search solutions where the end users drive demand, instead of the tool being imposed on the end-users by IT or systems integrators. We continually hear countless testimonials from business professionals, at law firms and companies large and small, who swear by their X1 and cannot imagine working without it. In speaking with industry analysts and other experts in the enterprise search field, this is an almost unheard of phenomenon, where end-user satisfaction with the companies’ enterprise search platform is usually around 10-15 percent, verses the 80-85 percent satisfaction ratio we see with X1.

Importantly, X1 is a platform. Users need a single-pane-of-glass view to all of their information – email, files, SharePoint, archives like Veritas Enterprise Vault, OneDrive, Box and other network and cloud sources.  X1 Search provides a user-friendly interface to all information that lets attorneys find what they are looking for in an instant.  But the thousands of X1 end users know all this. The key takeaway for CIOs and other IT executives is that search is an inherently personal user experience, and the number one requirement, by far, for a successful search initiative is enthusiastic end-user adoption. If the lawyers and other business professionals in your organization are not passionately embracing the search solution, then nothing else matters.

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Filed under law firm, productivity, Uncategorized

X1’s Microsoft Enterprise Search Strategy: Better Than Microsoft’s?

By John Patzakis

microsoftIt seems obvious to say, but Microsoft is furthering its supremacy in the enterprise. While Microsoft has always dominated with is ubiquitous OS, it is dramatically consolidating its presence in terms of data sources. Outlook is only increasing in market share with corporate Gmail largely a flop and IBM’s Lotus Notes in full retreat. SharePoint continues to spread across enterprises large and small, dominating the ECM landscape. OneDrive for business, with its tight integration with the Windows 10 OS, essentially zero cost, and built-in active directory security, looks to eventually capture the enterprise file synch and sharing space. And Office 365 combines Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive into an integrated cloud offering (but not search – more on that in a bit). Finally, Skype for Business and OneNote round out the data sources that we believe will soon constitute up to 90 percent of enterprise data relevant for business productivity. So I would argue that we are entering a new era of Microsoft dominance.

And actually, this good news for X1 users, and we believe a key reason for the resurgent high growth we are seeing here at X1. Why? Each of those mentioned Microsoft data sources are either currently supported by X1 or will be supported within 12 months’ time, and X1 provides a much better user search experience than even Microsoft does. As an example, any X1 user will tell you X1 provides a much better search of Outlook and Exchange email than Outlook itself, and the simple viewing of this SharePoint video should convince anyone that our SharePoint search experience is far superior than that of native SharePoint. The same is true of local and network documents and very soon OneDrive (September 2015), and after that Skype for Business.

But even more important than having a better search experience for individual Microsoft data sources, what X1 uniquely provides is a popular and intuitive unified interface or a “single pane of glass” from which to search all of these various data sources. To be able to search your emails, your files, your SharePoint, your OneDrive, and all the other Microsoft data sources from that single interface is extremely compelling. In fact, Microsoft itself does not really have a single pane of glass capability. You cannot effectively search your SharePoint or OneDrive from Outlook, just as you cannot search your emails, Skypes or your local documents from SharePoint.

This new era of Microsoft data source dominance presents important considerations for organizations when selecting enterprise search solutions. Many enterprise search solutions are simply not architected to effectively support this new paradigm and thus are fighting against the Microsoft current, instead of providing a unified search platform, such as X1, that augments and strengthens a company’s Microsoft strategy. To summarize, here are five key reasons X1 excels in this new Microsoft era:

  1. X1 Starts with End User’s email and files. Most enterprise search solutions address enterprise data sources on Intranets, databases, and file shares, but ignore the end users email and local documents. This is missing about 80 percent of the end user’s key business data, while focusing on the data in the margins. To be successful in this new Microsoft era, a true productivity search solution should begin with the end users’ local emails, attachments and documents and extend to SharePoint, file shares and other key enterprise sources, all in a single pane of glass.
  2. No or Minimal Data Migration. Other enterprise search tools uniformly provide web portals for employees to search for their content. This is fine for some Intranet sites and other web-based data, but is not where you want search your day-to-day emails and working documents. And when it comes to SharePoint, any suggestion that such data should be migrated out of SharePoint just so another enterprise search vendor can search it on a similar website is a non-starter. For a successful Microsoft strategy, the indexes must be on a local, physical or virtual desktop (or laptop), indexed in place, or federate to the built-in native FAST indexes. Data migration out of Microsoft data sources no longer make any sense and should be a thing of the past.
  3. X1 Supports Virtualization and Cloud. The next generation enterprise is virtual, whether cloud or on premise. With Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft data sources being able to be deployed in these and on-premise virtual environments, enterprise search, including desktop search (VDI and DaaS) platforms need to do so as well. This is a significant challenge for most enterprise search tools that are either hardware appliances or require intricate and labor intensive installation onto physical hardware.
  4. X1 provides a better search experience than Microsoft does. “Good enough” is not good enough when it comes to search. It does not make sense to invest in an enterprise search solution for business productivity search, unless there is a significant improvement in the end-users search experience for emails, files and SharePoint data. The main reason enterprise search initiatives fail is because the stakeholders do not appreciate that business productivity search is all about end-user experience. Without the end-users embracing your search platform in practice, as X1 users do, the project will fail, no matter how cool the analytics and advanced algorithms sound in theory.
  5. Unified Single Pane of Glass. Providing one single pane of glass to a business worker’s most critical information assets is key. Requiring end-users to search Outlook for email in one interface, then log into another to search SharePoint, and then another to search for document and OneDrive is a non-starter. A single interface to search for information, no matter where it lives fits the workflow that business workers require.

These are all very important factors for buyers of enterprise search solutions to consider in the new Microsoft era, and we of course believe X1 is uniquely up to the task.

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Filed under Business Productivity Search, Cloud Data, Enterprise Search, Virtualized Environment

What is Time Management?

Sue Becker, Productivity Trainer

Sue Becker, Productivity Coach

Today we are pleased to welcome guest blogger, Sue Becker, Productivity Coach at Spark Productivity. Sue has spent the last 15 years inspiring business people to implement organizational solutions to be more productive and to spend more time enjoying life. 


 

One of the biggest time management mistakes people make is not recognizing that time management is really self management. Instead of looking for external explanations to know why time management is a challenge, I coach people to look internally. I help them to build the self discipline to do what’s important to help them reach their goals and to flex the self discipline to set aside time for unburdened fun as well as for becoming the person they were meant to be.

Once a person accepts that time management is self management, then they eagerly make decisions to break bad habits and to establish new, helpful ones. Two such attractive habits are working in focused, uninterrupted sprints and working priorities top to bottom.

HABIT OF FOCUSING

To establish a habit of focusing, recognize there are external as well as internal interruptions to mitigate. We often interrupt ourselves as frequently as external factors interrupts us. Some people open their emails every time the little ding sounds, thinking, “Surely it’s something more interesting than whatever I’m currently working on.” Other people answer the phone every time it rings or leave their posture open to passersby. Discover your patterns of self interruption, and then determine a system for preventing and/or releasing them.

Set up your own self-management system to stop you from giving in to the temptation of external interruptions. So when someone interrupts you, you can let that person know you’re working on something important and then arrange a later time to speak. Using pre-determined, rehearsed phrases like, “I’d love to talk to you, but I have to finish this by three. May I call you when I’m finished?”

Another strategy is to set aside a fixed amount of time when you don’t allow yourself to be interrupted. This can be an hour a day or an hour a week. It’s intended to make sure you have quality time to focus on important tasks without the threat of being interrupted. It’s critical to select tasks that are worthy of this valuable, uninterrupted time so you don’t squander it.

HABIT OF PRIORITIZING

To establish a habit of prioritizing, use visual cues to create a pattern of working on the most important thing. Place a note somewhere easily seen—in front of your computer or inside your planner—that says something like, “Am I moving closer to my goals?” or, “What’s the most important thing I should be doing right now?” When you’ve discovered your purpose in life and have your goals recorded, driving your behavior gets easier.

TAKING CHARGE

What’s the key? It’s to take charge rather than let your days be dictated to you. It’s also getting comfortable with the knowledge that establishing habits takes time. After all, it took a lifetime to create your current habits, so recognize that you may not change them quickly or easily; yet it will be worth it when you do.

One final way to take charge is to use tools that will help you be more productive. For example, using tools like X1 to speed up your search for items on your computer will free up time so you can get more done. Please join me on February 24 for a complimentary webinar that will show you the power of productivity that X1 makes possible. I look forward to having you on the call.

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Filed under Business Productivity Search

In 2015, What Should We Expect From Search?

ROIIt’s that time again: time to prognosticate about what the coming year will bring in our search software market. Lest anyone think search is a stale market, there are foundational deals now in place that illuminate how this market will evolve in an exciting way. This evolution will usher in a new era in the search market – one in which enterprises achieve positive ROI on search projects and actually love the technology. In 2015, companies will be able to deploy enterprise search and enable employees to actually find the information they are looking for.

The key to this enterprise search evolution is the recognition that success lies with an optimal end-user experience.  Over the past six months at X1, we have been educating the market on how to put end-users first with our whitepaper on why traditional enterprise search failed and our webinar on business productivity search.  How do we know that this end-user experience factor is the key to successful enterprise search initiatives?  Because we are seeing it play out in some exciting new deals over the last few months.

  • A large global technology firm purchased 15K+ seats of X1 SearchTM so that employees can quickly find the information they need to do their jobs.  This firm actually has set up its IT function to serve employees the way a consumer technology company would serve its customers.  The IT department creates a set of applications that employees can pull from based on their role.  X1 is a critically important application in each toolbox.
  • A large Government Agency within the Department of Defense purchased 10K+ seats of X1 Search and the Symantec Enterprise Vault Connector in addition to X1 Rapid DiscoveryTM so that employees would have a single-pane-of-glass view across information regardless of where it is stored.  This is a compelling example of how end-user requirements to have a single interface, in which to search across active and archived emails, drove a broader enterprise search initiative.
  • Another large Government Agency purchased over 20,000 seats of X1 Search Virtual Edition and X1 Rapid Discovery amounting to a $1 million deal.   This deal enables the agency to roll out its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) more broadly and meet several security requirements while ensuring that high-value employees have critical knowledge at their fingertips via X1.  Not only does this agency get the excellent X1 search experience, but it is able to fully leverage its VDI technology because of the complementary nature of X1 Search 8, Virtual Edition.
  • In addition, we have seen several enterprise-wide purchases and rollouts of X1 Search by professional services and financial institutions ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 seats.  These organizations understand that employee knowledge is the fuel upon which the business runs.  Giving users an easy way to find what they need to stay productive is key to maintaining profitability.

These deals show that the evolution to business productivity search as the dominant use-case for enterprise search is well underway.  X1 offers the best end-user search experience in the market.  Customer surveys (run by the customers, not X1) routinely show that 85%+ of Search 8 users truly like the product.  Most enterprise software approval ratings hover in the 20% range (based on my experience as an analyst at Forrester Research).  As we close the books on a banner 2014 at X1, we are extremely excited to continue this evolution in 2015.

We invite you to register for our next webinar on Feb 24 – Return on Investment: Attaining Business Productivity Through Search >

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Dr. Michael Levitt: World Famous Scientist, Nobel Laureate, and X1 Power User

Michael Levitt Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

Michael Levitt
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

Recently I had the distinct honor of speaking with Dr. Michael Levitt, a 2013 Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry, and highly regarded Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University. The Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Levitt a Nobel in recognition of his research in computational biology, “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” He is also a “huge fan” of X1. When Dr. Levitt and I spoke, he discussed his daily use of X1 Search and how it is essential to his research and professional productivity. “X1 saves me many hours per week,” per his unsolicited email to us at X1 that initiated our dialogue, “I cannot survive without it.”

A computer-savvy scientist, Dr. Levitt relies on a Macintosh laptop with VMWare virtualization running a Windows OS, where he stores 200 gigabytes of data, including 40 gigabytes of over 300,000 emails, and of course relies on X1 to make sense of it all. “Next to my computer itself, X1 is the one tool I can’t do without,” explained Dr. Levitt.  “People use the term ‘big data’ a lot these days, but the most important ‘big data’ for me is the 200 gigabytes on my laptop that consists of decades of research, important communications with fellow academics, and other key resources.  X1 enables me to find what I am looking for instantaneously. It is a very effective interface to all of my information.”

Dr. Levitt credits X1’s lightning-fast, iterative and faceted search capability, along with X1’s reliability and stability, as enabling him to quickly and tactically sift through 200 gigabytes of emails and academic research. “X1 is an intimate part of my workflow — it is essentially an extension of my mind when I engage in information retrieval, which is many times an hour during my workday.”

In addition to locating his research and other critical data, X1 proved very handy to Dr. Levitt in managing an important email response project. “When I was awarded the Nobel, I received over two thousand congratulatory emails. I used X1 to cross reference my sent folder to make sure I replied to them all. That X1 shortcut saved me several hours alone!”

Dr. Levitt’s testimonial echoes similar sentiments expressed by many high-powered business professionals at top financial institutions, major law firms, consulting companies and science and engineering firms. They all rely on X1 to dramatically enhance their productivity by quickly locating their information amongst an ever-increasing avalanche of emails and other data.

We here at X1 extend our congratulations to Dr. Levitt for his 2013 Nobel prize in Chemistry, as well as our sincere thanks to him for reaching out to us and sharing his enthusiastic feedback on X1 search, which, incidentally, is completely gratis. “Just keep developing great software” is all he asked for in return.

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For more information about X1 Search 8, including a free 14 day trial, please visit here >

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Filed under Case Study, Desktop Search