Choosing an Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) solution can seem like a daunting task. A single solution handling such a broad swath of a company’s operations could understandably give one pause. But when an organization chooses a flexible ELM platform, with technology that facilitates the use of many of the company’s existing legal and compliance solutions, the transition to an ELM approach is simplified. Such a platform enables the legal and compliance teams to leverage a carefully tailored set of complementary solutions they already use, accommodating their preferences as well as meeting their ELM needs.

As I discussed in my previous post, a robust partner ecosystem also includes the ability of third-party software vendors and system integrators to design, build, and support products that link the ELM platform and adjacent, complementary technologies. In the parlance of ELM Solutions, these linking products are known as Connectors. This ecosystem expansion increases and improves the overall ELM expertise “gene pool” and adds flexibility clients can take advantage of when deciding how they will use their ELM system. In this post, I’ll highlight a few of the Passport Connectors to show how clients can benefit from including them in their ELM implementation.

Microsoft® Windows® File System Connector

Managing documents is a significant part of the workday for a large percentage of legal, claims, and compliance professionals. Any tool that can help make that process easier and more efficient is a great benefit to ELM users. The Microsoft Windows File System Connector simplifies document management work by enabling users to open and edit Passport documents associated with a Passport matter in the familiar folder-style view of the Windows Explorer interface. Users appreciate the quick, easy access to documents that this Connector provides, in addition to the improved ability to collaborate that it supports.

With the Microsoft Windows File System Connector, Passport users can:

  • Drag and drop documents between Passport matter document folders and their own desktop, folders, or emails.
  • Work with their documents in the folders view and automatically save changes back to Passport without opening it.
  • Improve effectiveness of collaboration by using the Connector’s version control features, which ensure that staff members always access the current version of all documents in Passport.

Because document management is such an important aspect of ELM, the Windows File System Connector is only one of several tools that can help clients streamline their document-related processes. The next example shows how external document management solutions can be integrated within the Passport platform.

Alfresco® One Document Management Connector

Many legal departments and claims organizations begin using a document management application before deciding to implement an ELM platform. For these departments, or for those who simply have a preference for a full-featured standalone solution, Alfresco One is a popular choice – and one that can be implemented alongside Passport via a Connector.

The combination of Alfresco document management with Passport ELM enables companies to manage a high-volume of documents efficiently and easily, making it straightforward for users to store and locate documents in a folder structure that reflects each client’s organizational needs. Alfresco One’s search and filtering capabilities are also supported, with the capacity to search for both document content and metadata.

By virtue of connecting Alfresco One to Passport, users can associate documents to specific matters, invoices, organizations, and people in the Passport Matter Management application. Collaboration features are also supported, allowing for document check-in and check-out, version control, and display of document version history.

In addition, further productivity enhancements are available when Alfresco is implemented along with the Microsoft Windows File System Connector.

But document management isn’t the only area that can benefit from Passport’s Connector approach. Legal holds are another area where a Connector can bring the best solution available on the market directly into the Passport user experience.

Exterro Legal HoldTM Connector

Legal holds management is a complex undertaking. It consumes a great deal of legal department time and resources and is subject to very strict due diligence requirements that ensure the collection and preservation of all data relevant to litigation. Building a close link to a legal department’s matter management and discovery management processes into the selected ELM solution not only improves efficiency, but also protects against the significant risks of mishandled legal holds.

The Exterro Legal Hold Connector offers Passport users the scalability and configurability of Exterro’s leading Legal Hold solution. The flexibility built into this solution means that it can meet the preservation needs of almost any enterprise, establishing two-way communication between Passport and Exterro Legal Hold and comprehensive management of legal holds along with their associated matters.

With the Exterro Legal Hold Connector, clients can:

  • Transfer matter information automatically from Passport to Exterro Legal Hold
  • Transfer legal hold information automatically from Exterro Legal Hold to Passport
  • Display legal hold information within the Passport interface
  • View and report on legal holds in the context of relevant matter and cost detail

By streamlining and integrating legal hold technology into an established ELM platform, this Connector improves efficiency and enforces compliance with regulations and processes, mitigating risks and lowering costs.

Flexibility and Extensibility

Connector capabilities provide a method for clients to combine their preferred applications directly with their ELM processes efficiently and easily, and ensure forward compatibility with upcoming software versions. Trusted solutions need not be abandoned in order to implement a state-of-the-art ELM platform – instead, such a platform should offer the flexibility to incorporate these best-in-class solutions and deliver the most configurable and powerful possible ELM experience.

The Passport Connectors highlighted in this post are some of the most popular, but there are many others available or under consideration for many different types of legal point solutions. In future blog posts, I’ll introduce you to more examples of how a flourishing ELM ecosystem that includes Passport, replete with a state-of-the-art technology platform and partner network, stands to benefit both corporate clients and law firms.

About The Author

Joseph Vodvarka

As the Director of Strategic Alliances for ELM Solutions, Joe Vodvarka is responsible for the strategic direction and execution of the company’s global partner programs. He recruits and on-boards new program participants, engages in field sales and service delivery planning, and ensures the successful alignment of partners, including IBM, Exterro, Huron Legal, Duff & Phelps, eBillingHub, and others. Since joining the company in 2011, Vodvarka has introduced enterprise alliance management best practices to, and secured strategic relationships with, more than sixty software, consulting, and services organizations that support the global legal technology industry.

Before joining ELM Solutions, Vodvarka served as a consultant to enterprise corporations, advising on and managing technology alliances, partner ecosystems, channel strategy and sales, and marketing programs. Prior to that, he managed channel sales operations in enterprise software companies, including Voyence (EMC), Embarcadero, and BMC Software, achieving significant and consistent revenue success through channel partners.

Vodvarka is a member of the Alliance...