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Exchange • Winter 2013 > Thought Leadership > Innovation and the Ever Connected World

Innovation and the Ever Connected World

By Mike Walker, Chief Software Architect

Mike Walker

As a follow up to my last article Interesting Innovations in Technology that will Impact the Way We Work and Live, I thought this would be a good time to explain what we are doing within Thomson Reuters Elite to provide our customers with new and innovative solutions that embrace technology.

Last year at the Thomson Reuters Elite User Conference in Las Vegas, we shared our journey of developing a strategy to embrace change in the legal landscape and how to best leverage your investments in our key software products. Workspace was announced to the public and since then we have been overwhelmed with praise for the approach and genuine passion around our vision.

Innovation within Workspace

Thomson Reuters Elite team members have worked tirelessly to deliver access to your information from Line of Business (LOB) solutions in a consistent and innovative way. Mobility plays a key part in the computing landscape with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and other changes in the use of portable computing such as the iPad, Microsoft Surface, Galaxy Tab, and the Amazon Kindle HD. These all change the way we work and interact with technology at home and at work.

We have embraced the movement to portable computing but are also looking for ways to leverage your investments in technology that is already in place. Workspace is the start of this approach, and our key goal is to provide a platform of functionality that helps embrace your existing investments but allows us to reshape the approach for delivering this information to you. Workspace aims to deliver and aggregate information from all of your desired systems to provide a consistent and multi-platform for mobile, Web and office applications to view your information wherever and whenever you need it.

The Ever Connected World

Today we have an ever connected world through the Internet. This now extends to mobile telephone networks using 3G, 4G and LTE based technologies. From the right location, mobile phones can have a better connection to the Internet than your office or home. This rate of change is staggering but driven by the desire to store more online in the cloud in order to provide greater performance and accessibility wherever you are. Planes now have Wi-Fi on board which again shows how accessible the resources of the Internet are. We now have a new dilemma of how to protect and secure the information flowing over the public Internet.

This is why a primary goal of the Thomson Reuters Elite Development Teams is security. One advantage to the approach we have taken is that we can become a gatekeeper of the information. Because the route to the data is through the Thomson Reuters Elite software platform, we can consistently secure access.

As an example we can define data and describe how we are allowed access to this information. Workspace will be dynamic and extensible with the ability to define views and filter this based on features like user log in, the location of the device at the point of request, the type of device and security configuration.

An example may be a sensitive report that’s available only for a certain set of users and only when they are working on the internal network. This shows how you can use the Ever Connected World in a smart way and be sensitive to firm policies where required.

Information is King

We realize that the value of the information stored in your practice and matter management systems is key to delivering a great service. Being able to use this information intelligently and in a way that provides access to information without overwhelming you is where we are investing heavily.

Utilizing intelligent data stores and providing third party access to add to this information stream allows us to innovate and add metrics and information unheard of a few years ago. We are developing ways to bring all of this together in a way that empowers you to further extend this to your requirements. The next step is to govern access to this information and expose it where and when you want to see it.

An example of this would be to take competitive analysis from a third party about your clients and expose this alongside your matters to keep abreast of the latest news, stock information, and social network feeds like Twitter and Facebook. Having this available within Workspace before and when you interact with a client makes it even more valuable. This feature is not unique, but the ability to bring them together and add to these data streams refining them using the Workspace platform is how you keep abreast for now and in the future.

How Do I Process All of This Information?

We have gone past the pivot point of too much information making the way we use IT a bad experience. We have screens full of data to account for all of the people working within the firm. This makes it hard to find specific details. We need search screens for the data screens we are using to help us locate what we are looking for. This is not good and makes for a poor user experience.

We are aiming to simplify this by extending intelligence into the system and describing how and what each bit of data is needed for. This helps us deliver information where and for who it is relevant. It ensures we only send and display information that is relevant to you.

A good example of this is in the New Business Intake process where there are potentially hundreds of fields of data to be captured across the firm for all disciplines. Often these fields are added to a bucket list and without consideration as to the audience that may be asked to fill them in. Using Workspace we will be able to add value and metadata to each field to help us filter and appropriately display this in a slick and refined user experience increasing user satisfaction and accuracy of data capture. Each person in the workflow will be able to get to what they need, reducing complexity and improving productivity simply by Workspace filtering appropriately, based on device, user, and location.


At VANTAGE 2013 Miami we will showcase exciting new ways of working with your Thomson Reuters Elite systems. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but we will be looking to demonstrate Workspace alongside our future concept of the legal office. This will show how serious we are about taking the lead in innovation within the legal landscape.

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