In the same way legal technology providers have been making use of Outlook as the hub of a lawyers daily lives now Microsoft are at it. It’s not news but now that I have been playing with the social connector for a while I wanted to share some of my thoughts.
Right to the main question for a law firm. Do I think it should be turned on by default? Quite simply yes but with some caveats.
- At an enterprise level you can control the networks available
- It doesn’t have an adverse effect on performance
Like it or not, people are more connected and even the risk averse lawyers are ‘getting’ social media now. At this time the only default network which fits naturally on a enterprise desktop would be LinkedIn. Things like Facebook and MySpace aren’t quite in the same league yet with regards to the ‘professional’ nature of the sites. Obviously Microsoft will add new connectors, but they also provide a developement kit. I won’t re-type Jason’s post from some months ago on social connectors as he sums it all up nicely – but the potential is there to really improve access to content internal and external to the benefit of your lawyers.
As for performance. We all know lawyers spend increasing amounts of time in Outlook and it does seem natural jump off point. The main issue is that add-in’s are delicate beasties, and in anything earlier than Outlook 2007 you are always going to encounter add-introuble. I wrote a post some months ago re Outlook 2010 whereby I mentioned the added benefit 2010 provides around add-in resiliency. This is an essential improvement of previous Outlook clients and coupled with Exchange 2010 I’m sure performance of Outlook will be less of a bind for our lawyers.
Have you implemented the social connector as part of your 2010 project or is the business questioning its benefit? It would be great to hear from you.