When I was offered the opportunity to manage the knowledge and precedent resources of a large number of practice groups at one of Australia’s largest and oldest law firms, it soon became clear that the existing delivery method for those resources was dated, and unsuitable for a fast changing legal environment where speed, efficiency, and productivity were becoming the key to competitiveness in an increasingly complex national and global legal market.
Unfortunately, the resources available to create a new method of delivery were limited, and any solution had to be built on existing technologies, and using the resources of a small knowledge management support team.
Subsequently, I proposed moving the relevant knowledge and precedent resources from the existing Word-based catalogues to an online database, to be designed and built in-house by me, with the help of an assistant.
In the six months that followed, I:
- designed the architecture of a new online portal to deliver the knowledge and precedent resources of each of the relevant practice groups online, via the existing intranet infrastructure of the firm;
- built the portal using a combination of available WYSIWYG tools and additional HTML scripting; and
- transferred all existing knowledge and precedent materials into the new online portal, expanded the materials available with the addition of new resources, and retired the old Word-based catalogues.
This project was deliberately planned and implemented with minimal consultation across the firm, in order to ensure the shortest possible lead time, and to meet a swift implementation schedule.
Post-implementation I hosted focus groups, and invited comments and suggestions, to fine-tune the new portal to users’ needs. However, user feedback which was overwhelmingly positive, and very high levels of general satisfaction with the new portal, meant that there was no need for any significant subsequent changes to the design, or content.
The online portal has now been operating for over ten years, largely unchanged and requiring negligible maintenance, serving up over 20,000 page views per month.