As your firm embraces the future, you likely are looking for new, innovative technology to manage and exceed client demands. Forward-thinking legal and IT professionals should be asking themselves “Are we embracing modern legal technology? What could our firm do if more of our disparate systems worked together?” The answer lies in integrated matter-centric management software.

In the next few weeks, we’re going to delve into the background of integrated systems, discuss modern case management system architecture, and help you identify and solve key issues related to integrated case management.

We’ll start this week with a historical overview. If you’ve been in the legal industry long enough, you may remember early efforts to develop “all-in-one” software applications. WordPerfect Office 2.0, introduced in 1988, included several integrated features in a single application. Those of us who worked with MS DOS before then well remember the limitation of using one application at a time, making the appeal of an all-in-one solution quite attractive, especially in terms of productivity. Multiple business functions in a single application reduced the need to exit and launch another application to take a note, check a schedule or track time.

As Microsoft Windows introduced the concept of multiple applications running concurrently, functional capabilities of applications became more discrete. Software designers could concentrate on a narrower set of functionalities, resulting in significantly better applications.

This ushered in a new era of “best of breed” applications. With the fragmenting of application functionality came the need to share information between these applications. This requirement was not lost on software designers, particularly at Microsoft. After all, Microsoft was developing best of breed apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). These discrete applications needed to integrate in a way that was seamless and natural so the applications were “tightly integrated.” Hence the phrase, “loosely coupled, tightly integrated” became a strategic design goal for software architects.

Next week, we’ll discuss system architecture. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about legal case management, we invite you to download our Buyer’s Guide for Legal Case Management here.