11/4/09

Westlaw's OnePass Fiasco: A Study In How NOT To Roll Out A Change

Heads up to all you Westlaw users out there... you're about to face "change" dead in the face!
ThomsonReuters is rolling out a change in its password system and require everyone to roll over to their "OnePass System" by the end of January 2010. This, in and of itself, is not a big issue, but how they've started rolling out the change is. Seems that some of the Westlaw reps knew about this months ago and gave their folks the heads up. While others either didn't know, or didn't pass the message along until a mass email went out last Thursday -- announcing the change that was rolling out two days later.
Needless to say, there are some folks in the law library world that aren't happy with the way this was handled.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that sometimes we librarians can get a little freaked out on small issues, but I think this is one situation that should have been handled with a little more forethought on the side of West. Librarians tend to be the ones that have to pass along these changes to the attorneys, and in some firms, the librarian to attorney ratio can be 1:100 or more. Although theoretically we have until January 31, 2010 (nearly 3 months) before the roll out is finalized and the Westlaw sign on page goes away forever to be replaced by the OnePass sign on page, the process has already begun and now librarians are having to play catch up.
It would have been a lot better for West to announce this through the local reps at least a month before the OnePass registration process began. This would have given the librarians enough time to ask questions, prepare FAQ's, and work with other vendors that may be affected by the change (such as those Monitoring Software packages I talked about a few weeks ago.) Now librarians have to deal with many issues all at once rather than how to implement the changes in an orderly fashion.
We'll all survive this change, and probably be stronger as a result. But, next time, let's all work together to make sure we don't have to scramble to achieve the changes just because there is a lack of communication between the vendor and the clients. An ounce of communication can prevent a pound of complaints later!!

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5 comments:

Cindy said...

You don't mention the fact that for most of our users, the process to change the log-in information did not work correctly, causing all kinds of angst. Maybe it isn't mentioned here because it was just us.

I found it frustrating that I had to alert faculty and students to the change because those logging in were forced to take some kind of action, even if to say remind me later, even when I knew it wasn't working correctly.

In fairness to our rep, we were told at the beginning of school that this would happen sometime in November, though not an exact date. I got no such "Thursday heads-up email."

Greg Lambert said...

Cindy... there was just too many issues to even attempt to list all of them. There are West km problems from some, frequency of password changes questions, and third-party applications that are tied to the West login screens (just to name a few). I think this is just one more item that we're seeing from ThomsonReuters that can be labeled under the heading "the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing."

I do love my reps, and I love my library relations person, but, I'd love 'em more if they could get the "powers-that-be" in Eagan to give them better communications when changes like this come down the pike.

John Hightower said...

Although warnings would have been nice, we haven't had any problems with this change. I'll have to "herd the cats" (my unofficial job title is catherder) at my firm to make sure they make the change. And I'll probably wind up having to change most of the passwords myself, but the process is actually pretty easy and worked extremely well.

Jeff said...

Why do you say "everyone" must roll over "by the end of January 2010"? Based on what I've read/heard (example), I have understood that this roll out was being done in phases, with different users being assigned different end-dates, with all roll-outs to be completed by late 2010.

Greg Lambert said...

Jeff,

The reason I said "everyone" was because at the time of my writing this, I had the following information from Natalie Branchini of Thomson Reuters:

"You can do it later too. You'll see a message notifying you of the date you need to create your OnePass profile by – January 31, 2010. But don't wait until the last day! Since every OnePass user needs a unique I.D., you'll want to register right away to reserve your preferred username before someone else does. As they say ... the early bird gets the worm." (emphasis mine)

So, based on this email, I assumed everyone was to change over by 31 January. I've since heard May 20th and now end of 2010. It seems as if this might be a "work in progress." Thanks for the updated information.

 

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