I’m hearing some rumors that Lexis is finally going to integrate the analytical tool Redwood with their law firm competitive intelligence tool, AtVantage. If this becomes reality, then Lexis may have a chance at building a stronger CI tool in AtVantage by finally leveraging some of the internal information that a firm collects and comparing it to competitior information.

One of the most facinating things I’ve discovered in the land of the major law firms, is the fact that internal information (hours billed, client information, billable rates, expertise data, CRM, DMS… blah, blah, blah….) Is such a hodge-podge of information that is scattered all over the place, and no one seems to know how to throw a net over it and bring it to shore. That is a shame, and it really shouldn’t have come to this point.

In an earlier posting, my good friend Toby Brown attempted to define what Knowledge Management (KM) is. I offered my opinion and said that KM has kind of lost its way and has focused on product support. This has created a situation where keeping a product from crashing is the main goal of the department, rather than using products to leverage our internal experience and expertise to help us face future challenges. So, I offer this challenge to my KM, IT, Library, Marketing, BizDev, CI, Client Development friends….

Get the information out in front of the attorneys so they can have a measuring tool showing them where they stand in their firm. How? By creating dashboards.

Mason White, former VP of Lexis’ AtVantage product, said to me once that attorneys without dashboards are frustrated that they have to request the most basic of information. However, attorneys with dashboards can see where they are, and where they need to improve. It can also spur insights into their practice and create attorneys that are better prepared for the business development side of practicing law.

Dashboards can also create better opportunities for Marketing, Client Development, and BI/CI teams to approach attorneys with plans to extend business with existing clients; to show opportunities for new clients; or, even show attorneys that it is time to get rid of existing clients in order to open up opportunities for better clients.

Dashboards are like leading a horse to water. They may drink, or they may not, but I think that most of the time, you’ll see that they will stick their nose right in there and start taking big gulps (of course, some will choke on the information — that’s just a side benefit!.) So, if you are not coordinating with your KM/IT/Library/Marketing/CI/BI/BD/Client Teams to build dashboards using internal and external information, then you can’t even say that you’ve lead the horse to water.