Today’s my last day in New York and I’m ready to get back to Houston where the bathtubs don’t sit in the middle of my living room, surrounded by two walls of plate glass windows, overlooking a park full of joggers. As I mentioned earlier this week, a few bloggers were asked to come to NYC to take a fresh look at Wolters Kluwer (WK) IntelliConnect product and give them some feedback about what we thought about it. I’ll give a more in-depth review later, but I did want to make some comments of what I thought about the people I met with yesterday. 

The meeting was held on the WK training floor, there were four bloggers including me, and about eight or nine WK folks. After a short introduction and an overview of the product, we started having a real conversation about what was good, what needed fixing, and where the product and market were heading in the future. All of us seeded to have had some lightbulb moments throughout the day where some of our preconceived notions were challenged and most of us walked away at the end of the day a little better understanding of each other. 

Wolters Kluwer is going through a transition right now where it is attempting to move away from being a ‘holding company’, to one that is integrating all of its different acquisitions into one platform.  As many of us remember, WK’s IntelliConnect had a number of problems on its initial launch last year, and has been scrambling to regain its footing after stumbling out of the gate. I specifically  asked them if they understood the image problem they had from some of its users, and they all said that they do understand that, and that was one of the reasons they asked us to be there.

One of the notions I had to overcome was the fact that IntelliConnect is not a legal research tool in the same way that Westlaw or Lexis is designed. IntelliConnect is designed for ‘power users’ in specific legal practices. It was interesting listening to the conversations between the bloggers telling WK that they need to make changes in the interface to work in a way that younger associates expect their online research to look and feel. At the same time, WK kept coming back at us with the fact that the product was developed to work the way that their advanced users wanted… And that was to make it more like using the books than using online research. That brought up the question that none of us could find a simple answer to, and that was how do you balance the needs of researchers that on one end of the spectrum are traditional treatise-in-the-books kind of researchers versus the incoming Google ‘give me a search box and let me go’ type researchers? That seems to be the $64,000 question… Which is probably how much this bathtub in my hotel room costs.