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What does Microsoft’s Ignite Mean for Legal? Teams and Toys.

Published on October 21, 2020 – Greg Wildisen co-Founder Panoram – The third in a series of four blogs.

In the previous blogs I made some observations about how the announcements in MS Ignite 2020 would affect legal – The first was titled – There’s an App for that!! and the second was titled Enterprise grade AI tools built right into the Platform.

Third Observation – Teams and Toys: the Obvious Combination!

Its pretty much impossible to not have noticed that MSTeams is becoming the ubiquitous business interface. It’s the new metaphor for where we go first to communicate, collaborate and find what we’re looking for when we are at work (or for most of us home). More on that in a moment but first lets also look at something that is going to become more and more important as the world of Covid continues to disrupt the way we work…

Like most Ignites, this year provided some moments of shear jaw dropping joy as Microsoft unveiled its latest range of hardware toys. As we are all stuck at home in front of our laptop screens (perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a 30” monitor) the new range of screens designed to provide a better virtual meetings environment just took my breath away, as I’m sure they will yours.

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Microsoft launched an 85” Surface Hub – perfect for social distancing (according to the latest MS marketing..) Not so sure about that but if you are bringing some of your employees back to the office it’s a brilliant way to allow you all to keep collaborating whilst being physically apart. Ignite promoted tech featuring 360 degree camera support, attendee auto framing and active speaker tracking, all designed to make working apart almost as easy as working together!! By the way, I’m not suggesting the price tag is going to meet most companies 2021 IT budget, but it’s nice to dream.

And so back to Teams. There is little doubt that MS is now promoting Teams as the UI of the future. Many companies are still using Teams as a simple alternative to Zoom or other phone/video conferencing capability. In reality, it is so much more. It provides a collaboration environment for conferencing, file sharing, apps and workflows. All this in your M365 environment so adhering to your user security model, data storage and sharing through SharePoint / OneDrive, integrated apps including task management, workflow management, even chatbots.

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We see a world where Teams becomes the main business UI, where all business functionality is found first in Teams. What about email I hear a lawyer say? As we move more to instant collaboration, we will see less reliance on email although I’m sure there will be a transition where email will be dealt with within Teams rather than Outlook. Just like finding documents, they will now be found in the Teams you created them within. Stored in the background by the App you are using at the time. Found within the app and broad search anywhere capability, not stored in an organised structure in file finder. This is reality already for digital natives and business will follow suit.

So combine the power of the new ubiquitous UI with the ever growing power of the hardware to deliver it and you have a world where you can work with whoever, whenever, wherever you want. As easily, as efficiently (possibly more so) than physically together. So, cheaper, faster, better… sounds like the right recipe to me.

And how does this relate to legal? Well to be frank it is relevant to every firm, not just law firms and legal departments. But for legal, increasingly being forced to do more with less, trying to deliver better, more efficient services to their clients and innovating and re-imagining the way those services get delivered, not much of a leap really is it. The tools are already being provided to you, its just a matter of getting on board, or not (at your peril I suspect)

In my fourth and final observation I review Microsoft’s latest eDiscovery offering and how it fits into the world of compliance. See you then.