Dates with a history

August 17, 2009

Readers with long memories (I am talking ten days or so here) may recall an article Setting up dates for lawyers in which I extended an olive branch to anonymous Blogger 585 with whom I had taken issue in previous posts. 585 had written two articles about the scope for confusion caused by multiple date values stored within some files. Although I have served my time handling rows and columns of data, there is enough to cover in the wider legal and supplier market, and I rarely get into technical minutiae.

What I am interested in (and why I passed on the links which you will find in my post) is the message to lawyers and judges that, whilst there is a mass of technical detail underlying the handling of electronic documents, it is not generally necessary for the lawyer to dirty his hands with it. The lawyer does, however, need to understand what kinds of problems can arise, so that they can be anticipated, so that advice can be sought on them and so that the implications are factored into the time and cost budgets. One good reason for keeping off technical points is that there is usually more than one viewpoint, and I do not particularly want to play host to arguments about the finer points of data handling. Read the rest of this entry »


Web demos allow interest without commitment

August 17, 2009

Technology companies make little use of technology to deliver their messages. Web demos may lack the personal touch of a face-to-face show, but you can reach many more people. They offer unparalleled opportunities to show off your products without the mutual commitment which a physical demo offers. The committed people will find you anyway – it is the others you need to reach.

The two web resources I talk about (from Anacomp/CaseLogistix here and Guidance Software in a separate article) are two I fell over (and the fact that I did so is perhaps interesting in its own right, since being found by people who are not looking is an obvious plus). I am sure they are not the only ones – let me know if you own, or have found, a web demonstration which is interesting as an informational medium.

I wrote recently about software demonstrations which I organised for Lord Justice Jackson (Jackson Litigation Costs Review consultation ends). Epiq Systems, Autonomy,  and FTI Technology each sent along their best demonstrators and compressed their shows into 30 minutes each. The result was one of the most illuminating sessions I have ever seen.

You probably need to be a Lord Justice of Appeal with a report to write to command such a luxury. It is difficult for lawyers to organise multiple demonstrations and for suppliers to send their best men to every firm or company which expresses mild interest in their product. Not the least of the problems is that lawyers are fairly wary of expressing even mild interest. Merely putting their head above the parapet will, they fear, lead to a constant barrage of calls from an eager salesman keen to convert that mild interest into a sale, preferably a big one and during the current quarter. That dreadful question “so how soon will you be making a decision?” is the biggest deal-killer there is, and fear of it puts off those who simply know want what is out there or even just to understand the concepts. The supplier, for its part, has finite resources and an obvious wish to focus on the key targets. The salesmen himself (and it usually is a him) has an obvious personal interest in spending his time with those most likely to reach a quick decision. Read the rest of this entry »


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