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Case Study | Cassels Brock & Blackwell | Autonomy/iManage 8.5 Upgrade

Autonomy/iManage 8.5 Upgrade and Email Management Module Implementation

Background – Requirements

Cassels Brock is a large, sophisticated and respected Canadian law firm embarking on a large-scale system renewal project in 2010. This project consisted of replacing almost all hardware, servers, switches, etc. and upgrading all core software with the exception of the financial system. One segment of the project was the upgrade of Worksite from version 8.2 running the Verity index to version 8.5 running the newly released IDOL index.

Additionally, the email management module ('EMM') was to be rolled out to all firm members who were not yet using it. This represented the vast majority of the firm as most were not on EMM prior to this upgrade. The upgrade also contemplated upgrading the current version of Interwoven Universal Search (IUS) from the current version 6.1, to the newer, IDOL-based version, 7.x. This included the custom weightings and interface which had been developed previously. These upgrades were to happen in parallel with the other substantive infrastructure upgrades which were being implemented though the course of the project.

Why was ii3 chosen?

ii3 was chosen to perform this complicated upgrade for several reasons. First, it was accepted that the original implementation of Worksite in full matter-centric mode had been less than ideal. It was felt that the original consultants who had performed the implementation had left Cassels with a less-than-optimal system. Given ii3’s deep experience and knowledge of DMS design, implementation and operational fundamentals it was felt that ii3 could offer a quality rework of the existing implementation. Cassels and their interim CIO held Peter Lamb, ii3’s DMS expert, in high regard and felt that he was the right person to lead this project.

Further, given that the project was extensive and would require every staff hour Cassels had available, it was felt that the firm would be unable to provide enough quality project management time to be able to properly manage the project. ii3’s broad experience and proven track record was an integral part of the selection process. Cassels had contracted Kraft Kennedy to perform the server and infrastructure upgrade and felt that KK and ii3 would be able to work well throughout this project. Finally, ii3 had already provided some consulting on the implementation of IUS as a KM product for the firm and Cassels held great confidence in Joshua Fireman, ii3’s KM and search expert, who would be an integral asset for this aspect of the project.

Process/Solution Description

The solution to many of the complexities of this project really came down to one thing. It was determined that communication between the two contracted groups, ii3 and KK would be paramount to success. A clear and formal communication plan involving shared project plans, issues lists etc., was established early in the project. Regular meetings involving both groups and Cassels were held and proved to be immensely useful. Great attention was paid to resource management and Cassels was provided with a single source of contact for each work package to avoid confusion.

The solution encompassed a plan to build out the new physical environment first as a development/test environment and then to switch this environment from development to production as certain components were completed and tested. This was a complex plan as database clusters, core switches and file servers were all being moved at the same time. Extensive testing was completed to ensure that all connectivity was correct and that no user functions would suffer during the switch-overs.

The DMS upgrade was at the core of this complexity as the 8.5 backend upgrade is an “all or nothing” switch and so much of the timing was centered around this timing. The switch to the full IDOL index took place over a weekend with the current 8.2 clients reporting to the new index. The 8.2 client machines were later upgraded to the 8.5 client in concert with the training plan.

Outcome

Despite the complexities introduced by doing so much all at once, the 8.2 to 8.5 backend upgrade was performed without incident. The IDOL index was brought online several weeks later after several reindexing initiatives were carried out to force the new version of IUS to provide similar results to the previous Verity-based engine. All client workstations have been upgraded to version 8.5 and the Email Management module is now in regular use by all firm members.

However, the upgrade to IUS was not as successful as we would have liked, and the firm decided to roll-back to IUS version 6.1 a month after launch. It turned out that the IUS product (with the IDOL index) was not, at the time, ready to handle the complex weighting, filtering and display requirements that had been developed by Cassels with the Verity engine.

A lab was established to house a copy of the index and the Autonomy/iManage search engineers and ii3 have been working together to develop a solution. After a full round of appropriate testing, the new version will be reintroduced to the firm.


 

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