Matter-Center for Office 365 is an inexpensive cloud solution to help legal professionals manage documents and email in the context of clients and matters. With any device, when you want, anywhere.
In plain English: cloud document and email management software for legal practices that works anywhere.
What is new or different about Matter-Center ?
Whilst there are plenty of established solutions in the legal digital document management market, we believe there is a product : market gap around functionality, usability and full-life cost. Our differentiation is to deliver a product with real and perceived value that fills the gap based on:
Usability (design simplicity and intuitive journeys). We believe that business systems should be no more complex to use than buying stuff on Amazon or selling on eBay. We do this with no training, so why should legal document management be different ? The Matter-Center journey and interface have been designed to simplify the document management experience, with any device, for intuitive productivity without training or manuals. Really.
Low cost (using the Microsoft cloud platform). With a focus on people and process, law firms should not have to invest in owning and feeding low level technology platforms. Now that the IT industry offers credible utility platforms as public clouds, we can all enjoy better globalised economies of scale for cost and service. Matter-Center is built on Microsoft Office 365 for document storage and Microsoft Azure as the application platform.
If you have a modern digital document management solution then you probably don’t, but if you are doing nothing, using an unstructured solution such as local disk, network shares or drop-box your missing out on some good stuff, like:
Replace paper client and matter files with electronic records, reducing print and storage costs whilst improving process efficiency with clear version and author provenance.
Find and re-use existing internal IP to improve effectiveness of specialist practices that don’t rely on public precedents.
View and mark up matter content anywhere with secured mobile devices, getting things done when you want.
Manged extranet publishing and collaboration with clients to improve service, and control proliferation of material.
If reducing paper or improving productivity and governance, risk, compliance (ready for GDPR ?) are not interesting then walk on by, nothing to see here folks.
It doesn’t look like the Microsoft Matter Center I saw in 2015
When Microsoft released the Matter Center framework as open source in late 2015 we loved the concept, but not so much the user experience or interface which we have completely re-written to our design philosophy.
Our user research suggests that “getting things done when and where they want” is a top issue for UK lawyers, so our Matter Center product focuses on elegant document and email management that works anywhere on any device.
The focus on mobility required us to drop the non-portable SharePoint functions such as tasks, notes and calendars found in the original Matter Center beta. These functions are better handled by a complimentary Practice Management System.
There seem to be a bunch of different folks offering Matter Center
The Microsoft success is in part built on its unique partner ecosystem that no other tech platform leader has managed to emulate. Microsoft loves partners, and we love competition.
There are a number of Microsoft partners elaborating the Matter Center framework as a platform to build custom solutions, but no one (we are aware of) is investing to productize in the way we are. Buy or build, you get to choose. We love choices.
Can Matter Center for Office 365 be used for other industries
Yes Matter Center can be used for other industries.
The current legal focus on client and matter/case will be extended to accommodate any professional services business that deals with documents and email in the context of clients and projects. Expect to see this towards the end of 2016.
Whilst it would appear simple to make “lawyer ” and “matter” generic “consultant” and “case” or “project”, there are a number of intricacies such as external integration for client/case inception and updates.
Matter-Center Setup & configuration
What content do you migrate ?
None, as this is a product rather than a service. We will facilitate simple data import (e.g. box, drop-box file shares) during the setup and configuration process.
Retrospective application of a taxonomy and metadata to unstructured information, or conversion from an existing document schema, to import into Matter-Center would need a consulting engagement with a Matter-Center legal IT partner.
The good news is that if your content is already in SharePoint online, Matter-Center will be able to search to surface along with our controlled matter content (if desired).
Can I see my existing SharePoint content in Matter Center ?
Yes you can through the global search function. The content will not be structured to view through Matter-Center interface, or have the metadata attached to refine searches, but a Matter Center global search returns all relevant content in the Office 365/SharePoint online tenancy.
What happens if I want to stop subscribing to Matter-Center ?
With your information saved to SharePoint sites in your Office 365 tenancy you can still access your clients, matters and content directly through the SharePoint interface in the unlikely event you wish to stop using the Matter-Center application. No one way trap doors or vendor lock-in (OK, except with Microsoft).
What dependencies and other IT stuff do I need for this to work ?
The Matter-Center solution deploys an information architecture configuration to your Office 365 SharePoint sites environment along with an organisation add-in that is deployed to Office 2016 desktop applications.
The solution is dependent on your Office 365 Business Premium (or above) subscription per internal user.
The Matter-Center solution deploys a web front-end application to your Microsoft Azure subscription (using Active Directory, SSL, Webapp, Redis cache components). These are fixed cost subscriptions to avoid open ended consumption based liabilities. If you don’t already have an Azure subscription, we can of course help with the provisioning and configuration as part of application setup.
What scale can you cope with ?
Technology platform limitations are inherited from the Office 365 SharePoint online cloud services.
For scale Microsoft acknowledges production SharePoint online sites in the range of 1 Petabyte (that’s 1000 terabytes) and 1 billion objects if you can afford that storage.
For service the 99.9% up-time is defined by Microsoft Office 365 availability.
Our specific application structure limits in terms of clients, matters, files and users are published on our authoritative Pricing and Licencing page at https://www.matter-center.com/pricing
How secure is the Matter-Center cloud solution ?
The Matter-Center solution is a web application which runs in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. As a global public cloud utility, Microsoft has invested in protection that most commercial organisations are unable to match:
The Matter-Center subscription provides access to any updates that are released during the period of cover, including fixes and enhancements.
Updates that only affect the front end web application are applied automatically outside of your time zone working hours.
As we do not have direct access to your Microsoft Office 365, updates affecting that environment are notified to the customer activation email address and published in a secure online area as simple “run to update” packages.
What technical administration does Matter-Center need ?
The Matter-Center solution does not need any administration during normal usage.
The Matter-Center document sites in Office 365 are self maintaining, but if you also use the SharePoint online sites environment for other business publishing or team collaboration it may benefit from some administrative care and feeding on occasion.
How are subscriptions managed ?
A subscription key is issued that is coded to your installation with the maximum number of users and expiry/renewal date.
The expiry date and users are reported on the administration and settings page, and we issue reminder emails to your billing and activation contacts 30 days before expiry/renewal.
If you need to add more users, we invoice for the additional (new users * months to run to your current renewal date) and issue a new subscription key to load.
If your user count exceeds the configured Azure web service, we can extend that as part of our support or liaise with your local IT to do so.