Legal tech companies Autologyx, Avvoka and BRYTER have become iManage‘s first Solution Partners, in a move that signals a widening out of the KM and DMS focused company’s strategy.
The 750-strong US-based business, which has a large team in the UK, already has plenty of tech partners, but this special cohort, as Nick Thomson, GM at iManage AI explained, is something different.
‘The Solution Partner programme is designed to add another level to what we already do, to work more closely with the companies, and to have pre-integrated connectors [between iManage and them],’ he said.
The aim is that these partners, Avvoka – contract automation, negotiation and key data analysis; BRYTER – no-code decision automation; and Autologyx – a no-code digital operations platform, will take a data-led approach to working closely with iManage, where for example any data extracted through, or in connection with, one of the above companies’ products can be channeled back into the iManage DMS.
These close integrations with the three companies – which have also been thoroughly tested out to ensure reliability – allow iManage to provide greater information governance capabilities and provide a detailed audit trail of what actions have taken place during a matter, e.g. what happened in the review of a contract, and where the extracted data has been sent to.
And then this is where it gets really interesting strategically. As Thomson noted, some of the projects they are looking at relate to ‘due diligence, repapering and compliance’, i.e. far from the shores of traditional KM work.
All of these use cases centre on contracts, and of course iManage is a DMS at heart, so it is the ultimate home of those contracts. Plus its iManage AI division (previously RAVN) is using NLP and other approaches to improve search and KM in general. So, this all lines up.
But, what is happening here is that iManage is also extending out its reach across the market, not via merger, nor loose API relationships, but through strong partnerships where certain applications are synched into iManage in a way that gives clients confidence that any new data or contract changes generated during a process, e.g. a repapering, is correctly added to the DMS.
Artificial Lawyer asked Ed Wilson, CEO of Autologyx, what this all meant to him.
‘Having not just an integration, but a structured partnership to co-design workflow and automation products in and around one of the biggest ecosystems in our market is a big win for us – and our experience to date is that this is a very mature outfit: the breadth of what we can do with these integrations is huge,’ he said.
‘And while our product is initially focused on large scale, multi-tiered document review workflows integrated to iManage, the intention is to build out further workflows over time. Autologyx remains a broad product, and is used across legal and compliance, in areas as disparate as contracting, claims, and entity management.’
One way of looking at this would be to see iManage’s DMS as the core of a constantly extending platform, with a range of tools linked into it in a highly integrated way. Some of those tools it operates already, e.g. its own NLP tools via the AI (former RAVN) division; but now it’s adding other capabilities in a tightly knitted together way via the partnerships.
(And for legal tech history nerds, RAVN as a brand has now been retired. iManage bought the pioneering legal AI company back in 2017. But the name meant many things to many different people and prior to the deal RAVN had explored multiple use cases. So, it was perhaps inevitable this would happen, although it’s always a bit sad to see the end of a much-loved brand name in the market. P.S. for those who are really into legal tech history, RAVN was also the first legal AI company that Artificial Lawyer ever met, back in 2016, and it played a major role in inspiring this site to explore this field of legal tech.)
But, back to the main story…..
Thomson also underlined the importance of the adoption of Microsoft Azure as the global platform for the iManage Cloud. This gives legal sector users confidence that data can be held within specific boundaries, e.g. only within the EU.
While these various elements may seem disconnected, for Thomson it’s all part of a broader way of seeing what iManage does: making it an essential part of the data architecture of the legal sector, and stretching into multiple other areas, not just KM and DMS work – but without having to own those other solutions.
Thomson concluded: ‘This is about providing an ecosystem of legal tech, which clients can stay logged into, and stay compliant with because of Azure.’
He added that the first three members of the solution partnerships were just the beginning and more companies would follow.