Workflow Tools at West

Chip Cater explains Thomson West’s new approach to its products, moving from a product focus to a customer focus, not trying to change customer behavior but changing tools to be more explicit and fit with customer workflow. West has synonym tables oriented toward legal vocabulary. If someone enters “reach of contract,” West will say “Did you mean breach of contract?” By focusing on customers, West realized it owned a lot of content it had never pulled together. It was offering cases, statutes and regulations, but users also wanted jury verdicts. So West started creating new products from stuff they already had and segmenting workflow based on types of law/user type/job role.

Lessons learned: Workflow of litigators lead to successful reframing of the market; if you link it, they will come; approximately correct not precisely wrong; it’s not about software, you’ve got to get software and content together, but that’s really hard; focus on workflow led to additional growth.

Marydee Ojala
Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Professionals

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