If a trusted supplier announces they’re discontinuing a service your business relies on, it’s easy to panic. But when law firm Linklaters learnt its current awareness service was being phased out, the organisation saw an opportunity, not a problem.
As Information & Research Manager, Procurement, Isabella Folwell explains, Linklaters had been considering switching suppliers anyway. “With our current awareness product no longer being developed and actively supported, we were looking for alternatives,” she describes. “We were seeking a solution that would not only enable us to continue doing what we were doing, but that would also improve the service both from the user and admin perspectives.” “The product was standing still,” confirms her colleague, Ana Paula Aleixo, Information & Research Manager, Current Awareness, “but our requirements were changing.”
With 4,500 staff – including 2,700 qualified lawyers – and a global presence, identifying and monitoring every relevant source of information is a real challenge for Linklaters.
In order to meet information requirements across the practice areas and locations in which it operates, the firm subscribes to a number of current awareness services. Different offices and individuals use the most appropriate services for their particular needs.
Consolidation was a key project goal: “We needed to deliver information from many different sources, and we felt we could be more efficient by managing our current awareness initiatives centrally,” confirms Isabella. “Being more consolidated was one of the key motivations for changing how we did things.”
Linklaters discovered Vable while evaluating current awareness suppliers.
“Initially, we were impressed by the breadth of the Vable service,” explains Ana Paula. “It carries not only content from major suppliers, but also draws on a whole range of other sources. On top of that, we can add our own sources.”
“We were also very encouraged by our preliminary meetings with Vable,” elaborates Isabella. “It stood out that they knew the product inside out and were able to answer detailed questions, which gave us confidence.”
After evaluating Vable in depth, Linklaters decided it was the most appropriate current awareness service for the firm’s requirements. With contracts signed, implementation began.
For phase one, all Linklaters’ existing feeds were moved into Vable. Technical staff from Vable and Linklaters worked closely to achieve the transfer with minimum disruption. “The migration wasn’t painful, I’m glad to say,” describes Ana Paula. “The team at Vable was very proactive and we met our very limited time frame.”
“It’s still early days, but so far everything has gone as planned,” comments Isabella. “The Vable system has a lot of potential and features that we’re not yet using.”
“The customer support has been excellent,” adds Ana Paula. “We received concise briefing sessions and there’s been a good dialogue when issues have arisen. The Vable team has also produced a tailored user guide for us.”
“Longer term, we will be looking at the possibility of integrating Vable with our intranet in a way that would allow us to tailor current awareness for each user,” continues Ana Paula. “They’ll be able to choose what they want to see, what alerts they receive and more.”
“Every office is hungry for information. Vable will contribute to deliver it.”