Last week, Doug Horton sat down with accomplished author, speaker and legal influencer Ari Kaplan to talk about Handshake Software, how the company has earned its position as market leading provider of SharePoint products & services in Legal, and what’s ahead for SharePoint 2013. Click here to listen to the full audio podcast or read the shortened Q&A summary below.
Q Tell us about the genesis of Handshake Software and its mission.
A I founded the company in 2000 and we started working with SharePoint 2001 in 2002 helping a large legal vendor on a project but our real focus on SharePoint began with SharePoint 2003. In the past, we have helped law firms leverage the SharePoint Search engine but with the inclusion of the FAST engine in SharePoint 2013, we have seen a huge increase in our projects helping law firms with Enterprise Search using SharePoint 2013. In addition, we help firms leverage SharePoint as a document and email management system as a replacement for iManage or eDOCS.
Q Last August, Handshake acquired Thomson Reuter’s OneView portal and extranet customer base (XMLAW). What’s changed since that acquisition?
A Life after the acquisition has been incredibly busy and we have grown substantially, adding people to help manage the growth. We are committed to supporting the OneView clients on the SharePoint platform up to and including SharePoint 2010. One big switch for the OneView clients is that all of the Support and Development is now located in the U.S., in our Tallahassee office, and everyone involved is a full-time Handshake Software employee. This provides the continuity required to address issues in a timely manner.
Q You mentioned SharePoint 2013. How has not version impacted the legal community?
A We have been helping some of our more advanced clients take extensive use of SharePoint since SP 2007 for Intranets and Extranets. The potential game changer for SP 2013 is in Search and using it as an enterprise search engine. Since SharePoint does not provide “out-of-the-box” integration, we created a product – SP Bridge – that allows SharePoint to crawl not only the content but also the associated security.
Q What’s the basis of the ‘SharePoint as a DMS’ debate and what’s your position?
A SharePoint will be the eventual winner in this debate but only with the help of partner’s like Handshake Software and others that provide extensions and the functionality required by the law firms. Since SP 2007, Office and SharePoint have been designed to work together. However, I think the big revolution will be the use of Microsoft Office 365. This will dramatically change the infrastructure and personnel costs for the law firms. We are seeing some firms move to private cloud solutions, but I think the real cost savings and speed of deployment will be realized with Microsoft Office 365.
Q You are speaking at ILTA’s SharePoint Symposium 2014 … about what?
A Henry Bernet of Pillsbury Winthrop and I are presenting a session titled “The Great Debate: Buy vs. Build”. As more and more vendors develop solutions for SharePoint, what are the advantages of buying vs. building? The debate is on! We’ll explore value proposition and identify market vendors. Which method will be right for your organization?