February 16, 2012
Advantage Bloomberg? Part 3: BLaw will not become a viable primary provider until it offers “solutions”
“Who lost DLA Piper's US business?? (I'd find it very hard to believe that a firm, even of DLA Piper's size, would want to carry Westlaw, Lexis AND Bloomberg on their annual budgets.)”
According to comments to Greg's post, the consensus is that Lexis probably lost or will be getting much less of DLA Piper's business. While O'Grady gave WLN a less than stellar endorsement during an AALL panel at Philly 2011 -- "it is what it is" if my faulty memory isn't play tricks on me -- I very seriously doubt DLA Piper dumped its “preferred” customer status with TR Legal.
What about any WEXIS solution "upsells" DLA Piper may have? Take that into consideration when thinking about another question Greg poses.
"If DLA Piper did dump one of the other vendors, what resources does DLA Piper lose in the change? ..."
I would add two related questions assuming DLA Piper and any other BigLaw firm did/has/will dump one of its major vendors when adopting BLaw:
- Did BigLaw also dump vendor “solutions” in addition to dumping a vendor search service?; and
- What forthcoming WEXIS resources and services has BigLaw lost at this time by doing so?
BLaw is not yet a serious contender to be the primary or even sole provider for BigLaw. Except for a small set of BNA solutions (e.g. BNA Auditor and Global Auditor, web-based environment, health and safety compliance auditing tools) BLaw frankly is not really a player in the integrated professional legal services "solutions" market that is dominated by WEXIS. For this reason, it is premature to talk about BLaw really being competitive with WEXIS. It's just not about Search and the databased resources provided anymore.
User Experience: Search+Solution (or Search as one among many solutions being offered). Today, online legal search really needs to be viewed as one among many offered Solutions. Some WEXIS solutions integrate Search from within their applications, some do not. However, all WEXIS solutions are upsell opportunities because WEXIS has boots on the ground to sell them.
There is no doubt in my mind that our major professional legal services vendors will “dashboard” all of their sold solutions (including search) at the institutional level by way of user account management for an integrated user interface. When that happens, it will be the most transformative change in the legal profession since the acceptance of very expensive online legal search. My hunch is the Dashboard user experience will garner wide acceptance in the private sector -- large, small, even solo law plus corporate law departments -- within 10 years. After that, the government and academic legal markets will follow.
But for now, the options remain (1) WEXIS in the generalist market for professional grade "search plus solutions" and (2) BLaw BNA and Wolters Kluwer in the specialist market for higher editorial quality analytical content with "search sans solutions".
BLaw BNA is becoming a high quality secondary source content rich environment. BLaw already licenses, for example, PLI business and law treatises for its online service. The Company will eventually integrate BNA secondary sources into BLaw online. Do note, the recent launch of BNA's Bankruptcy Law Resource Center is, I believe, unprecedented in BNA's resource centers content mix since it includes licensed secondary treatises to compensate for BNA not having any bankrupty treatises of note. This indicates to me that BLaw is quite willing to reach into the Company's deep pockets to provide high quality secondary sources published by industry specific and legal practice area specific professional associations to fill out its online secondary source literature offerings.
Deep Pockets Means BLaw Solutions Are Coming. I seriously doubt Bloomberg will rest on just Search, which of course also includes primary and secondary legal content. It's just a matter of time before BLaw offers Solutions that are created in-house or licensed or both to compete in the market with WEXIS.
More about BLaw competing in the current WEXIS market for primary provider status in tomorrow's post. [JH]