Seven high-level similarities between contract management and matter management systems

These two packages, frequently found in law departments, raise similar issues. In fact, all databases raise issues of this kind, including intellectual property databases, document management systems, and corporate entity repositories.

  1. Accountability for updates. Databases are a pain in the neck to keep current. Disputes arise over who should be responsible for their care and feeding and with what expectations of promptness.

  2. Parameters for inclusion. What is the definition of a contract, a matter, a record, or other item that should be captured in the database (See my post of March 26, 2008: definitions of matters for purposes of databases.)?

  3. Reporting. Everyone struggles with which reports are most effective, who can modify parameters of reports, and how to reconcile data across reports.

  4. Security. Among other issues, this involves who has access to the system, at what levels, and can they do more than only read information.

  5. Technical. Whether to license or build, whether to host the database on your own computers or with an ASP, support by IT, cost and ROI, and more (See my post of June 16, 2009: Information Technology support with 23 references and 1 metapost; and Feb. 25, 2009: Application Specific Programs with 6 references.).

  6. Training. Should you provide it in a block or as needed? What kind of help desk and user manual is appropriate?

  7. Vendor selection. This issue, common to all databases, goes beyond vendor selection. It includes when to update a system and when to replace one.

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