It is a little over a year since iManage went independent through a management buyout from HP.
With its freedom, the company shed a host of names it gained through years of mergers and acquisitions: beginning with its merger with Interwoven in 2003, followed by Autonomy's acquisition of Interwoven in 2009, until it fell under the HP umbrella in 2011 following HP's Autonomy buy.
Whatever your opinion of the old HP, the new independence for iManage and its Work Product Management software was almost universally well received. Many of the original founders and employees of iManage rejoined the company, and the industry as a whole were keen to see where iManage could go with its own vision for the future.
So roughly one year on from gaining its independence, how is the Chicago-based company doing?
In my opinion, very well.
A confession: I have a personal interest in the company's future direction. As business owner of my division's instance of iManage Work, I work daily with the platform to support the lawyers, compliance officers and security investigators in my firm. Its document and email management play a key role in our knowledge management strategy.
Don't Call it Content Management
iManage describes its software as “work product management”: not content management or document management, but software to help you manage the products you create.
iManage Work Product Management offerings
Since its independence, the company launched iManage Work 9.3, which among other features offered a new architecture for the email management functionality.
The new server architecture keeps individual user's Outlook client out of the loop, allowing bulk email filing without making Outlook unusable for anything else (which is, I assure you, a really big deal for lawyers). For many companies, including mine, the primary interface for Work is the integration with Microsoft's Outlook, because lawyers still largely live in email. More on that shortly.
iManage 9.3 client integration with Microsoft Outlook
Growth, Progress and Upgrades
While the 9.3 enhancements could have been in the works before the separation from HP, iManage has moved forward on multiple fronts.
It released version 9.4 in August, which it described as "a complete rethinking of our product." The release brings a raft of new features and functionality, but the most important update is the introduction of a new HTML5-based, fully responsive web interface which will work on mobile devices as well as desktops.
Version 9.5, due in the next few months, will introduce a new Control Center, providing much needed enhancements for admins. And Version 10 is scheduled for release in December. The company reports it will bring next generation Microsoft Office integration, including leveraging Office for simultaneous co-authoring.
In the last year, iManage added 170 new customers and 100 new employees.
It also successfully separated its cloud offerings from HP’s data center infrastructure and released iManage Share, an enterprise file and sync (EFSS) offering.
I recently had the opportunity to test Share out. It has a clean web interface, and is intuitive and as easy to use as other products such as OneDrive for Business.
Hopefully soon, my office can take advantage of the cloud EFFS offering’s integration with the on premises Work installation. Lawyers could right click in Outlook and set up a folder to share documents with external counsel, or even with employees in other parts of our organization that do not have access to our Work instance.
iManage Share web interface
IManage also updated its Work Mobility iOS App, which allows documents to be opened from and saved directly to users on premises infrastructure.
The final element of the first year story is partnerships. One that in particular pertains to the knowledge management realm is the announcement earlier this month at ILTACON of a formal partnership with ThreadKM. The integration takes the legal discussions and matter management out of endless emails and places them into threaded conversations in workspaces, that link to and can be archived in iManage workspaces. It includes Kanban board task management.
A Bright Future
This is only a brief summary filtered through my viewpoint as a customer who does not use the full breadth of the iManage product set.
Having said that, from my vantage point iManage is off to a great start as a once again independent company. The company has spent the last year speaking with customers, developing its vision and building a clear roadmap for its products.
This clearly isn't your older brother's iManage. With a secure cloud hosted environment, a fully integrated EFSS function, a modern web interface thats fully functional on mobile and a deep integration with a social collaboration tool as a start, we've got some interesting days ahead with iManage.
Title image Samuel Zeller