Law practices, like most organizations, are constantly looking for more and better ways to be productive. Technology is usually helpful in this endeavor, and the right technology can be even more helpful. That is where Microsoft’s Matter Center for Office 365 (Matter Center) comes in. Matter Center can greatly enhance a law practice’s Document Management processes and procedures, thereby increasing overall productivity and value. Matter Center can help you spend less time on documents and matter management and more time working with clients and on cases. It also improves communication and collaboration amongst internal and external teams, committees, and groups.

And since Matter Center is a free add-on to your existing Office 365 (Office 365 Enterprise E3 and higher) and Azure subscriptions, the costs of making Matter Center your document management solution are minimal.

Microsoft’s Matter Center is a good fit for many legal offices, including corporate, government, and educational legal offices.

What Microsoft’s Matter Center for Office 365 is (and what it is not)

Matter Center was developed internally by Microsoft to support their own ‘Microsoft Corporate, External, & Legal Affairs’ office. It works so well for Microsoft that they decided to make it available to all their clients who have Office 365 and Azure licenses. Matter Center is a SharePoint-based document management and collaboration solution that integrates seamlessly with Outlook, Word, and other applications in the Office 365 suite.

Matter Center is a Document Management solution, providing the following benefits:

  • A structure to organize documents, such as projects or matters
  • Indexing and search
  • Version management
  • Document check-out/in
  • Tags/Metadata: Tag or code documents as different types (such as contract, or motion) and provide relevant data about the documents to make them easier to find (fiscal year, client, etc.)
  • Email management
  • Change alerts: Notification when a document is changed

Matter Center is NOT a Practice Management solution, so it is not an ideal solution for any of the following activities:

  • Maintaining a customer database
  • Time tracking and billing
  • Accounting
  • Management of the case itself
  • Form assembly / creation

So, if the need for a document management solution is there, read on the find out why Matter center might be right for you

Why Matter Center might be right for you

Here are some reasons Matter Center might be right for you:

(1) Matter Center Works where You Work

Do you spend a lot of time in Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word? So does Matter Center. Matter Center has “add-ins” for Outlook and Word. That means that a lot of the functionality that you get from Matter Center is integrated right into these Microsoft products. Matter Center is also built on top of SharePoint Online, which provides deep enterprise content management features. It is also a rich platform for collaboration, both internally amongst employees, and externally with clients and partners.

In Microsoft Outlook, you have direct access to the Matter Center right from your Outlook client. In Outlook, you can drag and drop emails and attachments directly to the Matter Center. You can also search the Matter Center for matters and/or documents; check-out/in; pin and favorite matters, documents, and clients; and share with others without leaving Outlook.

The experience in Microsoft Word is similar. In Word you can connect directly to the Matter Center, edit and create matters and documents, search, pin, etc.

SharePoint Online is the engine upon which Matter Center runs. The interface is clean, and will be very familiar to your SharePoint users. All of the rich features that you find in SharePoint, like check-out/in, version history, indexing and searching, tagging with metadata, and many more, are available in your Matter Center. In SharePoint you have the ‘Matter Detail Page’, which provides all relevant information about the matter in a single ‘page’ (i.e. ‘Matter Profile’, ‘Matter Description, and much more).

(2) Matter Center Goes where You Go

Your Matter Center can be accessed from any device, from anywhere, and at any time. It is fully integrated with the client applications on your laptop, but is also flexible enough to be accessed from your home computer, your tablet or phone, or even an airport kiosk (if anyone really uses those things anymore). If you have an Internet connection, you have access to your Matter Center.

And since Matter Center is built on top of Office 365 and Azure, you have all of the hardened security that comes with that infrastructure keeping your content safe.

(3) Matter Center is a free add-on to your Office 365 Subscription

Microsoft has released Matter Center as a solution “add on” for O365, not a product. For that reason, there is no extra cost to use Matter Center above-and-beyond the cost of your O365 and Azure subscriptions.

Final thoughts

‘Matter Center for Office 365’ is not the easiest solution to install and configure. Microsoft has provided it more as a ‘solution’ than a ‘product’, so installation of the solution can be a bit complex. You should find a trusted partner to help you deliver ‘Matter Center for Office 365’ as either a ‘Proof of Concept’ to evaluate for your practice’s needs, or as a full-blown production implementation. Optimally, you want a partner with experience and the knowledge needed to deliver the solution successfully. Fortunately, FlexManage is here to help, with the experience and knowledge needed. Give us a call today for more information on how your practice can take advantage of the Microsoft ‘Matter Center for Office 365’ offering.

Watch our ‘Matter Center for Office 365’ video on YouTube: