Author: David Curle, Lead Analyst - Outsell
Guided Workflow for "A Different Kind of User"
Innography, a provider of intellectual property management solutions, has launched a set of workflow tools called Innography Playbooks. The playbooks allow users to quickly assemble reports that address some of the most frequently repeated questions about a company’s IP. They are designed to get the most out of the Innography platform for those users who are not power users of the system. It’s particularly useful for creating a quick answer and passing it “upward” to executives or in-house counsel, or for simply providing fast answers to frequent questions.
There are three main playbooks, each of which is made up of a number of modular component “plays” that can be quickly executed:
- Licensing Playbook: This playbook helps a company identify valuable components in an IP portfolio, generate leads for marketing its own IP, and identify candidates for purchasing or licensing patents.
- Litigation Playbook: Answers the often-urgent questions about IP litigation: How should I respond to this infringement letter? Can I invalidate the challenging company’s patent? Can I identify potential areas where another company is infringing our patents?
- M&A Playbook: Provides thorough analysis of patent portfolios to support M&A activities. Speeds up the process of looking for portfolio strengths and weaknesses in a target company.
As an example of how this works, the litigation playbook contains a number of “plays” that help provide a quick answer to the question, “How should we respond to this infringement letter from Company X?” The possible plays include a “Litigation Track Record” view of Company X, which will include graphical and tabular data on litigation the company has been involved in, including statistics on win/loss rates, etc. A “Kill-A-Patent” report helps identify prior art that could potentially invalidate Company X’s patent. Outputs come in the form of simple reports that can be passed on as-is or manipulated further as needed.
The innovation here is around how the reports are put together. Users are guided through a step-by-step interface to identify the parameters of the play - the interviews built into a tax preparation program such as TurboTax come to mind. Data for all the plays is drawn from various sources within the Innography platform, including standard patent databases, US federal dockets information from PACER, financial data from D&B, etc.
Playbooks are offered as an add-on for existing Innography customers, but will also be offered as a standalone option.
Research platforms that draw on multiple sources and have robust functionality allow a great deal of flexibility and power as research platforms - but often their most powerful features are accessible only to power users. This approach - focusing on common, repeatable tasks and application for the data - is gradually taking root in many fields as a practical form of workflow automation. It zeroes in not just on the end-user, but also on specific tasks that a user faces on a regular basis. In the process it turns a complex data source into a quick, practical answer-box.
Similar things are happening in the Legal, Tax & Regulatory space generally. Practical Law Company (PLC) has built a business around the simple idea of structuring a workflow tool around the most common tasks and questions that lawyers need to solve on a daily basis. LexisNexis‘ Lexis Practice Advisor is cut from the same cloth.
Our report from 20 January 2011, Trends in Industrial Information Use - Opportunities for STM Publishers and Information Providers, uses Innography as an example of a company with a highly integrative view of technical information. One of the report’s conclusions is that “No Content is an Island” - in other words, decision making often depends on understanding flows of different, somewhat unrelated types of information. The innovation of Innography’s Playbooks and the PLC and LexisNexis legal know-how offerings is that they anticipate how those disparate sources need to be linked together for specific workflow applications. The value add here is not just in adding metadata and making content easier to find, but in actually pulling all that data around a concrete task with familiar and useful outputs rather than simply a collection of relevant documents. It is one of the natural evolutions of search in a professional workflow environment.
As Innography has noted, adding this form of practical workflow tool wins new users in two ways. First, it broadens the user base where the full offering is already in place but only used by a core of power users. Second, it offers an entry-level platform for potential customers whose uses for the full offering may be limited.
Expect to see more and more professional services distilling their enormous databases into more task-oriented interfaces like this. For information providers, this kind of development requires an even more intimate insight into their users’ workdays and common tasks.
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