The Cloud Gains Traction in IPM

The tension between keeping data secure “behind the firewall” and the siren calls for scalability, flexibility and effective collaboration is particularly acute for managers of “innovation assets.”  The resistance by legal organizations to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Cloud deployments is indeed slowly dissipating industry-wide. The rising popularity of cloud-based software models makes logical sense. Cloud represents the modern-day manifestation of corporate WAN infrastructures, though predicated on the leverage of the Internet and third-party infrastructures built for global scale.  Proprietary enterprises could never approximate such horsepower.   
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Transforming IP Services for Value and Innovation

The decision to outsource, or to perhaps insource, discrete parts to the IPM lifecycle is one of reassessing the balance of resources within an IP organization, which is a core IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) challenge. In particular, decisions on the use of IP services regard a company’s human-capital supply chain. This is not so much about reducing head count as it is about making better and more thoughtful use of available resources. The use of third-party IP services, whether via an LPO model or through more traditional fee-for-service models, is historically most closely associated with annuity payment services. For years now, annuity services have been critical mainstays of IP Management, as the volume of payments can be both onerous and overwhelming.  Annuities are the oldest solution category in IP, and were the catalyst for IP software in the first place.  Much of the development of the market for IPM software arose from the need to track annuity payments—and the vendor’s unique position to provide docketing and portfolio management software as both an automation tool in support of their services as well as a value-add to bolster customer “stickiness.”
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Demonstrating ROI in IPM

The legal business landscape has shifted significantly over the past decade. Since the financial crash of 2008, corporate law and IP departments and law firms were forced to do more with less, making the allocation of resources more critical than ever. As the bottom line continues to recover in the years since, the crux of IP Management has evolved from an emphasis on legal matters to one of spend management visibility and the revenue-generating potential of individual assets. This has, in effect, formed a well-defined focus to align the management of intellectual property assets and the achievement of overall business objectives—and ultimately, to demonstrate real return on investment. At present, the class of leading intellectual property practices has reached a standard that transcends docketing, data entry and paper-based management methods. “IP Management” (“IPM”) as a discipline and technology model has been widely adopted and embraced by corporate IP practices and law firms alike; as a technological generation, it is arguably nearly a dozen years old.  Ever more progressive in its reach and intensifying in demand, IPM has expanded significantly in recent years to include a growing, sophisticated number of processes, modules, functions, and innovation-oriented competencies.
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Analytics and KPIs: You Can’t Master What You Don’t Measure

 Legal practices have matured tremendously over the last few years in their understanding, approach and use of analytics, and the hunger for more metrics, better metrics, compelling metrics and actionable metrics drives the preponderance of legal operations leading practices today. Performance analysis, insight, stakeholder visibility and operational efficiency are the fundamental components that drive IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) excellence. Performance management analytics comprise the tools, capture methods, data models and visualization technologies that help legal and IP organizations focus on the operational performance metrics they need, to help them understand both the business effect of their activities – causality, impacting processes and behavior – and the corrective steps, nee actionable intelligence, they need to optimize performance and outcomes.
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The Engine That Could: Workflow and Process Automation in IP

As part of achieving the harmonizing effect sought within an IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) framework, we’ve observed the market express a strong desire to move beyond mere data entry into something much more dynamic. In fact, there are few trends more deliberate, focused and clearly defined than pursuit of shedding the cumbersome business of data entry toward better leverage of the electronic data and metadata that swirl about the average business day-to-day.  Paperless processing is a crucial goal of IPBM, and IP Management in general has long many of other legal disciplines in the maturity of processes from manual, data entry to automated process and workflow management.  Workflow, or in a larger sense Business Process Management (“BPM”) is the core enterprise discipline that serves as the crucial bridge between outdated ways of working and progressive business management.
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The Innovation Community:  Capture, Nurture, Manage

One key driver in the shift toward IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) involves addressing the challenge of failing to protect the valuable ideas borne from the work of innovation. The management of innovation, and nurturing the participation of inventors and IP asset developers, is paramount in this movement. Increasingly, the leading IPM vendors have sought to harness this nexus and develop new tools to better engage and empower all stakeholders in the innovation lifecycle. Our comprehensive market survey found that many advanced solution vendors are either introducing new tools to drive invention disclosure, IDS and prior-art searching processes, or have significantly improved upon and matured existing capabilities. This is in part a result of an evolving understanding of user personas. In the IPBM model, attorneys, inventors and the business play important roles in the innovation lifecycle. Despite a historical focus on docketers and paralegals – the “data entry” stakeholders – vendors are beginning to understand and capitalize on the needs of the lifecycle’s upstream and downstream stakeholders in a deliberate, considered and strategic approach to integrate every phase of the asset development and management process with the business, technical, and risk management objectives of the organization.  IPBM is about “innovation in context” and the tools designed to embrace it invite users into a harmonized information management process for better outcomes and business-aligned realization.
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Accidental IPBM: The IP Applications Landscape

Today, we find the IPM market in the midst of a fundamental paradigm shift, one in which the focus of intellectual property management as an operational discipline matures from its long-understood structural grounding in prosecution towards a more holistic approach to information management that is tightly integrated with the underlying business lifecycle. As companies begin to mature their operational capabilities with the integration of business stakeholders and drivers into their performance models, there is demand for sophisticated technologies that understand and drive the IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) model, and provide both depth and breadth of features and capabilities. 
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Intellectual Property Business Management: A New Paradigm

The evolution of IPM has materialized like building layers: every ascending floor is built upon the foundation of lower floors. In its initial iteration, the use of IPM systems and technologies centralized on the entry of data, most of which was docketing information and information regarding the prosecution and enforcement of specific intellectual assets—most especially patents. After widespread adoption, a new phase emerged in which we sought to expose the information to and involve a wider and more diverse audience. The hallmark of this phase was the increased use of reporting and business intelligence, which gave supervisors, legal management, business leaders and other key stakeholders access to important – and timely – data on the status of assets and the performance of the portfolio. This phase of IPM’s growth also emphasized tools for collaboration among corporate teams, law firms, and other parties involved in the IPM lifecycle, for automating routine processes (a measure of both the drive to efficiency and increasing legal cost and rate pressures), and for the capture and management of innovation and assets. To illustrate this new maturity plane in IP Management, we introduce a new term of art to capture this paradigm shift: Intellectual Property Business Management (IPBM). It is no longer sufficient to manage – nee understand – IP from a purely legal perspective, or on an asset-to-asset basis. Organizations today are now keenly interested in the impact of their IP portfolio have on their business, and vice versa. Notably, IPBM is characterized by an increased demand for greater bottom-line visibility, for insight into operations and performance, and for demonstrable improvements in practice management. In essence, the broadening scope of integrated stakeholders and alignment of interdepartmental interests demonstrates a shift in IPM from a prosecution-based lifecycle to a business-integrated lifecycle. Through the lens of IPBM, the role and effect of people, process, organization and technology within the IP operation are all essential, and data entry and access are frequently commoditized.  The overarching driver and objective of IPBM is the support of core business operations, revenue generation and corporate value with a robust data-driven decision-making program.
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Successful Automation – Sometimes It’s Best to Start Simple

Embarking on a process automation initiative, whether a first foray, retiring an older technology or upgrading existing workflow capabilities, can sometimes be overwhelming for the sheer flexibility and power presented by today’s Business Process Management suites.   These suites are specifically built to manage all manner of process flows from the very simple to the very complex, including data transformations and user interactions that can wholly change the way a firm operates.
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Challenges in Developing a BPM Solution Approach

Business process management, or BPM, is a well-established practice and solution category in the general enterprise technology market.  The human-centric capabilities of BPM—as opposed to back-end, technical process and integration automation—are of particular interest to law firms as they seek ways to improve their work efficiency, resource utilization and client satisfaction.   The emergence and maturity of matter management-oriented solutions in the BPM market has brought a wealth of options to law firms.
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