Epona to Offer ‘One-Stop’ Platform for Legal Professionals W/Office 365 Integration
Of the many currents driving the legal tech market, two are increasingly standing out: the demand for “one-stop-shop” integrated solutions, and the growing use of Microsoft Office 365 among legal professionals.
So it’s little surprise that document and workspace management provider Epona is looking to capitalize on both with the creation of its Epona Legal Matter Management platform. Here’s a look at the platform, and how Epona hopes to stand out from the competition:
What it is: Epona Legal Matter Management is an integration platform that provides a centralized location for users to access their Microsoft Office 365 data and applications, and connect other external third-party applications and data to Office 365 as well. The platform is currently in beta testing with selected law firms, and will be released publicly in January.
Keith Vallely, Vice-President at EponaUSA, said that within Epona Legal Matter Management, users can “access their contacts, emails, chats, documents, billing, accounting, time management and any notes associated with matters.”
Why Office 365? Vallely explained that Epona is focusing on Office 365 because many firms “are already using the document management system and the matter center in Office 365, and we wanted to extend out the Office 365 platform to allow them to take advantage of all the other functionality it offers in a single user interface.”
He added that by using Microsoft’s Teams application in Office 365, which is a Slack-like chat program and a web browser, users that don’t host all their data on Office 365 can access external applications through Epona Legal Matter Management. Using Teams, Epona brings in data from other web-based sources and platforms.
Third-Party Integration: When asked about the limits to such integrations, Vallely noted that “as far as we know, there is no application we can’t do integrations with.”
But he added that while it’s not just cloud-based applications that can be integrated with the platform, it may be more difficult to integrate some sources over others. “If your data set is locked down in a hard drive in your office, that’s a [bigger] can of worms than having a web integration with the platform.”
The Competition: Epona joins a number of legal tech companies in the integration space. Thomson Reuters’ Workspace and Elite 3E system, for example, looks to host all of a legal client’s data and necessary applications within a “one-stop-shop” platform. Likewise, knowledge management solution provider Onna aims to integrate all of a law firm’s data sources into a single centralized portal.
Other legal tech companies are also moving to better integrate their products and services with Microsoft Office 365, including managed services company FTI Consulting.
Epona, however, does not believe it competes with any of those companies directly, as it is just an integration platform mainly focused on Office 365. “Thomson Reuters and Onna are competing with Microsoft, not Epona,” Vallely said.
As Epona Legal Matter Management takes Office 365 and “turns it into a useful holistic interface where users only have to open one application,” it is more of an enhancement to Office 365 than a stand-alone solution. Learn more by visiting www.eponausa.com