Ignite Conference Reflections and O365 Impact on Legal

October 30, 2018 by Laurie Danford

At Microsoft Ignite 2018, 30,000 people gathered to “learn, connect and explore technology” in the magical land of Disney (Orlando Florida, September 22- 28) and I was among them.

The magic DOES happen – even when you miss half the sessions while trying to find them. (Ignite is a challenge to maneuver!) The conference feels very immense, yet very personal. You really do get to meet the rock stars of Microsoft and the MVP’s who are eager for your questions. I spent a lot of time with the Office team in the Expo hall and found many answers!

Future of Legal Software with Microsoft Office

As the Office 365 platform inevitably takes hold in legal, what is the future of “legal line of business” solutions for law firms, within the new modern apps interface? Here are some takeaways that are definite:  1) O365 has great value for legal workflows, providing a hub for practice groups to work on documents, dates, and projects collaboratively, and 2) Legal line of business add-ins are as important as they ever were. They will be needed to deliver ease of use, specific work process automation, security, and administrative control.

In the Office 365 landscape, there are several exciting integration points for BEC Legal Systems’ suite of legal applications.  Two of the biggest are Teams and Planner!

Microsoft Teams

In the Expo Hall, the Teams booth was a hive of activity, and no wonder! I am amazed at the possibilities to transform the way we work every day.  Teams is a hub where productivity and true efficiency can be realized, providing a single place for a group of people to share work product and gather meaningful information, with a “persistent chat” that can vastly reduce email.  BEC Legal will take advantage of the ability to provide web-based application views in Teams, to round out a case / matter management hub.  Secure access to MatterLink and Docket Enterprise data from within Teams – providing client/matter schedules, notes, contacts and other matter specific data – is a strategic goal for us.

Microsoft Planner

Planner is a “tease” – it makes task management so simple that it will draw all of us in, yet it will need extensibility for the legal industry’s matter-related critical date and task management. For BEC Legal’s clients, Docket Enterprise tasks will become a natural extension of Planner – and developing integration points for our clients will be important.

At Ignite, there was a great “user experience” demo delivered with enthusiasm from a member of the Planner team, Joanna Parkhurst. This session was titled “Get More done with Planner.” Watch it here.


For BEC Legal, our goal is to ease the transition to Office 365 by blending the familiar and necessary tools with this new generation of Office tools (no longer just Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint, but applications such as Planner, PowerApps, and Flow.)   The new apps represent new opportunities to take advantage of a practice management database like BEC’s CoreRelate…they bring new ways to harness the power!

The key is to streamline and simplify the user experience in Office. The exciting takeaway from Ignite 2018 is that using the Office 365 platform, BEC Legal will be able to provide new user interfaces and ways to access and customize data through O365 tools.

Ease of use and efficiency is so important! BEC’s approach will be to minimize the chaos of “too many options,” providing efficient and specific solutions for calendar management and document assembly and adding matter management to Office 365.

Ignite slogan sign

P.S. For Office 365 Enthusiasts!

If you want to learn more about Office 365, the powerful Graph and Unified Groups, and how to extend Office capabilities, I highly recommend the Office 365 Developer podcast. you can find it here.   Jeremy Thake, who figures prominently in the podcast, is on my list of people who really make a difference (not just at Ignite, but any time.)

At Ignite, it was great to attend Jeremy’s live session, with Yina Arenas, Microsoft Graph: The API for Microsoft 365

The Graph tracks all things related to people and groups in your organization – and for the Developer community, is the gateway to all things Office 365 and Azure.

Laurie DanfordLaurie Danford
Director of Software Development, BEC Legal Systems

Published: October 30, 2018