Microsoft has just announced at the Web 2.0 Summit which can be accessed by clicking on the title link, that it is working with Atlassian on its enterprise wiki product Confluence and Newsgator on its newly released Newsgator Social sites, which is “a collection of site templates, profiles, Web parts and middleware”.
Both products I understand will be part of Sharepoint 2007. I understand that wikis and blogs were going to be a part of this - but in my reading, I have noticed that Atlassian has been the subject of positive review by end users and maybe the use of wikis in S 2007 was a bit primitive.
This shows to me that Microsoft has recognised that S 2007 needed some improving as the version that I'd seen was basically just a doc management and collaboration offering and that the wikis and blogs were a bolt on extra so some further IT work was required especially RSS. However like it or not as it was a Microsoft offering then IT administrators I imagine felt that there would be a comfortable fit with the other services such as the ubiquitous MS Office.
As I've pointed out in a few previous blogs - tacking on Web 2.0 is I think going to be a commercial imperative - in not only retaining and attracting clients but also attracting your next generation of employees. Imagine a few years ago trying to tell a new junior solicitor/trainee, that you didn't have access to the Internet.... In a few years time, they will expect wikis blogs and video sharing as a part of the organisations internal plumbing. Although of course my view is that these are important for knowledge sharing - my view has been for over the last two years was that they could be utilised as part of project management and better internal communication.
It is important as we face the search for talent, that your firm is seen as dynamic and innovative and that strategically you have a handle on these issues and that you are open to new ideas. It may not be the clincher but it might be a negative if you aren't perceived to be offering these facilities.
Lawyers especially those in the provinces in the UK (with a few honourable exceptions such as Duncan Ogilvy at Mills and Reeve, Chris Bull at Osborne Clarke, Mark Gould at Addleshaw Gould and David Smith at Hill Dickinson have been over conservative towards knowledge management and tend to concentrate on the technology side which is a helpful step forward but will never fully deliver until they recognise the people aspects and start to adjust the direction of their PSL's towards a more commercial and market facing approach.