Building a Network of Legal Knowledge

Ulrich Hermann
Written by Ulrich Hermann
on April 06, 2012

Since Wolters Kluwer was founded, serving customers has been central to our strategy. We provide information that professionals find of value. In the past, when access to information was the critical need for our customers, we required that they subscribe to or buy content from sources that we owned and controlled. It was crucial that our customers had the relevant information at hand in order to be able to make informed decisions, comply with regulations, or work on a timely legal problem to serve clients. We served that crucial need for 155 years in the form of ‘top down’ distribution, selling our expertise to customers in a one-way flow of information.

However, as access to information sources is now ubiquitous, and the distribution of content is no differentiator, the form our value creation takes has been shifting. It is no longer about pure information. In the last 20 years, the internet, software, and services have greatly increased our ability to maximize the value of our expertise for our customers. Our focus has shifted to the context in which the customers actually use or need relevant content. It is now crucial that we deliver information at the point-of-need and support customers with legal or regulatory content in the way they find most productive. We understand that customers don’t pay for such legal information per se, but they do pay for productivity increases in their research-based workflows and guidance on how to take the right quality decisions.

Jurion, the newly launched legal information platform in Germany, gives access to relevant legal content and at the same time it substantially improves the productivity of legal professionals. It does so in a number of ways. Firstly, Jurion provides integrated access to Wolters Kluwer owned content as well as sources from other publishers, government sources, and user-generated content. This eliminates the problem of different interfaces for different content. Secondly, the search function is triggered the moment the legal professional opens a document, in a manner that relates the content automatically to context relevant sources and ranked search results. Finally, Jurion is the first web 2.0 solution for the legal profession. It allows experts and authors to create and share content amongst each other directly. Jurion is a great example of how Wolters Kluwer has combined knowledge from our software business with our publishing expertise in the domains of legal and regulatory content.

Legal professionals now have the ability to improve specific workflows and access relevant content at the point-of-need. We support professionals’ ability to manage their own proprietary content and knowledge base using our platform. We are no longer the sole source of truth. We expect that over time, more and more customer-generated content will be hosted by our platform. This content will complement IP-protected content from our traditional publishers. In true web 2.0 fashion, the customer is now involved in creating content and has become an integral part of the value chain. Over time, our customers, together with our authors and domain experts will all contribute to a growing network of legal knowledge.

Involving customers is our key to further deepen our customer segment expertise, sustain and grow our business, and create exceptional value.

This post was also published in Wolters Kluwer’s 2011 Annual Report.

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