Allen and Overy:

Designing a Platform for Internal Collaboration

Groundbreaking use of social tools inside a global firm


‘Magic Circle’ law firm Allen & Overy were already thinking about how to improve their knowledge sharing systems when, in 2005, we suggested that they try out social tools such as blogs, wikis and RSS newsfeeds to improve the way that KM use cases were handled within the firm.

The firm needed a means to reduce information overload and help people share the highest value and most relevant information, knowledge and expertise quickly, simply, and within a relevant context – without introducing extra effort and cost into people’s busy working day.





Through a series of workshops and a period of close observation and collaboration with key stakeholder groups, our team developed a picture of Allen & Overy’s organisational culture, workflows and professional interactions. This work led to the documentation of user requirements, and initial recommendations for the design, development and implementation of a new internal communication platform.

The pilot platform we put together, using Movable Type blogs, Confluence wikis and newsfeeds, integrated with internal document systems, was one of the earliest and best-used enterprise social technology projects of its time. It was still in use many years later and influenced the wider legal sector’s adoption of social technologies for knowledge sharing.




The lasting benefits of this pioneering knowledge and expertise sharing platform included more efficient work practices and better business intelligence derived from:

  • increasing self-service and greater awareness of available information and expertise;
  • timely delivery of relevant information;
  • improved “findability” of information;
  • making content more dynamic and easier to update;
  • increased contextual information exchange and easier identification of expertise; and,
  • capture of conversational knowledge in blogs and wikis, helping to make tacit knowledge explicit.




A step change in social collaboration


First mover advantage

Our project was the first of its kind inside a major UK law firm, creating a new enterprise social technology standard in the process.

Managing complexity

We focussed on business objectives and user needs, negotiating the complexity of the internal IT landscape to quickly deliver results.

To the brave, the spoils

Our client was brave enough to break new ground with this project, receiving industry-wide acclaim in the process.

allen and overy

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