“I’m convinced that we have to look for what comes after email” – DLA Piper rolls out internal ‘Twitter for enterprise’

In an idea that has yet to be fully embraced by its staff, DLA Piper has introduced its own internal Twitter for enterprise called Grapevine.

Using Greets instead of Tweets, Grapevine is an open security model which is being used to send messages; spread news, information and know-how across the firm; and send automated messages to update fee-earners on areas such as matter status and bill payments.

It is envisaged that Grapevine, which is the brainchild of chief information officer Daniel Pollick and his team, will become a replacement for the ‘no action required by you’ element of email, allowing staff to consume news when they choose.

Pollick said: “I’m convinced that the newsfeed model is partly the successor to email; a lot should happen in the Twitter way where you are consuming optional news and can go on when you feel like it.”

Take up so far has been reasonably slow and Pollick said: “Either it will fade and die and we’ll have to give up and try something else, or it will be a success, but I’m convinced that we have to look for what comes after email.

“The problem with email today is that it is a horrible mashup of stuff I don’t need to see, stuff I need to see but which requires no action by me, and stuff that I need to act on, with no way of distinguishing between these elements without reading each one. No wonder people hate it!”

DLA is no stranger to slow burn innovation, with other examples including the roll out of Microsoft Lync as a form of Skype for enterprise, which now means that hundreds of lawyers no longer have a phone at their desk, instead using their PCs to receive and make calls.

Pollick worked with DLA’s senior leadership team to help drive the change. He said: “I thought the only way to get people to start using Lync would be if they get calls from senior people so I corralled people to start calling.”

The effort was helped when chief operating officer Andrew Darwin moved to Australia in 2013 and used Lync constantly. Notably much of the private one-to-one messaging that used to be done over email is now being done over Lync.

“It’s about harnessing leadership to drive change,” Pollick observed, adding: “but you’ve got to prepared for the occasional failure.”