The October issue of the American Legal Technology Insider newsletter is out now. Top stories include a report on Richard Susskind's speech in New York last week + new 'platform' product launches for the corporate counsel market from Datacert (Passport) + Mitratech. As there is some confusion over between these two products, we've asked for a positioning statement from both companies. Mitratech declined to comment – the Datacert Passport statement appears below the Flash link.

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Datacert Statement: Passport is the only true “platform” in the Enterprise Legal Management industry. At the highest level, there are three primary things that make Passport a true technology platform, none of which any direct competitors can claim. You will find these points outlined below, but it’s important to note that Passport was built from the ground up specifically to be a technology platform for the legal industry. (Meaning it isn’t multiple applications strung together – some of our competitors that claim to have a platform don’t even build all their own applications on that “platform”.) Therefore, every decision that was made in its design and development was focused on providing a solid foundation for consolidating, managing, configuring, and even building new legal applications. That approach alone is unique, but the following points highlight specific aspects of Passport and provide additional context for this claim.
1.      Passport has a comprehensive set of core components (eg business intelligence, security, database, etc) that provide approximately 80 percent of the functionality/infrastructure needed by any application. That in itself is a significant differentiator for Passport, but the fact that these components extend across all applications built on Passport is where the true value of Passport comes out. This means all applications built on Passport work together and share data seamlessly, providing visibility across all systems. It also streamlines system administration and support and provides a much better user experience since users have a single workspace to access all the information they need.
2.      One of the primary objectives of Passport is to enable clients to “self-serve.” To provide this, Passport offers a complete set of user-friendly, visual toolkits that enable clients to configure the system themselves and even extend the functionality of the platform with new applications, all without coming back to Datacert or hiring consultants. While these tools can also be used by consultants or ISVs, they don’t require advanced programming skills, such as Java, to use them.  This last point is absolutely key. These tools can be used by just about anyone, with little or no training. In contrast, other vendors provide clients with very limited capabilities when it comes to updating their systems themselves and typically require very advanced programming skills to do any configuration or application development, increasing their clients’ total cost of ownership and making their applications less extensible.
3.      Passport includes a “legal framework” layer. What this means is that the platform core components that I mentioned in #1 (eg database model, security, matter types, etc) come pre-configured according to legal industry best practices. Clients don’t just get a “black box” that they then have to pay the vendor or consultants a bunch of money to configure. In addition, this framework enables the rapid development of new legal applications by anyone wishing to build on the platform.
Even without any of Datacert’s legal applications included, Passport can stand on its own and provide clients, consultants, and ISVs a great deal of robust capability and value, which demonstrates how unique our true platform is in the marketplace. In fact, we have one client looking to use Passport solely as a platform to consolidate business intelligence across their existing systems.