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LexisNexis Expands Enterprise Productivity Offerings
by
Posted On June 18, 2001
LexisNexis (http://www.lexisnexis.com) has created a new umbrella brand name for its family of "knowledge solutions" targeted at integrating LexisNexis content with the intranets, portals, extranets, and Web sites of enterprise clients. LexisNexis Customized eSolutions provide service-based consultation and customized content feeds that are integrated with personalized tools, training, and support. Target markets for the service are corporations, large institutions, and law firms. The goal is to supply useful LexisNexis content for desktop solutions to enterprisewide, departmental, and even individual information needs without requiring major changes in the customer's infrastructure. Partnerships with leading network support hardware and software vendors help smooth the path.

Bill Pardue, president and CEO of LexisNexis Corporate and Federal Markets, said: "A hallmark of LexisNexis Customized eSolutions is a consultative approach. We start with a needs assessment, then design and implement a solution, and support it all the way through end-user training and 24/7 customer support." Each desktop can be personalized with content from LexisNexis databases and coupled with a suite of tools to integrate this information, regardless of a user's job function or stature.

Lisa Mitnick, senior vice president of strategic marketing and business development for LexisNexis Corporate and Federal Markets, noted that the LexisNexis department focusing on these new enterprise productivity services includes hundreds of consultants and is getting larger. These include the following:

  • Information professional consultants, usually librarians working with outside information professionals in coaching, group training, and training-the-trainer projects

  • Corporate-counsel consultants with legal backgrounds in working with lawyers and law librarians

  • Risk-management experts on public records and other material used in fraud and due-diligence areas

  • Managers providing technical support in partnership with content specialists
According to Mitnick, LexisNexis' staff consultants work with customers at the enterprise or department level, as well as the individual job function level, to locate repetitive activity needing information content. Consultants then work with managers to decide on new terminology and create custom profiles. The key to the process and its success is focusing on customer activity cycles. Mitnick says the company follows a "have-it-your-way" strategy.

The suite of LexisNexis Customized eSolutions software tools taps into LexisNexis' new XML changes and builds on the former Smart Tools package of APIs. It currently includes the following:

  • LexisNexis Intranet Publisher provides editorial and administrative tools to integrate content available through the LexisNexis services onto the corporate desktop. According to Mitnick, it also allows technical personnel in the client enterprise to "search, develop topics, pick articles, rank, and retain them on the intranet or Web site." 

  • LexisNexis Web Publisher (formerly Veracity and, before that, Tell Me More)  feeds LexisNexis content to institutional Web sites or extranets. According to Mitnick, this option now covers some 2,000 sources as more publishers grant LexisNexis permission to supply content to the open Web. There are miles to go, however, since full Nexis carries over 26,000 sources.

  • LexisNexis Custom User Interface, in use for over 2 years, connects material from pre-targeted news and business information sources chosen by users for integration with a customer's enterprisewide application. 

  • LexisNexis Portal Integration supports technical control by enterprises through portals serving desktop computer networks.
Mitnick says that much of the customization work relies on "leveraging LexisNexis indexing" to create the slice-and-dice product work. Currently, this indexing covers some 45,000 company names with SIC codes applied, 20,000 personal names, 10,000 organizational names, 800 geographic identifiers, and over 1,500 topical issues. These days, coverage includes Web sources, mainly URLs derived from news articles that are then reviewed and maintained by LexisNexis staff. Currently, there are 204,239 URLs in LexisNexis' collection. Custom search products can build relevance-ranked access to collected Web sites into answer sets, said Mitnick, as well as integrate with customer in-house data.

In developing the package of solutions, LexisNexis has allied with leading portal providers, offering portal components for the Hummingbird EIP (Enterprise Information Portal), Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server, Plumtree Corporate Portal, and Verity PortalOne. Portal components for additional providers are being added.

Pricing for customized solutions would include a base price reflecting the level of customization and the number of information feeds needed. Extensive customization will add to the price as one might expect. However, Mitnick pointed out that basic service could be very reasonably priced for many organizations.

LexisNexis Group, a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier, combines searchable access to over 3 billion documents from tens of thousands of full-text sources online. LexisNexis Corporate and Federal Markets, the portion of the LexisNexis organization no longer referred to as Nexis—at least publicly—provides decision-support information and services to business, government, and academic markets.

The announcement of LexisNexis Customized eSolutions stated that the company had developed a LexisNexis Knowledge Profile for use in assessing the specific needs of organizations and end-users. "The LexisNexis Knowledge Profile will enable key decision makers to assess the effectiveness of their company intranets, extranets, and portals. LexisNexis consultants will use the information to help develop integrated knowledge solutions." However, when I looked at the Knowledge Profile (http://www.lexisnexis.com/profile), it seemed more a promotional tool than a diagnostic one, something like a survey from a vitamin manufacturer ("Could you benefit …?" "Are you frustrated …?"). No one likes to be hustled, but the promotional nature of this initial interface is probably a good sign. Experienced information professionals are always wary of substituting the filling out of forms for extensive, in-depth, up-close-and-personal reference interviews. The real assessments must come after the client signs up.

The announcement had another interesting sidelight. For the first time in my memory, a LexisNexis product press release carried "cast credits." The names and titles of all the team leaders involved in developing LexisNexis Customized eSolutions were listed by category—electronic product development, strategic marketing, sales, marketing services, and executive leadership—with executive leadership demurely listed last. The motivation for such a listing still puzzles me, but pride in one's work, esprit de corps, and accountability come to mind. Another good sign?


Barbara Quint is senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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