Friday, January 17, 2014

Bloomberg BNA to Deliver Big Data Solutions: Bloomberg Law Executives and Staff Relocate to the BNA HQ

On January 1st the Bloomberg Law’s executives and sales team relocated from the Bloomberg Headquarters on Lexington Avenue in NYC to the BNA Headquarters in Arlington Virginia.. Does  it signify a shift in power, a shift in strategy, a shift in culture or all three? I met with BloombergBNA CEO Greg McCaffery to discuss the implications of the relocation and BloombergBNA's plans for the future.

Bloomberg and BNA are a fascinating “odd couple” in the legal publishing world.  Bloomberg Law is brash, edgy and data driven. BNA is  bow ties and bifocals with a long history of legal and regulatory reporting and analysis.  No doubt facets of each culture are co mingling to create a new organization. Elements of  Bloomberg ambiance have been introduced at the BNA offices. Like the Bloomberg Mothership in NY they have  an  all day  "pantry" with coffee, snacks, fruit, yogurt. They have begun renovating the office space and building glass walled conference rooms to be more open like the New York office. 

Greg McCaffery became the CEO of Bloomberg BNA in September 2012. After 16 months at Bloomberg headquarters in New York, he’s proud to be bringing BLAW back to the BNA headquarters. McCaffery joined BNA in 1986 as a reporter on the staff of BNA’s Chemical Regulation Reporter He covered polymer regulation at the EPA and then moved over to the labor and employment side of BNA. He later became editor and manager on Daily Labor Report, before moving into product development, and finally to the business side or the organization. Greg brings a unique understanding of both Bloomberg and BNA to the role – with a career at BNA of more than 26 years.

Is this change a reorganization or a relocation?

McCaffrey: It’s a relocation. It made strong sense to concentrate the organization around its center in the DC area, and also to move our sales and client engagement staff into the communities they serve all around the country. The creative synergies being realized from having our BLAW staff physically sitting with BBNA’s content experts are massive. 

Why are these changes happening now?

McCafferry:  Bloomberg took its time to  learn BNA. There is a lot of respect of the BNA culture  and the integration went smoothly. The joining of Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg BNA into a single subsidiary, announced in July, is now complete. This complex transition has been seamless for clients. Access to Blaw and BBNA products have not changed. Bloomberg Law is the "flagship" product. You can continue to subscribe directly to BNA products, but a single Bloomberg Law subscription includes access to all BNA content

How will these changes impact Bloomberg Law and BNA customers?

      McCaffery: We expect Customer Service to be even better. We are following the BNA model – sales account executives are regionally based to provide even more specialized customer service. Account executives have been fully trained and can help clients with all products– BLAW and BBNA.

       Some specific benefits will be:

  • ·    All invoices for Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg BNA will now come from BBNA – and clients can have their invoices consolidated if they choose. 
  •      The Bloomberg Law Helpdesk will remain staffed 24/7 with knowledgeable and experienced legal professionals – including attorneys and law librarians. 
  • ·     Whether you call the Bloomberg Law Help Desk or Bloomberg BNA Customer Service – the experienced staff will put you directly in touch with the appropriate representative.

How will the integration of the two cultures drive Innovation and product improvement?

McCaffery: ·BNA had this incredible depth of expertise and Bloomberg has the technology, data and analytics that few if any companies can rival.·The combination makes BBNA an incredibly powerful market force – not just more efficient, but more insightful. BBNA will be better positioned in both the vertical/niche information markets where it has excelled for decades, as well as the legal research and business intelligence space, which Bloomberg Law has helped to reinvent. We are bringing the Bloomberg strengths in data and R&D into BBNA, where, when meshed with editorial skill and knowledge, true innovation is possible.· We are introducing advanced and search tools that allow practitioners to do more than pull up a verdict or settlement but to easily see related news and cases or apply sophisticated filters.

··Powerful new Resource Centers with integrated analytics on top of deep knowledge

Bloomberg’s data enhancements to BNA resources can be seen in the BBNA Resource Centers. The  Labor and Employment Law Resource Center  now has an Arbitration Award Navigator ·The Navigator allows practitioners to conduct complex filtered searches on  a  repository  of arbitration data extracted from 20,000 arbitration awards.  Lawyers can  assess trends, evaluate arbitrators, and view fact patterns in awards to develop an optimal strategy for an upcoming arbitration. ·12 different variables including case name, arbitrator, topic, union, employer, industry, classification outline number, and more, to allow users to filter and sort an expansive and growing collection of more than 20,000 arbitration awards

McCaffery described a new focus on customizable, real time information that allows a practitioner to be “the first to know.”  This is  real time awareness is combined with advanced analytical tools. that will help a lawyer spot emerging trends which will impact clients and potential clients. In the coming months BBNA will be introducing "big data" solutions integrating analytics on top of a deep well of legazationl analysis and business data. The ultimate goal will be to provide trending and predictive analysis. 
As I have been saying for years,  since everyone now knows "what just happened", the next competitive edge will come from knowing "what is about to happen." I predict that Bloomberg BNA will not be alone in pursuit of the ultimate predictive product for the law firm market.
Although Bloomberg Law offers some very innovative features which weave legal and business information together, lawyers and librarians have been slow to embrace the product. The realignment of the organization in the BNA editorial headquarters may lend some "gravitas" and legal street cred to the Bloomlberg Law brand.

Related: Bloomberg Law Gets BNA's Intellectual Capital in the Capitol.
Bloomberg Law Rebrands: BBNA Let the Mashups Begin
Greg McCaffrey Named Bloomberg Law CEO: Headed Toward the Business of Law

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