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Chronicle 2.0 Product Manager's Debrief: Name Normalization

Chronicle 2.0 introduces one of the most requested features since Blackout added support for native Excel - Name Normalization!

We are thrilled to announce the release of Chronicle 2.0 this week, now with Name Normalization!

Discover how adding this advanced capability allows users to push the tool to new, helpful, time-saving heights. Below, Chronicle Product Manager Jed Cassinelli and Milyli's Director of Product Management, Tim Randall, highlight the most important things about this monumental release.

TIM: What are you most excited about delivering with this release?

JED: Being one of the most requested features ever here at Milyli, Name Normalization (NN) serves as the centerpiece of this release. After extensive conversations internally and with our customers, we set out to deliver a solution that users could take advantage of from day one.

With help from our customers, we learned that the NN processes teams are using come in various flavors. For some, it's pulling data into Excel and manually updating it before sending it off. For others, it goes much further and incorporates technology-assisted suggestion and normalization (sometimes with AI, sometimes with "AI").

We've also found that the terms used for each customer process vary! "Name normalization" was by far the most common. However, others described the process more as "sanitization" or "clean up."


Whether our customers were using Relativity's name normalization functionality, something home-brewed, or another 3rd party solution, everyone made it clear it was a problem for their team. This energized us to try to find a way to make our customers' lives easier and is part of what I'm so excited about making privilege logs even easier to create with Chronicle!'

We've built an approach allowing users to get real productivity from the jump. We've also laid the foundation for further automation in future releases. For those just using Excel, for example, this new release will cover the vast majority of the work being done manually today!

TIM: Any highlights from the conversations that you can share?

JED: Oh yeah! Early on, one of the most eye-opening moments in our conversations came when we heard stories about how cleaning up the data before producing the privilege logs requires an entire week's worth of work by several senior attorneys. That was a critical insight, and it drove our design process through several iterations as we built towards a solution that would not just support these users but also allow for greater inclusion of those who could take on these responsibilities.

As we approached the later states of development and started showing alpha builds to our customers, one comment that stuck out and made me proud of the teams work was in regards to how the tool could be used for more than just normalizing names:

"It's great that your tools are complex enough to do the things we need to do but simple and powerful enough to use to do other things that we have to do [that they weren't originally designed for]."

From the beginning, Chronicle has been focused on privilege logs; however, at the end of the day, our savviest customers have been able to use it as a customizable report builder, and hearing that the new capabilities lived up to the high bar of flexibility that came before was great!

TIM: What are the most significant problems this solves for users?

JED: There are quite a few areas where the new release can help! We've focused on identifying ways to significantly reduce the time and effort spent on everyday tasks that comprise normalizing names.

With the initial focus of helping those pulling data out of Relativity and then (sometimes!) pulling it back in, Chronicle can now reduce the amount of time and tools people have to bounce between. Staying in one spot eliminates the switching cost that occurs during priv log creation and cuts down the learning curve for getting new team members going on the work.

Breaking the process into simpler, discrete steps makes it much easier to bring in additional – and potentially less expensive – team members to help define the normalizations. Save your staff attorneys for the final review and last-minute updates!

By keeping this work in Relativity, you can save all the work product and reuse it as documents, coding, and cases (oh my!) change and evolve. No more exporting to Excel, painstakingly updating names, and repeating it all over again for future privilege requests! Normalize things once, and then reuse, reuse, reuse.

TIM: Anything exciting you want to share about the future of Chronicle and Name Normalization?

JED: 2023 will bring even more updates to Chronicle - and Delegate! After the big releases of Delegate 3.0 and Chronicle 2.0, which dominated 2022 for the team, we're looking to do several more minor releases for both products. Tim touched on some of the upcoming plans for Delegate 3+ back during the release of Automated Workflows. I won't retread those; however, on the Chronicle side of things, I'm excited about what we've lined up!

Over the last few years, we've collected feedback on what can make Chronicle even easier to use. We're planning a slew of updates that will allow templates to be more easily created (and updated) while providing more configuration options to make complex templates easier to define. As is the case with any of our products, our goals include making it easy for our customers to be more productive. A core component of that is a user-friendly experience that avoids productivity at the cost of sanity, so getting these updates in is something I'm looking forward to bringing to market.

The capabilities introduced with NN reinforce our long-term goal of making work product easy to reuse. We want to continue to make Chronicle data simple to QC and clean up - but we're not done yet! On deck, we've cooked up new features aimed at helping you take work product from one case and apply it in another!"

And in the vein of cleaning up data, we are designing out the ability to make edits in place within Chronicle. When you notice something awry, you don't have to go back and find the right doc and then go to the right layout and then edit and save (and then rinse and repeat for the other docs), but instead, you can do it all in Chronicle while you're in creating-and-preparing-a-private-log mode.

All in all, we have a full plate of features that we're excited to dig into and share with everyone!

TIM: Thanks, Jed!

Whether you're all-in on Server, running a hybrid infrastructure, or solely in the cloud, consider how Chronicle might help your team "Make It Like You Like It" and reach out for an upgrade (or a demo) today.

Chronicle 2.0 is available for Relativity Server 10.3+ and RelativityOne.



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