Somewhere along the line, I became the unofficial reviewer of the Credenza practice management system. I don’t quite know how this happened; but, it’s true. I mean, I’m even quoted on their homepage: See. (I don’t think I’m the “official” reviewer, or the Credenza laureate or anything like that, because I’m pretty sure I would have demanded a cash prize, or something, if that were the case.) And, yet, here I am.

As I was working on finalizing a review of Credenza for the ABA’s GP|Solo magazine (which review will be released in the December issue, so watch out for that), I received word, which I had known would be coming, that Credenza had dropped a major product upgrade, between the time that I had drafted my article and the time that I would be revising it. With a quick turnaround time on final edits for the article, I could only change information that had become outdated per the product upgrades that Credenza had made; this meant that I was not able to discuss, at any great length, the value of some of the new features. So, I’d like to take the opportunity, now, to address those features, as well as some other primary changes, which are more superficially covered in my article; obviously, I’ve chosen the ol’ LOMAP Blog for my board of sounding.

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Credenza has provided this link, where it has collected a list of recent program changes. The listing is well-done, with a pithy description of the each change, plus a screenshot, so you can see just what’ll happen within your system. (I love screenshots.) We’ll get back to this listing of late September-early October changes in a moment.

The most significant improvement to Credenza has its own page. One of the original drawbacks to Credenza (Credenza 1.0, as it were, now) was that, although there were collaboration tools, those tools could only be leveraged by workgroups of up to three. And, that was a fairly significant issue, for example, when you’re talking about a solo attorney with a secretary and paralegal . . . well, that’s really all you were talking about, because the Credenza share would have been maxed out by that small office. Now, however, Credenza offers team functionality. The essence of this change is that user limits are gone. Now, a Credenza team, or teams, can consist of any number of persons. Credenza, then, is no longer hamstrung as a solution for only the small law office; Credenza, with teams, can now be used in small firms, mid-sized firms and large firms. Team access can be further split into sub-groups, as teams may be gathered around specific client files, and client file sets. In addition to the, um . . . addition, of, more people, the Credenza team version allows for deeper flexibility, in how those persons are arrayed, as well as in how they access information, than the previous work group-based incarnation of the program did. One significant movement arising from the creation of teams centers around ease of access. Because behind the curtain synchronization occurs in the cloud, Credenza users may now access Credenza anywhere they have internet access; users are no longer required to get access to their office network, to get access to Credenza. Such a major upgrade, of course, means that nearly every feature of Credenza is touched by the implementation of the team functionality. A review of the Credenza features page, then, with an eye to the new team-specific functionality and its effect across the platform, is in order, not only for those familiar Credenza users, but also for those curious, especially those who were previously too big for the box.

But, there are other, not insignificant, changes to Credenza, as well. And, those are laid out at the aforementioned updates page. Certainly, you should review the full set of new upgrades at the updates page (it doesn’t take that long); but, I just wanted to highlight several of the new features that I found to be particularly impressive/that I think will be most useful: Credenza now supports Outlook 2010. A web documents feature has been added, so that team members can share documents via the internet. Credenza now offers a backup utility, with an automatic backup option, for each time that Outlook is restarted. An accounting template for PCLaw is now available.

Of course, following such an aggressive general update, coupled with the addition of the powerful new team functionality, it’s probably a safe bet that the rock bottom pricing for Credenza is going to change a little bit, too, right? Right. But, it’s not so bad. And, this all really comes down to the teams feature again, which acts now as the fulcrum point between the new and the old Credenza, between the original Credenza, and the let’s-call-it-the-“enterprise-version” of Credenza, for lack of a better term. Single licenses for Credenza will remain priced at $9.95/month. The enterprising Credenza, basing collaboration and sharing on teams of finitely large numbers of people, will cost $19.95/user/month. Still reasonable, says I; but, an added cost, sure. The Credenza pricing schemata is laid out here.

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For my original general review of Credenza, see here.

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Liner Notes

I was all set to write a Liner Notes on one of my favorite bands, a profile, as it were, one of which I have not done for quite some time. But, damned if last night’s episode of “Community” on NBC didn’t steal my thunder! (GREAT show, by the way, obviously.) Now, because I’ll look like a poser, I can’t talk about . . . Oh, never mind.

But, I did find a theme in today’s post: Upgrades. So, I’ll name a musician, or band, and a career move they made, and I’ll say whether I think it’s an upgrade, or a downgrade, or a push. This ought to be fun. Let’s call this . . .

(drumroll please)

The David Caruso Files

Denny Laine

The Moody BluesWings = Upgrade

I think Wings is probably a better band, but it’s closer than you might think. What makes this a slam dunk is that The Moody Blues did not really become The Moody Blues until after Denny Laine left, and they changed their sound.

Richie Furay

Buffalo SpringfieldPoco = Downgrade

The Buffalo Springfield was just a legendary band, even though they’re now mostly known for one song. Poco was one of the founding bands of country-rock; but, their contribution does not overwhelm Springfield’s, Poco being, essentially, Buffalo Springfield without its chief architects: Stephen Stills and Neil Young.

Steve Winwood

The Spencer Davis GroupTraffic = Upgrade

The Spencer Davis Group had some nice, good-timey pop hits, with some underlying complexity; but, Steve Winwood couldn’t even drive a car when he joined the band. He matured musically with Traffic, a seminal group. (Nobody ripped up the Hammond B3 like Steve Winwood). Oh, yeah, and he was also in supergroup Blind Faith, and had a wildly successful solo career.

Genesis

Peter GabrielPhil Collins = Push

This is a tough one. When Genesis brought Phil Collins out from behind the drum kit, to take up the mantle of lead singer, following Peter Gabriel‘s departure from the group, they certainly became less creative, and slid further down, with each succeeding album, the slide of popcrafty songsmithing. But, I like the height of Phil Collins-Genesis better than the height of Peter Gabriel-Genesis, even though the latter Genesis is deducted points for that loss of creativity. Phil Collins, though, is one of the illest drummers ever. (Let’s not talk about post-Phil Collins’ Genesis.)

(The Jared Correia Listening Project is on “G”, for Gensis . . . perhaps the “genesis” of this post.)

AC/DC

Bon ScottBrian Johnson = Downgrade

This is sort of unfair, because Bon Scott died, and did not leave the group of his own accord. However, this is not a sympathy vote. The Bon Scott-led AC/DC had a rawer sound, bordering on the crazy: it was like the pitch of his voice could have up and shanked somebody at any moment. And, even though Brian Johnson is aight, and even though he sang lead on AC/DC’s most famous album, “Back in Black” (a tribute to Scott, by the way, released only five months after his death), my proverbial tip of the cap goes to the progenitor.