Jeffrey K. Whittle joined ALM as chief technology and digital products officer in January, bringing technology experience gained as a former ShopperTrak and LexisNexis executive to a media company seeking to strengthen its digital presence in the real estate and legal markets.
“I'm at the forefront of the digital transformation of the company,” he said. “We've leveraged our team for internal purposes and now we're thinking about how our customers are using technology, down to the level of how we can help them with their work flow.”
Most of the growth of the company's digital portfolio will come from new rich Internet applications like Smart Litigator, a regionally tailored product series that offers customized legal research services, news and tools to help its audience optimize daily productivity, Whittle said.
ALM launched Smart Litigator New York just as Whittle came onboard and introduced Smart Litigator New Jersey in May. The company will roll the product out in additional jurisdictions and also will create similar product lines tailored to other areas of law, Whittle said.
These types of applications mark a strategic evolution for a company traditionally seen as a provider of news, Whittle said. “It used to be that we were trying to get more access and information. We achieved that. ALM has more information coming in every day than anybody can actually consume. Now we're going to start filtering that. We just have to build the products that enable that for our customers. We want them to think of us as their partner who will help them have the right information at the right time.”
ALM will also be working with LexisNexis to develop new product offerings, Whittle said. In May, the companies announced that LexisNexis customers would be able to access ALM legal content, and Whittle indicated that other collaborations are in the pipeline.
“We focus on the news side of the legal business, and they focus on the research side, so we are very complementary,” said Whittle, a former global product officer at LexisNexis. “We're going to be working with LexisNexis to create things that neither of us individually could create, something that combines our assets and our skills.” He declined to share specifics.
The partnership does not take any emphasis off the ALM research division, which recently added new talent and is seeing increased demand for its services, he said. The company also expects to see continued growth of its digital directories and recently launched new products in both the real estate and legal markets.
Whittle's broad set of responsibilities includes oversight of the technology used by the entire company to conduct day-to-day business. “I'm making sure that our infrastructure is very robust and that we are there to support our customers regardless of any massive disasters,” he said. “We want to make sure we are providing indispensable products and are able to support our clients 365 days a year.”