Cisco Systems Inc. began plotting out an online collaborative space for its in-house lawyers about three years ago. However, the company ran into a slight problem. Law firms weren't that interested in helping populate the site and the legal department couldn't find someone willing to design it.
That's when Cisco decided to alter its original plan. Instead of creating an internal collaborative space, it decided to design a space accessible to all legal departments. Soon after Cisco spread the word in 2005, a number of big-name companies--including DuPont, Altria, Clorox, Citigroup, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and FMC Technologies Inc.--signed on to the project.
"Let's say it costs Cisco $50,000 to produce an online training module by itself," Dang says. "If I can get five companies to collaborate, I can get my costs down to $10,000. Even with a few thousand thrown in for customization, that's a lot of savings."
However, Legal OnRamp's creators are confident that this foray is the beginning of something big.
"When you look at it, the power of 'us' is greater than the power of 'one,'" Dang says. "So there's a lot of resources and great minds out there, and there are a lot of problems that we're all dealing with that someone has probably solved. So why not leverage that?"