Kroll Ontrack, a provider of software to conduct e-discovery projects for law firms and in-house legal counsel, is introducing a SaaS version of its product called the Verve do-it-yourself e-discovery platform. Kroll already offers a hosted platform that enables customers to send raw data to Kroll, which then organizes it and presents clients with the data relevant to a particular case. Now the SaaS option lets customers do that for themselves in the cloud.
E-discovery software has been around for years as companies have had to respond to subpoenas involving litigation or investigations by government agencies. But the volume of data companies and other enterprises have to manage is growing exponentially, and the SaaS option is another way customers could manage those volumes, says Ken Ewell, VP of the SaaS offering at Kroll.
"When you think about how data has been created and the migration of that from written memos to now emails and Facebook traffic ... the volume that someone has to manage in a litigation event is significantly greater [than in the past]," Ewell says. A third-party survey conducted for Kroll revealed that 86% of law firms and in-house legal departments are considering insourcing e-discovery, and that 81% have plans to choose a SaaS option such as Verve in the next two years, he says. Kroll isn’t the only vendor offering a SaaS option but is one of a relative few, he adds.
A Gartner report from February predicted that by 2013, half of all companies will have been asked to produce material from social media websites for e-discovery. Companies are increasingly using social media platforms, such as Facebook, for marketing purposes and to communicate with their customers. "Social media content is like all other content that is created by companies and individuals and is subject to the same rules, laws and customs," said Debra Logan, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a news release.
The Kroll Ontrack Verve offering provides the ability to quickly upload data to the cloud to begin a project and then select the appropriate processing criteria. Verve also offers an Early Data Assessment (EDA) feature that winnows a data set by 85% or more using sorting tools such as visual analytics, email threading and document deduplication. Next, Verve goes into document review mode, which automates aspects of the document review process to find relevant data.
Another Gartner report from May shows a crowded field of e-discovery vendors. In its Magic Quadrant report, the research firm put Kroll in the lower-left quadrant of "niche players" and considers its closest competition to be companies such as Epiq Systems, FTI Technology and Xerox Litigation Services. Companies in the upper-right quadrant of "industry leaders," included companies like Clearwell Systems, Autonomy (which was recently acquired by HP), kCura, FTI and Guidance Software. In the same report, Gartner forecasts that the e-discovery software market will achieve a compound annual growth rate of about 14% and reach $1.5 billion in revenue by 2013, from $889 million in 2009.
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