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E-Discovery Trends in 2009

A few years ago, the Taneja Group coined the term "Information Classification and Management" (ICM) to describe the technology of locating and classifying data throughout the enterprise. ICM covered sub-technology sectors such as e-discovery, compliance, data security control, and data management. However, we saw the term "e-discovery" trump the more comprehensive name as rabid attention turned from ICM to the specifics of civil litigation software tools. We are now seeing the e-discovery term itself take on a fuller usage, more akin to ICM. People do use the term when talking about civil litigation, but are also expanding it to encompass compliance, corporate governance, data classification, and even knowledge management.

In this broad sense we have looked at the trends of the e-discovery market as they impact its largest stakeholders: the enterprise general counsel and compliance officers, law firms serving corporate clients, and IT.

The crux of the matter is that e-discovery and its related areas will be extremely hot for litigation and compliance, especially those related to the financial meltdown. The market increasingly understands the necessity of e-discovery software tools and systems, and will move toward proactive e-discovery adoption. A more reactive approach will remain alive and well as many companies will still avoid implementation until driven to it by a lawsuit or federal investigation. But companies will increasingly understand that the e-discovery solution phenomenon is much more than a litigation aid. It also has major effects on federal compliance and internal governance, and potentially on data management throughout the enterprise.

Corporations will be looking for technology that helps them meet compliance and litigation demands while controlling costs, and will demand that their outside law firms do the same. IT will be looking for ways to add value around data classification and management. By forming interdisciplinary teams at the corporate level to research e-discovery solutions, the enterprise will help to drive wide e-discovery development past specific litigation concerns. Litigation will remain the most significant pain point, but compliance/governance and data management will not be far behind. The most successful e-discovery vendors will be those who can meet these expanded needs in the enterprise, whether through a comprehensive platform or best-of-breed integrated offerings.

Let us take a closer look at the trends surrounding the three primary stakeholders in the e-discovery field. These include corporations, law firms, and e-discovery vendors.

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