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ILTA '09 And eDiscovery Trends

I just got back from ILTA 2009 in Washington D.C. The conference has a thing for Gaylord Hotels and Resorts as they held the 2008 meeting at the Dallas Gaylord. That's fine with me; beautiful hotels.

As an analyst, I spend most of my trade show time talking to eDiscovery vendors. Since a majority of these conversations are under NDA, if I told you what they said, I'd have to kill you. So I will share with you the market trends that I discussed with show vendors and attendees. I met with the companies I mention below.

Trend #1: Vendors are moving towards systemic workflow and gobbling up eDiscovery stages in the process. The early case assessment (ECA) vendors are moving to the right on the EDRM to add review and sometimes production. At the same time, the review vendors are moving left on the EDRM to add ECA analytics and capabilities. The reason is that the processing/analytics/review/production workflow is a hard one to manage. When customers are working with point products, collected data sets are constantly being loaded and ingested into the next product along the line. This is a drain on network resources (IT hates that) and a serious risk to Legal's time management and chain of custody (attorneys hate that). If a vendor can offer true -- as in early -- ECA to customers, and can span subsequent stages to full-blown review, then they are approaching the end-to-end that customers do want. Clearwell is an example of the ECA-to-review move in the corporate market. Other companies will be making announcements over the next two quarters.

Trend #2: Workflow management. It's hard to manage the eDiscovery workflow between multiple point products, stakeholders, and matters. Throw in the fact that the workflow actually moves back and forth between different stages, and you have a real challenge. In response, more vendors are building project management and/or multi-matter management into their products. CaseCentral has done this process from the beginning, and other well-entrenched review makers like Stratify have added it this past year. More will be announcing in 2009.  

Trend #3: Vendors on the left-hand side of the EDRM are leveraging information management, identification and preservation to serve more business groups and business processes. eDiscovery technology always had strong implications for compliance, governance, records management and data retention. Now that corporate IT is being charged with providing data to these business processes, identification and management tools are looking pretty good. Reactive deployments are still more common than proactive, but the word is getting out. Guidance is an example of a rich technology that operates in this sphere as is Recommind. This is also where storage vendors belong, with both HP and CommVault applying their data management and identification capabilities to enterprise data.

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