E-discovery Technology Trends

Companies have been struggling for years now with whether to go with a single vendor offering a single solution that spans the entire EDRM e-discovery lifecycle, to pick and choose best of breed technology or to simply outsource the work.

The reason for choosing a single solution from collection through review are compelling: It's easier to track the ESI from collection through review, there's consistency in process and reporting, efficient customer support, less training and it can be easier to defend the process. On the other hand, there are just as valid reasons why best of breed is the way to go: It offers flexibility, avoids weak links in the technology, offers better customization and adaptability, etc.

Additionally, there is the debate about whether a company should bring e-discovery in house or outsource the process. I am a firm believer that preservation and collection should be brought in-house. However, the decision to bring processing and production in-house is a more difficult one. Outsourcing processing, review and production, in many cases, is definitely a better approach.

I see the current state of e-discovery technology as being extremely fluid and moving quickly as the amount of ESI grows and the laws evolve. Investing in an entire e-discovery infrastructure may not be a prudent decision these days. Outsourcing is becoming more attractive as prices come down. It allows a company to have both best of breed and a single vendor for consistency; since most service providers don't use a single technology, but have many in their tool box.

This need for flexibility in a rapidly evolving market is forcing vendors to be more creative in how they license technology. Term licenses in the form of an annual subscription is now in vogue, as wells as vendors providing a variety of licensing options to meet the customers specific needs. I am seeing the perpetual software license agreement losing favor because it requires more of a commitment from the customer and puts them in a technology straight jacket.

All of these factors complicate the decision making process. It is clear there is no easy answer as the technology evolves in this rapidly changing market. It really depends on the company, its current technology infrastructure and the litigation load. Utilizing a neutral third party expert consultant is critical to making the right decisions.

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