While e-discovery and other legal tech acquisitions are likely to favor expanded analytics and cybersecurity capabilities, strategic partnerships among legal tech companies reveal a slightly different set of priorities.
Here is a look at three of the main forces behind legal tech partnerships in 2016:
Cloud-based products big and small have seen expanded interest in strategic partnerships throughout the year, spurred by rising demand in the technology.
The ILTA/InsideLegal Technology's 2016 survey found that nearly half of legal professionals anticipated that over one-quarter of their firms' software and service offerings may be cloud-based in the next one to three years.
Both e-discovery and document management providers have pushed heavily toward cloud solutions. kCura's partnership with Microsoft to bring the Relativity ecosystem into the cloud marks perhaps the biggest cloud-facing partnership of the year, but cloud-based document manager NetDocuments also racked up some notable partnerships this year with Sharepoint and Prosperoware.
And it's not just e-discovery that benefits from partnering its way into the cloud.
Adobe this year spearheaded a collaboration with 12 other companies to push for an open standard for cloud-based e-signatures.
Matter management, which has long favored the security and flexibility of cloud hosting, also showed some expanded partnering into the cloud area with via AdvoLogix's partnership with Carahsoft.
Data sourcing and handling
Not only has e-discovery needed to adapt to new data volumes, but also to demands for data culled from mobile devices, social networks, Internet of Things (IoT)-wired devices and a plethora of other expanding types of technologies. Many companies have looked to strategic partnerships to keep up with these new data demands.
David Wilner, chief operating officer of FRONTEO, explained the company's partnership with Nuix was geared toward helping both companies adapt to added pressure to accommodate data needs. "Today, 'big data' rules the landscape, and the volume of data that our clients need to process continues to grow exponentially. As a result, our projects increasingly have larger and larger data sets than ever before," Wilner previously told Legaltech News.
Others have looked to partnerships to expand the data collection field across machines and servers. CloudNine's partnership with unstructured data specialist Heureka, for example, is a way for the company to cull data at its point of origin, indexing data before collection to broaden scope across file structures.
Interconnected partner networks
As legal tech providers strive to meet client demand for bundle services in "full solutions" via strategic partnerships, they are in effect creating interconnected networks of collaborating systems.
Take, for example, Clutch Group's partner assembly of Brainspace's analytics services, Nuix's information management capabilities and kCura's Relativity workspace for a bundled e-discovery solution.
While three players alone have strong service offerings, they are also supported by a network of other partnerships. Brainspace this year partnered with Discovia and Compliance, bolstering their data visualization and predictive coding offerings, respectively.
kCura's Relativity workspace has also attracted numerous partners, among them e-discovery companies Kroll Ontrack, Xact Data Discovery and LDiscovery and dashboard provider Park IP.