Symantec doesn’t have an electronic discovery strategy

Three years ago last quarter Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) took over the
Enterprise Vault product group from KVS, Inc. 
At that time the Enterprise Vault product group was self-governed even
after rolling acquisitions of KVS, Inc. by VERITAS and then VERITAS by
Symantec.

In 2005 Nigel Dutt, then CTO of KVS, Inc., was caught up
in a conundrum dealing with VP and Senior VP interaction between himself, Symantec
and VERITAS.  Prior to the acquisition
the product management group had been split between North
America
and Rest of World (ROW), with a single Global Product
Manager heading up the core interaction with Engineering.  In March of 2005 the Enterprise Vault product
group had four people focused on electronic data discovery (EDD) and enterprise
content management (ECM) integration with Enterprise Vault.

Four people were barely enough as the group was broken into
the following tactical responsibilities; strategy was formulated among the team:

  • Partner
    Management
  • Compliance
    Accelerator
  • Industry
    marketing and analyst management
  • Electronic
    discovery business process and enterprise content management

This four-way effort was established because the market data
and the Compliance Advisory Group, a KVS, Inc. customer group managed by Joshua
Konkle, pointed to electronic discovery as a critical horizontal application
area through 2010.  Both sources made it patently
clear that the next iteration of archiving would be predicated on business
process management as it relates archive data.  At
the time, the two business processes that had a corporate budget for archiving
and retrieval were compliance (FINRA
3010
) in financial services and electronic data discovery across multiple regulated
and litigious industries.  In early 2005, the notion
of the Federal Rules for Civil Procedure or Electronic Discovery Reference
Model didn’t exist.  We defined plans
under a myriad of case law, terabytes of digital evidence and prospects
clamoring for a solution.

The solution was to keep the team focused on these efforts,
both tactically and strategically. 
However, as the last three years have shown, it did not play out that
way.  In fact, by the end of April 2005
there was only one person handling those four areas and strategy was moved, in its entirety, to the director of product management. 
If I were to grade the execution of EDD within Enterprise Vault over the
last three years it would get a resounding “S-“, for poor strategic focus.  It will be no surprise to me if Enterprise
Vault continues to decay and fall short of addressing the broader issues
presented by “Intelligent Archiving.”

KVS 2004-2005 Futures

The impetus for my commentary is based on the recent findings
by Forrester
as it relates to Autonomy/Zantaz.  I don’t have access to the full copy, so I’m
referencing Aaref Hilaly, Chief Executive Officer of Clearwell Systems comments,
because I believe him when he quotes Forrester. 
Hilaly says “Every previous report from Gartner
and Forrester has identified Symantec as the market leader, so this is
potentially a significant shift.”  He is
absolutely correct1, but the shift has
already occurred.  Analyst reports, by
definition, are market trailing.  The
research points to work done in September 2007, which reflects opinions from
Q2/Q3 2007.  Those opinions likely
started in late 2006 when Enterprise Vault 7.0 released with zero functionality
addressing intelligent archiving, unstructured content from defined business processes
and a business accelerator that addresses electronic discovery legal risk
management.

Business processes, like electronic discovery, offer defined
metrics and quantitative impacts on organizations.  Historically speaking, electronic discovery
review budgets have been rising steadily; creating the need to improve review (better
crushing power) or reduce data going into review (refined selection process).  Moreover, the team at KVS/Symantec knew in
early 2005 that “Discovery Accelerator 1.0″ was a stifled product; primarily designed
to return email results for people, according to dates and keywords.  At the time all the talk was around better
“improving review,” but the market has been saying “early case assessment”
since early 2007.

Symantec needs to do only one thing, figure out their
strategy.  Their execution is poor
because the leadership driving the strategy is rooted in “consumer security”
and “enterprise storage.”  Moreover, Symantec should dominate in security but Symantec has little
or any solution for the business process of investigation.  No where in Symantec do you find business processes.  Archiving must grow up; at KVS we focused on “Store,
Manage and Discover
  Symantec has no focus on discovery, intelligent archiving or business processes.

Discovery isn’t a search interface, it’s about enabling
access to unstructured data created as a side effect to structured business
processes to increase profits, reduce risk and something philanthropic.
 The accesses, information risks and business processes vary from organization to
organization, which is why Mike Lynch, Anthony Bettencort (ex-Verity) and Autonomy/ZANTAZ (LON:AU)
are now in the drivers seat.  Let’s see
how things pan out as Autonomy’s academia search meets business process
management.  Given Autonomy’s roots, I’m
hoping for a period of lyceumic
Enlightenment.

1 – I do NOT agree
with Aaref’s sentiments about Mailbox Management and personal mailbox archive
indexing via Windows VISTA/Google.  The
notion he suggests indicates a lack of understanding “stubbing.”  Stubbing is an in your face necessity by
Microsoft because they won’t crack the shell on the Exchange MAPI provider in
Outlook.  Let me know if you want to know
more about this issue by commenting or emailing me directly – Joshua.Konkle(at)dcig.com.

Joshua L. Konkle

About Joshua L. Konkle

Vice President DCIG, LLC Joshua Konkle is Vice President at DCIG LLC, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Konkle has been a business advisor with them since September 2006.

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