Four Prerequisites for eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment Products

Companies who execute Information Governance plans are looking for eDiscovery products supporting Early Case Assessment (ECA).  ECA is a combination of search, workflow management, information processing, and multilingual user interfaces. ECA requires a cohesive set of technology, business and data science stakeholders to select products.

ECA is powerful business process, but identifying ECA products is a beleaguering task.  ECA mashes together eDiscovery and technology requirements.  The “mashing of requirements” creates a broad matrix of products and functionality. Without question, eDiscovery has significantly evolved within the last few years.

DCIG and eDiscovery Solutions Group (eDSG) are developing an inaugural Buyer’s Guide in 2012 on eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment.  DCIG has chosen to partner with eDSG because eDSG is a well known international thought leader and Information Management Consulting firm that specialize in Information Governance and eDiscovery in the Cloud with Global 2000 Stakeholders, Technology Vendors and Service Providers.

eDSG is combining its Information Governance and eDiscovery expertise with DCIG’s well-honed Buyer’s Guide business process.  The result is a Buyer’s Guide that will weigh, score, and rank capabilities and features on multiple eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment products. The products are given classifications of Basic, Good, Excellent, Recommended and Best-in-Class.

We expect the inaugural 2012 eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment Buyer’s Guide to cover 30-40 products and their companies.  As we assess the inclusion of companies and products for the Buyer’s Guide, we expect their capabilities will be categorized in to eight (8) project areas made popular by the Electronic Discovery Reference Model.  Those eight (8) areas are:

  • Identification
  • Preservation
  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Analysis
  • Review
  • Production
  • Trial

However, assessing products based solely on EDRM isn’t common among buyers of eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment products.  Buyers are benchmarking products using five (5) functional areas.  The functional areas include:

  • Management – this is defined as capabilities that support preservation, processing, production, etc within EDRM.  Buyers require a specific type content deduplication when purchasing an eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment.  Deduplication examples include deduplicate in single matters, deduplicate across multiple matters, near deduplicate in single matters, near deduplicate across matters, etc.  Recently, Google were left wondering about their eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment software management capability as it didn’t support or detect near duplicates.
  • Search – this is defined by simple and advanced search and search management functions.  Buyers require search support for archiving systems such as Symantec Enterprise Vault, HP Integrated Archive Platform, Autonomy Message Manager or EAS, IBM Common Store, EMC SourceOne, Microsoft Exchange Archive 2010 as well as mainstream content management and networking equipment. Buyers also require advanced search capabilities for social discovery, e.g. Box, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Evernote, etc.  However, buyer needs extend beyond content sources to semantic and heuristic search capabilities such as clustering, natural language retrieval, relevance ranking, etc.
  • Operating environment – this is defined as a combination of technologies and services required for eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment software to operate.  Buyers require a specific implementation model which may consist of one or more of the following On-Premises Software, On-Premises Appliance, SaaS via Vendor Datacenter, SaaS via 3rd Pary Datacenter, requiring installation services, user installable, requiring expansion services, user expandable, etc.
  • User interface – this is defined as technologies that directly impact user operational efficiency.  Buyers require capabilities that support cost and time projection based on electronically stored information (ESI) their teams have identified. In addition, basic document manipulation that is legally defensible such as Auto best fit documents, zoom, rotate, annotate, redact. local print with and without overlays etc. Recently, buyers of eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment have suggested legacy user interfaces, those more than a few years old, are negatively impacting their user productivity, thus recent user interface designs are a plus when rating this section.
  • Support – this is defined as offerings that make the product more usable, dependable and efficient.  Buyers of eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment require training for end users such as Live Online, Recorded Online or Live Classroom.  In addition, support that goes beyond traditional 24x7x365 or 8x7x365, to include 4 hour onsite engineer or 24 hour onsite trial support.  Moreover, buyers are also distinguishing products by evaluating online knowledge base, software development kits and social networks.

DCIG and eDSG intend to consider all eight (8) EDRM project areas and five (5) functional areas as listed above.  The Buyer’s Guide will identify an overall winner and a handful of recommended products.  However, not all companies will be included.  DCIG and eDSG have prerequisites for inclusion.

Over the last few years requirements for eDiscovery and Early Case Assessment have evolved.  Those vendors who have evolved and fulfill prerequisites will be included.  We are considering the following as a demarcation point for our inaugural 2012 eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment Buyer’s Guide:

  1. The ability to utilize sophisticated search across an entire enterprise network and industry standard archiving platforms to identify, categorize, analyze and report on potential evidence without the requirement to preserve or collect.
  2. Integration with other eDiscovery technologies such as legal hold, workflow management and document management as may be required to provide a complete end-to-end solution for the entire eDiscovery lifecycle.
  3. Native support for unpacking and flattening of all standard file types, e.g. ZIP, MSG, without the need to move ESI to a third party processing technology.
  4. Updated, extensible, customizable user interface that supports Unicode, e.g. Japanese, Chinese, etc

Based on those prerequisites, DCIG and eDSG have identified specific products for inclusion in the inaugural 2012 eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment Buyer’s Guide including, but not limited to:

Autonomy EMC/SourceONE Exterro
Gallivan and O’Melia (GGO)/Digital WarRoom Guidance Software IE Discovery
Kroll Ontrack Inc. NUIX OrcaTec
Recommind StoredIQ Symantec/Clearwell
Venio Systems WorkProducts X1 Discovery

DCIG and eDSG understand the complexity involved in identifying, assessing, evaluating and then proceeding with a subset of eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment products.  We expect our inaugural 2012 eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment Buyer’s Guide to be complete and ready for use in February of 2012.  Please note, the prerequisites are not yet finalized.

There are at least one or two other prerequisites that DCIG and eDSG is considering for inclusion in the inaugural 2012 eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment Buyer’s Guide.  So as DCIG and eDSG do this research and prepares its inaugural eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment Buyer’s Guide, DCIG and eDSG will seek to identify those eDiscovery/Early Case Assessment vendors that minimally meet the four prerequisites and then see how they stack up against one another.

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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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