Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Predictive Pricing and other Ediscovery Trends

As 2010 comes to an abrupt end with tons of work in our shop and a positive outlook for the upcoming year I thought I would take jump on the bandwagon and take a brief look at what I see as the upcoming hot topics and trends in eDiscovery for the new year.

Predictive Pricing: as data sets grow larger and larger AND LARGER the legal community will continue to search for ways to prevent electronic discovery costs from exceeding legal exposure and attorneys’ fees. I predict that the pricing models in play currently , that monetarily reward service providers based on the amount of data that is processed are going to disappear. The current model is dead. At present eDiscovery is a volume-driven activity-- more volume equals higher costs. Typically reactive approaches to legal edicts are executed without a clear eye on costs which pains everyone involved in the long run. This approach is unsustainable as volumes grow unabated. Creative vendors will find ways to implement predictive pricing models to everyone's benefit.

Sources of data will become more and more diverse : PST's, hard drives and network servers are standard locations for forensic collections. As e-mail is bypassed by informal discussion threads, facebook postings; foursquare and tweets, attorneys dealing with eDiscovery preservation issues must realize the importance of identifying evidence that may exist outide traditional e-mail boxes and server shares. Notice how little email your teen ager uses - as Mr Bob Dylan once said sagely.. " The times they are a changin'."

The "Cloud" will become increasingly relevant in the litigation support model : Gartner predicted that 2010 would be the year in which cloud computing would reach the 'peak of inflated expectations'. I think that in 2011 the cloud computing model will become mainstream, the technology will finally be ready to offer computing power on a consumption basis using a browser based apps. The cloud computing model will allow a firm or service provider to apply e-discovery best practices in a cost-effective manner.

Software suppliers will focus less on the functions of their own applications and more on the ease with which they fit into, and exchange data with, other systems. Similar to car manufacturers changing their talking points from performance to talking about their their eco-credentials instead, software suppliers and the vendors that use this software will increasingly be rated for the support which they give to their client.

Workflow: SIngle Source end to end eDiscovery with consolidated data identification, preservation, collection and processing can dramatically accelerate the document review process.. Reducing the number of discrete processes also decreases the amount of hands who may need to be involved in an eDiscovery matter. When eDiscovery involves manual effort, more people are required, which can strain budgets and result in reduntant steps.

The near future looks bright. 2011 will be a year of opportunities in the eDiscovery realm for those willing to grab them.

New technology, new ways of doing the work and new ways of funding the process all present opportunities in the coming year to those who can embrace and understand those chagnes

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