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Update on SaaS in the Litigation Market

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Update on SaaS in the Litigation Market

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption rates are finally beginning to accelerate in the overall information technology market. Therefore, I thought that is was time for quick update on how SaaS is doing in the litigation market. Is the "jury" still out or are law firms and corporate legal departments following the rest of the pack on adopting SaaS?

Gartner Estimates
Technology research firm Gartner Inc., based in Stamford, Conn., estimated companies spent $5.1 billion on SaaS programs in 2007 worldwide, up 22 percent from 2006. That's expected to double by 2011. Ben Pring, a Gartner outsourcing and information technology analyst, expects about 15 percent of all business software sold to be accessed via the Internet five years from now.

Venture Capital Going SaaS Exclusive?
VC invested currently in software startups is almost exclusively going into SaaS companies. "If you go to a VC and say you've got this great application, this wonderful code, and you're going to put it on CDs and mail it out to all your customers, you'll be laughed out of the meeting," Pring said. But he said the shift to SaaS is in its infancy, and many small-to-medium-sized businesses still aren't comfortable handing their critical software functions and data to an outside vendor.

Salesforce.com Success Factor
In a recent article by Greg Avery of the Denver Business Journal titled "InfoNow, Webroot are on SaaS wave: Software as a service catches on", indicates that the SaaS model -- sometimes referred to as "on-demand software" or computing "in the cloud" -- took hold in the past couple years, fueled partly by the success of San Francisco-based Salesforce.com, which has 36,000 business customers. That company, which promised "the end of software" when it launched in 2001, showed businesses could use important programs remotely and securely keep sensitive company information in someone else's data center.

Mr. Avery went on to say that that trend also has begun transforming Boulder-based Webroot Software Inc., one of the area's most successful traditional software businesses. Webroot sells one copy of its anti-spyware blockbuster program, Spy Sweeper, every 10 seconds. The product resides on the computer hard drives of more than 7 million consumers, and its distinctive green box is outsold only by bottled water in the nation's Best Buy stores. And yet, following its November acquisition of Britain-based Email Systems, Webroot is using SaaS email to break into the small- and medium-business market. SaaS email works like hotmail.com or Google email, only it's designed more for business use. The 300-employee company has 2.5 million business email customers worldwide and expects a lot of growth this year, CEO Peter Watkins said. By summer, the company plans to start selling businesses a hosted website-filtering service that's designed to keep corrupted or inappropriate sites from being accessed from client's computers. Webroot's SaaS offerings to businesses are expected to become the fastest-growing part of the company, Watkins said. Designing the key functions of the software once and hosting it in a Webroot data center eliminates the integration and custom code-writing headaches that business software development normally entails. That makes buying a SaaS product more efficient for customers and a better business model for Webroot, Watkins said. "From my side, it's dramatically more cost-effective," he said. "And that means I can put more money back into the product."

SaaS in the Litigation Market
Spending the better part of almost every business day working with law firms and corporate legal departments to address their legal and compliance ESI needs, my perspective is that SaaS is catching on in the litigation market also. With no hardware of software to install and maintain for the end users and pay-as-you-go subscription based pricing, the general SaaS model is a great fit for the fee based litigation market. And, with many of the data security myths having been addresses with the SaaS vendors moving to Tier-1 data centers such as Level 3, many of the road blocks previously setup by internal IT personnel, are no longer really valid (i.e. the SaaS vendors can provide a more secure and reliable data center than the end users can provide). I would say that one of the last legitimate roadblocks to the full scale adoption of SaaS is the current restrictions that bandwidth place on moving massive amounts of data over the Internet. And, based upon the explosion of ESI, this is one of the requirements in the ligation market. However, with bandwidth increasing along with the proliferation of compression technology, this is also becoming less of a legitimate issue.

Current Crop of SaaS Products and Vendors
Although this is not a comprehensive list of all of the SaaS vendors in the litigation market, it is a list of the SaaS (or SaaS like) technologies and vendors that I have reviewed and believe either have a significant enough client base or sufficiently advanced technology (i.e. true mutli-tennancy with self provisioning, etc.) to be considered a player:

Lexbe
Lexbe.com is a web-based case analysis and evidence management application. Case analysis features include fact and issue analysis, case calendaring, tracking of case participants, deposition analysis, case research, fact tracking and dynamic chronology and timeline generation. Document management features include full-text search, automatic optical character recognition (OCR) of PDF files, document sorting, retrieval and repository, native file review, metadata analysis, document coding, document encryption and off-line access. Lexbe.com is offered on a ASP software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis, so users can access the Lexbe Online application from any web-based computer without the need to install or maintain software. Lexbe.com is available starting at $79/month, with no set-up, cancellation fees or individual user license fees. A thirty-day free trial and online web demos are available at http://www.lexbe.com/.

ImageDepot
ImageDepot, based in Houston, Texas, is an emerging true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based Online Review Tool (ORT) that provides all of the rich features and advanced functionality expected from today's ORT's without all the infrastructure or associated costs of maintaining your own system. ImageDepot is available on a pay-for-what-you-use monthly subscription plan with no software or hardware to purchase and no user fees. Click here to access an online Video overview of ImageDepot. More information is available on their website at http://www.imagedepot.com/.

Ringtail
Ringtail Legal from FTI is an easy-to-use litigation document management platform. Offering the industry's best document review tool, Ringtail Legal offers flexible data management and electronic evidence discovery via an intuitive web interface, which provides geographically dispersed legal teams with instant access to every relevant case file. Built on Microsoft SQL Server for scalability, the software solution can handle hundreds of users at once and sort through thousands of cases and millions of documents quickly and accurately. The secure technology allows collaboration using a regular web browser rather than a cumbersome installed program or Citrix access. Easy to customize, the application conforms to the unique requirements of each case. Users also have the ability to add fields to the SQL data model and change the workflow without the need for dedicated – and costly – SQL talent. Ringtail Legal may be installed directly or hosted on the FTI Tier 4 ASP. Either way, users retain complete ownership of attorney work product. Ringtail Legal provides a comprehensive suite of features, including the ability to review native documents using the application that created them, saving the expense of creating thousands of TIFFs. And the product integrates with a wide variety of leading litigation support technologies, including Attenex, SER, dtSearch and CaseMap. More information is available on thier website at http://www.ftiringtail.com/web/.

iConnet Development, LLC
iCONECT Development, LLC is a world leader in litigation support and collaboration software, with products used by law firms, corporate legal departments, Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, and medical firms. Powered by Oracle technology, iCONECT’s LAN, Web, and Offline solutions enable more than 50,000 end users to review and manage electronic and document discovery from anywhere in the world for effective collaboration with outside counsel, branch offices, and consultants. Past awards include #1 Online Document Repository (AmLaw Tech Survey), #1 Litigation Support Software (Law Technology News Awards), and #1 Web-Based Litigation Software (AmLaw Tech Survey). More information is available on thier website at: http://www.iconect.com/.

CaseCentral
CaseCentral delivers on-demand discovery lifecycle management platforms to corporations and law firms. CaseCentral’s software is backed by responsive, litigation-savvy strategic consulting, process, and support services. CaseCentral empowers customers to support a repeatable business process for litigation and regulatory response—reducing risk and business disruption, boosting productivity, and controlling costs. Founded in 1994, CaseCentral is headquartered in San Francisco, California and maintains sales and support offices in New York City and Washington DC. CaseCentral’s client list numbers over 1,100 law firms and corporations and includes 81 of the top 100 U.S. law firms. CaseCentral is consistently chosen to handle many of the most complex and highly visible litigation projects in the nation. For more information, call 1.800.714.2727 or visit http://www.casecentral.com/.

MessageOne
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, MessageOne is the leading provider of managed services for email management, archiving and business continuity. For enterprise email and wireless messaging systems, the company’s Email Management Services (EMS™) provides comprehensive email archiving, storage management and e-Discovery with the total continuity, recovery, and security protection only available from a managed service. In addition, MessageOne’s AlertFind™ provides guaranteed emergency notification and escalation to help companies protect their employees during any crisis or disaster. Millions of users around the world depend on MessageOne for its award-winning managed services. More information is available on their website at http://www.messageone.com/.

Advologix.Com® LLC
Advologix.Com® LLC, based in Houston, Texas develops and sells AdvologixPM™, the world’s first comprehensive web-based Law Practice Management Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) suite for law firms of all sizes. For more information or to sign up for a free trial evaluation of AdvologixPM please visit http://www.advologixpm.com/.

RocketMatter
Rocket Matter, LLC is a Florida-based technology company providing premier, web-based software for the legal services industry. Rocket Matter, in Beta since November 2007, exemplifies our simple, imaginative, Software as a Service (SaaS) approach to developing a superior software experience. RocketMatter provides increased security, business continuity, decreased technology infrastructure and maintenance, and improved ROI for IT expenses for solo and small firms. Our philosophy is predicated on pairing intuitive, tailored, well-designed software with exceptional customer service. Ubiquity is important in our software design: Our offerings work on Linux, Mac, Windows, as well as most on mobile devices. Client interaction is essential to our process; we involve our customers early and often in the design process. More information is available on their website at: http://www.rocketmatter.com/.

Note to SaaS Vendors
If your SaaS legal solution is not listed and you would like me to review it and list in my next posting, please contact me at mailto:ediscoveryconsultant@gmail.com

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1 Comments:

At March 27, 2008 at 1:30 PM , Blogger Rick Dales said...

First of all, great post – a really good explanation of where the SaaS market is today and where it’s likely headed, particularly in terms of the litigation market.

At Fortiva (a SaaS email archiving provider), we’re definitely seeing momentum in this area. Thanks to the changes to FRCP, a lot more organizations are looking for ways to pro-actively address ESI for e-discovery – but many of these companies simply don’t have the in-house IT resources to manage the constantly-growing data set that’s involved. SaaS is an obvious solution, especially since, as you mentioned, the security issues have largely been resolved (at Fortiva, we’ve taken security even further than other SaaS vendors with our DoubleBlind Encryption - it ensures that not even our own staff can access the content of our customer’s data).

SaaS can also provide significant cost savings by allowing businesses to share infrastructure/backend resources. Again, at Fortiva, we launched a product offering this year (SmartStore - www.fortiva.com/smartstore) that allows businesses to centrally archive all email, enforce policies and litigation holds, perform enterprise search and easily conduct early case assessment, all for the same or less than the cost of storing and managing the data on enterprise storage in-house. This is a cost-effective way to help organizations ensure litigation readiness without adding IT resources in-house.

 

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