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eDiscovery Trends and Predictions for 2011

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Monday, December 27, 2010

eDiscovery Trends and Predictions for 2011

I guess that the my “eDiscovery Trends and Predictions” have officially become an annual post when my 8 year daughter announces that Daddy is in his office again this holiday season writing about some boring computer and legal stuff that isn’t going to happen until next year.

So, without further ado, my eDiscovery Trends and Predictions for 2011 are as follows:

Further Consolidation of the eDiscovery Industry:  2010 was the year that the larger players in the eDiscovery market continued to acquire the smaller players.  Further, major Information technology providers began to realize that ediscovery was going to be the “next big thing” and therefore they began to figure out which technologies, service providers and vendors they were going to acquire.   We will see more of the same in 2011.

eDiscovery in Social Media will Mature:  Social Media in the form of popular applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Texting and other portable iPhone and Android type applications crossed the threshold of widespread use in 2010.  2011 will be the year that eDiscovery “begins” to catch up and integrates Social Media into collection technology and eDiscovery best practices.  Further, the courts will also begin to recognize the serious potential of electronic “smoking gun” evidence being communicated and housed in Social Media.  Please note that the court system has matured at an alarming rate in regards to the impact of social media.  However, there are still way too many in positions of power that still believe that Facebook and Twitter are something that their 13 year granddaughters use and not a place that actual serious evidence may reside.

The Proportionality Debate will Continue:  As the amount of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) has continued to increase at an accelerating rate, the cost of eDiscovery has had a chilling effect on access to the legal system.  More simply stated, in many cases the common man cannot afford the cost of litigation.  As such, proportionality in eDiscovery has become a hot topic of debate in regards to reducing the overall cost of litigation.  I believe that everyone should have equal access to the court systems.  However, I don’t believe that this should be achieved by restricting eDiscovery.  Technology is progressing at such an accelerating rate that the over cost of finding, collecting and analyzing all potentially pertinent data should continue to decrease. Therefore, I predict that in 2011, the Proportionality Debate will shift to a discussion about which technologies should be more main stream as opposed to “how much data is enough" to seem like we conducted a fair review of the evidence.

Predictive Coding will Emerge as More Mainstream: As an example of a technology that could have an effect on the Proportionality Debate, I predict that Predictive Coding or Categorization will emerge in 2011 as more mainstream.   The sometimes passionate debate will continue to rage on in regards to the viability of this technology and some will continue to argue that it just to difficult to understand how it works.  However, in the end, the algorithms are actually not that difficult to understand and the potential to reduce the overall cost of eDiscovery are so dramatic that it is a trend that cannot and will not be denied any longer.

eDiscovery will move to the Enterprise: This is a carry over from both 2009 and 2010.  However, it is a very important paradigm shift that will continue to re-defining the eDiscovery market in 2011 and therefore will continue to have a dramatic impact on vendors, service providers, consultants and the Information Technology (IT) departments of the enterprises that are taking on the eDiscovery task.

eDiscovery in the Cloud:  It will come as no surprise that I am going to predict that 2011 will see further migration of eDiscovery technology to the Cloud.  Stay tuned to my Blog for further developments and updates on this topic.

Additional Single Source End-to-end eDiscovery Offerings: It will also some as no surprise that I am going to predict that 2011 will see additional Single Source End-to-end eDiscovery platforms.  The market is beginning to realize that solutions that address a single component/requirement of the EDRM are too restricting and moving data between them or trying to integrate them is just too difficult and expensive.   Therefore, in 2011, I predict that we will see more vendors taking on the task of integration and offering Single Source End-to-end eDiscovery platforms in the form of appliances and in the Cloud.

eDiscovery Workflow:  Application workflow and process workflow has been an accepted component of the enterprise for many years.  Therefore, as eDiscovery moves to the Enterprise and becomes the responsibility of the IT department, eDiscovery workflow will emerge as a required component.

Self Provisioning eDiscovery:  As eDiscovery moves to the Cloud and into the Enterprise in 2011, I predict that the concept of flexible self provisioning will emerge as an end-user requirement.   Stay tuned to my blog in 2011 for additional thoughts and details on this topic.

Disruptive Pricing Models will Emerge in 2011:  The cost of eDiscovery is still way too high and much of the costs are still being driven by legacy pricing models that reward vendors and service providers based on the amount of data that is processed.  2010 saw some providers starting to buck this trend.  I predict that in 2011 the market is going to see some very disruptive pricing models that are finally going to bring eDiscovery costs in line with other like information technology processing costs.

eDiscovery will Become Part of GRC:  You have all heard me talk about this emerging trend over the past several years.  And therefore, I predict that in 2011 the enterprise will continue to understand that eDiscovery is actually just part of the larger requirement to provide systems and support for Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC).

I could continue my list.  However, it is the holidays and my 8 year wants to play “Just Dance 2”.  So, I hope that everyone enjoys my list of eDiscovery Trends and Predictions for 2011 and has a very a Happy New Year.

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