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Monday, August 22, 2011

Updates and Comments from ILTA 2011

I am completing a consulting project report this week on information governance concpet search technnology in the cloud and therefore was not able to attend the International Legal Technology Association tradeshow in Nashville, Tennessee this week.  Therefore, I am going to have to live vicariously through the blog postings and Tweets of others.

The firts report of note came out this morning in an article on the Law Technology News site from Evan Koblentz titled, "E-Discovery Leads Products Charge at ILTA Conference."

First of all, it is no surprise that there is a flurry of product announcements at the ILTA Conference/Tradeshow.  It is obvoiusly a great place to announce new stuff.  However, havning run several large scale enterprise class software development teams, it always amazes me how the development cycles magically cooincide with the major tradeshows.  I guess that this observations fits into the category of sofware is done when management says that it is done?

Anyway, Evan based his product announcement list on the premise that these technology enhancements would reduce costs but then cited an article and comments by Katey Wood from industry analyst ESG that stated findings from an interview process of corporate lawyers indicated that, "Most corporate counsel, even among heavy litigants with large law firm bills, still don't track e-discovery expenses closely."  Wood's findings are somewhat different to conversations that I have had with C level execs from the global 2000 regarding the cost of information governance and eDiscovery.  Whereas the corporate lawyers didn't seem overly concerned about costs (i.e. not unusual for laywers in my experience), the C level execs (i.e. CIO, CEO and even GC's) were literally horrified by the billing practices of their outside counsel and the resulting high cost of eDiscovery.  They all believe that they can bring eDiscovery in house and reduce costs and also beleive that the cloud is going to be a major factor in not only reducing costs but in also increasing productivity. I would suspect that this gap in interest in cost is a cultural issue that the entperise is already aware of and will address on a case by case basis (if you know what I mean!!).

Now, on to the list of vendors and their respective announcements. First of all, its a great time to be a technology vendor in information governance and eDiscovery.  And, its an even greater time to be sitting on real cloud based technology (i.e. multi-tennant, etc.) and advanced next generation search.  As such, I would suggest that users investigate each of these vendors and their announcements based on their ablity to be relevant in the new paradigm of information governance and eDiscovery in the cloud and provide support for truly next generation search.  Given this criteria, some of these vendors will not make the cut.

Given all of this along with some other insight, my list of technology vendors to be watching over the remainder of 2011 and into 2012 would include (please note that some of these vendors are not on Evan's list because they are not making product announcement at ILTA 2011):

Nuix (actually announced a new version last week)
Orcatec (have integrated its components and completely redone its user interface)
Serviant (look for them to make some major noise in integrated predictive coding)
HP (the Autonomy acquisistion puts them on my list)
IBM (seem to be making some moves in pure eDiscovery)

In regards to the other issues that Evan covers in this article, I beleive that that ultimate winner in predictive coding (BTW - I really hate that term and would prefer to use machine learning), is going to be the vendor(s) that have a completely integrated solution through the entire lifecycle of either information governance or eDiscovery.  Please note that the major benefit of having an integrated solution is that it can support an agile itterative process as opposed to a waterfall approach that requires data to be moved from tool to tool.

Finally, in regards to the "big data" and culling issue, ESI will continue to increase at an accellerating rate and therefore Early Case Assessment (ECA) and culling will continue to be even more important.  And, directly to Wood's comment, I beleive that the enterprise and the CIO/CTO is going take the lead in regards to proactivly developing platforms that can provide the responsive information that is required for both information governance and eDiscovery.  And as such, outside counsel is going be religated back to being a law firm instead of an IT provider.

The full text of Evan article is as follows:

Early case assessment (ECA), predictive coding, and search/data review applications will dominate the e-discovery product announcements at this week's International Legal Technology Association trade show in Nashville, Tenn.

That speaks loudly to lawyers' cost concerns, which is a trend that won't go away, observed Katey Wood, e-discovery analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in New York.

Wood's team interviewed dozens of corporate lawyers about e-discovery trends. "As the data shows: Most corporate counsel, even among heavy litigants with large law firm bills, still don't track e-discovery expenses closely," she wrote in an e-mail to Law Technology News. "And when asked what measures they were asking of their law firms, they're more likely to request an alternate fee arrangement than to get into the particulars of technology approaches and results-oriented tracking of productivity and accuracy -- although increasingly they're doing that as well."

Wood added: "This puts the onus on the law firms to compete with each other on price. Even if they throw bodies at the problem with contract reviewers and [outsourcing], it's not possible for them to review all the data in some cases under court timeframes. Technology has to improve, and law firms have to evolve."
Software vendors recognize this trend. Following are major e-discovery product announcements expected this week.

AccessData will launch a standalone early case assessment product available as software or on a turnkey Dell server, along with a native file viewer option. A quality-control module will follow in the first half of 2012.

• CaseCentral will show version 5 of its e-discovery system with concept-based custom menus, visual and grid views, a process analytics dashboard, and a new file system connector.

Clearwell Systems is adding an import tool to bring in data from other review systems, support for unspecified increased system scalability, and a new e-discovery dashboard interface.

CloudNine Discovery, until recently Trial Solutions, will divulge its OnDemand 10.5 review system. The new version allows for virtualized servers and file viewer synchronization.

• Daegis will announce version 7 of its hosted application. It now has a merged code base from Deagis' older DocHunter and Unify Central Archive applications, custodian-based archiving, more reporting options, a time estimator, and iterative search.

• Exterro will introduce Fusion LawFirm. It's meant to be simpler to deploy than previous versions of Fusion and works in on-premise or hosted configurations.

• Integreon will announce its Seek & Collect 2.0 appliance, delayed from the company's original July launch plan.

• IPro Tech will preview eCapture 6.0 and Allegro 3.0. The review and early case assessment programs, respectively, have been through a series of recent updates.

Kcura is debuting two new products: Fact Manager, which is a matter management application, and Assisted Review, which performs predictive coding. The latter is noteworthy for its customization settings and the ability to run multiple projects in one workspace. It will get additional reporting tools in a future version.

• Lateral Data is unveiling connections between its Viewpoint software and popular end user applications. The new connectors work with Facebook, Google Gmail, Google Docs, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, Twitter, and Yahoo Mail.

LexisNexis will release an early case assessment program called Early Data Analyzer, available standalone or as a module for the Law PreDiscovery product. The company will also show its new Lexis for Microsoft Office integration.

• Orange Legal Technologies subsidiary PurpleBox system will announce an ECA appliance intended as a budget approach for enterprises.

SFL Data will announce LitAudit readiness assessment, SmartSetup to prepare for e-discovery, RemoteCollect, for acquiring data, Defensible SelfCollect, used to train data custodians and IT staff, and Accelerated Review for document assessment.

Wave Software will feature Trident Expert, a redesign of the original Trident. It has a unified dashboard, along with Exchange .OST support for analyzing large collections instead of individual mailboxes. Expert will get a programming interface this fall.

• ZyLAB is debuting the Data Sampler quality control software with a wizard process. Detailed logs of each sampling process are saved for comparison to past and future uses.

ESG's Wood commented individually on the ECA and review trends.

For ECA, "Clearwell's had no lack of competition, and now that they're squarely under Symantec and being integrated more into enterprise sales, their rivals are likely to go for broke in the indirect channel with service providers to gain traction there," Wood stated. "Companies like LexisNexis and IPro who've had great success in the legal sector already in indirect sales, and AccessData in forensics, want the large deal sizes of the enterprise, and now have their own ECA tools to court them (or partner service providers until the enterprise license sales come)."

On the review side, Wood wrote, "Competitors aren't backing down from the predictive coding challenge that Recommind introduced, because there's still great potential in the market. Whether you call it predictive coding or something else, review is going non-linear, search is getting more sophisticated, and the pricing pressure in the legal market is making law firms more receptive to new approaches that increase productivity."

In general, "There's still a question of where the puck is headed as far as the 'too much data' problem in this market," she added. And there are questions without clear answers, she noted. "Will enterprise customers keep getting their hands dirty with pre-culling before handing their data off to the law firm, or will law firms adopt faster methods of review for more sustainable pricing? Or both?"

Kcura CEO Andrew Sieja, asked about the same topic and recent industry consolidation, put it more succinctly: "This is going to be a journey, man. we're just getting going."

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