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Monday, October 10, 2011

Are Large IT Providers Dropping the Ball on eDiscovery in the Cloud?

Are the big Information Technology (IT) providers dropping the ball or are they just ignorant of the strategic and financial significance of providing eDiscovery as part of their overall cloud offerings?

It wasn't that many years ago that litigation technology was a niche market relegated to a very small group of vendors that provided very unique technology to perform very specific document identification, collection, processing and management to the litigation service providers and law firms.  And, as a general rule, these vendors very seldom set foot within the walls of the General Counsel's (GC's) office of the Global 2000 and never set foot within the walls of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Global 2000.

Likewise, up until this day, the big IT providers have all but ignored the litigation technology market and have never felt the need to set foot within the walls of the General Counsel's (GC's) office of the Global 2000.

However, with the convergence of information governance and eDiscovery along with the rapid advance of cloud computing, a multi-billion dollar market has emerged that can no longer be ignored. Information Governance and eDiscovery in the cloud should either be a standard component or an easy upgrade available from any serious Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and/or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider.

Over the past eighteen (18) months I have spent a great deal of time and resources discussing this opportunity with most of the major IT vendors.  And, to my amazement, information governance in the cloud is barely on their radar(s) and most of them haven't even thought about eDiscovery in the cloud.

The concept of eDiscovery in the cloud is not overly complex. As more and more Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is stored in the cloud, the percentage of ESI that may be pertinent to a law suite and therefore subject to collection, processing and review by computer forensic experts and lawyers, is also increasing.  Therefore, without eDiscovery actually residing in the cloud with the pertinent ESI, the process of collection is going to be manual (i.e. a technician entering the data center and retrieving data) with processing and document review completed at another location independent of the pertinent ESI.

It only makes sense that information governance and eDiscovery solutions reside in the cloud with the pertinent data so that collections, processing and document review don't require ESI to be moved.   I predict that the first IT provider that gets this approach is going to have a key competitive advantage over those that do not "get it".

As a followup to the Blog post, I will be reviewing several information governance and eDiscovery platforms that have the capability to support this approach.  Let me know if you would like to be included.