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2012 Early Case Assessment Buyer's Guide

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2012 Early Case Assessment Buyer's Guide

This past week DCIG published the 2012 Early Case Assessment Buyer's Guide.  As the lead analyst on this guide, I will be posting my thoughts and comments about the development of the guide and the results over the next couple of weeks.

Please note that you can register for an August 9, 2012 Webinar where I will talk about how we developed the guide and will also demonstrate the online interactive version of the guide.  Click Here to register.

First of all, I wanted to thank Joshua Konkle from DCIG for inviting me to participate in the development of this guide.  Joshua and I spent hundreds of hours talking with Early Case Assessment (ECA) users to gather input to develop the survey questions and ranking criteria.  We then spend on told hours with the product managers from the vendors covered in the guide, processing the results and writing the report.  It was a very educational yet rewarding  exercise that I look forward to repeating it every12 months for years to come.

Beyond the ECA platform rankings, there is a lot of very valuable information in this guide in regards to the state of the eDiscovery market.  However, I can't comment on all of it at one time,.  Therefore, in this initial post, I will talk about some of the thought that went into developing the survey, the ranking criteria and release the list of the ECA tools in order of ranking.

Historically, technology industry reports have taken into consideration vendor size based on revenue and installed based and  other criteria that Joshua and I considered very subjective such as feedback from customers.   DCIG has historically attempted to be very objective in the development of its other buyers guides.  I like to call this the Dragnet approach as they have been steadfast to collect "just the facts".  As such, Joshua and I followed a similar philosophy  with the 2012 ECA Buyer's Guide.  We only wanted to collect verify and report on the facts of what these ECA tools could do and didn't take into consideration what customers thought or how much revenue the vendor generated.

In addition, DCIG has also historically taken a very bold approach of actually ranking the platforms in their guides as opposed to lumping them into conceptual categories that provide little to no value to perspective buyers. Joshua and I followed the same strategy with the 2012 ECA Buyer's Guide.  And, although we did place ECA platforms into categories such as Recommended, Excellent, Good and Basic, we did in fact rank the platforms from 1-29.  As a side not, the fact that we actually ranked the ECA tools provided for some interesting and frank discussions with many of the vendors that participated.  I plan to comment on some of these rankings in later posts.  However, as a teaser, potential buyers need to note that just because a particular ECA tool was ranked very low doesn't mean that it wouldn't be a perfect for your specific ECA requirements.  That's the beauty of the guide and more specifically the value of the Interactive Buyer's Guide (IBG) as it enables users to analyze all 29 ECA tools based on any of the 300 data point and choose those ECA tools that meet their specific criteria.  Please note that I will be talking about the IBG at length in future Blog posts and will also be demonstrating the IBG in multiple webinars over the next month.

Based on our personal experiences with ECA tools and view of where the ECA is going along with discussions with ECA users and a cross section of the ECA tool vendors, Joshua and I placed a heightened focus on ECA tools with the following features delivered as an integrated holistic platform:
  • Data Mapping
  • Analysis of enterprise ESI before collections
  • Real-time collection of enterprise ESI
  • Integration with enterprise archiving systems
  • Ability to process social media ESI
  • Legal Hold
  • Workflow management
  • Project management
  • Next generation search
  • First Pass Review
  • Next generation user interface
  • Information dashboard
  • SaaS delivery option

Based on how the participating ECA vendors answered the survey and taking into consideration these criteria, Joshua and I ranked the ECA tools for the 2012 ECA Buyer's Guide as follows:
  1. Guidance Software EnCase eDiscovery
  2. Exterro Fusion eDiscovery
  3. ZyLAB eDiscovery Bundle
  4. Orcatec Document Decisioning Suite
  5. GGO DigitalWarRoom
  6. Symantec Clearwell
  7. Autonomy Investigator and Early Case Assessment (ECA)
  8. StoredIQ DiscoveryIQ
  9. NextPoint Discovery Cloud
  10. NUIX Nuix Enterprise Discovery
  11. Kroll Ontrack Ontrack Inview
  12. EMC SourceOne
  13. Kroll Ontrack Verve Review
  14. AccessData Group AD eDiscovery
  15. Rational Retention Central Retention Server (CRS)
  16. Kroll Ontrack Ontrack Advanceview
  17. Digital Reef Advanced ECA 4.0
  18. Equivalent Data NeddleFinder
  19. AccessData Group ECA product (AD ECA)
  20. Orange Legal Technologies OneO
  21. Kroll Ontrack Verve EDA
  22. Recommind Axcelerate ECA and Collection
  23. X1 Discovery X1 Rapid Discovery; X1 Social Discovery
  24. InterLegis, Inc. Discovery360
  25. AccessData Group Summation
  26. kCura Relativity
  27. Venio Systems Venio FPR
  28. Orange Legal Technologies Purple Box
  29. Equivio Equivio Zoom

Please note that users can download a full copy of the 2012 ECA Buyers Guide at:

A couple of things to keep in mind in regards to this ranking:
  • These rankings are based upon our view of  features that are important in the ECA market which may or may not match your view of what's important.
  • In many cases the difference in the overall points that separate our rankings over 5 to 10 spots may be as few as 5 to 10 points.  And, these points could represent connections to data types or support for specific kinds of search technology (e.g. conceptual search vs. keyword) that may not be important to your organization.
  • It is also possible that the ECA tools represented in this guide have released major updates that were not reflected in the final rankings. Joshua and I had to set a cut-off date and unfortunately some of these updates occurred after the cut-off.  As an example, Kroll Ontrack has made some major enhancements to its ECA product line in the just the last 60 days.
  • There are some very  impressive ECA tools such as Equivio Zoom, Venio FPR, X1 Rapid Discovery  and OneO that are ranked lower in the guide (because they are more focused in their approach to ECA) but in fact may be the perfect solution to your specific requirements.  As an example, I just recently ranked Equivio Zoom as one of the Top Five eDiscovery Technologies to watch in the second half of 2012.

Our mission with the inaugural Early Case Assessment Buyers’ Guide was to provide users with a valuable and ongoing source of objective and unbiased knowledge to compare the features and functionality of ECA software.  We included vendors regardless of size or installed base and we went to great lengths to be as objective as possible in the scoring and ranking of the ECA software reviewed in this Guide.  If anyone has any questions and or comments about this guide I would encourage you to contact me or Joshua as we would be more than happy to discuss our approach and the results.

In my next post, I will go into  more detail regarding the thoughts behind our criteria and rankings.

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