In our recent post on the winners and losers in the eDiscovery software market, we called out Access Data for seemingly abandoning the desktop license market. That one comment prompted quite a few spirited responses from a number of software providers who wanted to make sure that eDJ was clear that they were still focused on the sale of traditional desktop license software. First and foremost was the Access Data product management team who were happy to dive into their Summation Express product (more on that below) as proof that they were committed to their stand alone customer base. Sherpa Software stepped up to tell us that their primary customer base has always been corporate and law firm IT departments who need a simple solution for search, processing and export of email and native files that can be run from a desktop or workstation. I really appreciated Rich Ruyle’s point about why IPRO continued to develop an enterprise and desktop version of their Eclipse product. The IPRO enterprise version is based on a relational database while the desktop version uses IPRO’s proprietary flat file database. It is clear to the eDJ Group that the market for desktop discovery software is strong and vital.
Coming back to the all new Summation product line, AccessData’s Summation Express is currently based on the free MS SQL Express and meant to be installed on a laptop, desktop or workstation. It shares the ‘web’ GUI with Summation Pro with a limit of 1-3 user seats and 2 million total records across all cases. We were assured that the AccessData development team worked hard on the desktop version to address concerns about paralegal’s having to ‘check, pack and blaze’ a real relational database. The message was “you don’t have to be a DBA to own Summation Express”. eDJ will actively seek out customers and keep you informed on real world experiences. AccessData’s shift to a user seat (vs. concurrent user) license has not been popular, but is understandable in the broader context of the competitive landscape. Customer’s liked the flexibility of concurrent seats, but eDj has not heard of any comparable products with concurrent seat licensing models. A plain language explanation is that you buy user seats (in addition to the Admin account) and the Admin can change the user names associated with thos seats as needed. Not quite concurrent users, but definitely not the ‘per named user’ monthly charge that we see in most hosting agreements. Small firms who have not upgraded hardware to 64-bit Windows 7 will need to contact AccessData support for installation instructions. The 32-bit installation works, but takes some configuration tweaks that should be addressed in an updated installer. Current supported versions of Summation Express are Windows XP 32-bit and Windows 7 32/64-bit.
In contrast to AccessData scaling down an enterprise product, Sherpa made it clear to eDJ that their products have always been architected for stand alone installation and usage. I’ve run into Discovery Attender in many corporate and law firm discovery tool kits over the years. The product has grown from a simple search, collection and extraction tool to much broader culling and processing application at a price point well under the typical corporate eDiscovery platform budget. Not every corporation needs a multi-user eDiscovery appliance or client-server solution. Sherpa’s latest offering is the subscription based Report Attender that performs inventory, collection profile analysis and statistical reports.
The important take away is that the desktop eDiscovery software market is alive and well. The last two years have seen increasing acquisitions and consolidation in the eDiscovery market. All the focus on creating the ultimate eDiscovery platform for corporate enterprise environments has obscured the healthy crop of updated and new offerings for the small and medium business (SMB) customer. I look forward to the wave of emails saying, “We do desktop as well!” This is exactly why we are expanding the new eDJ Matrix to cover architecture and purchasing methods so that you can keep up with your favorite technologies.