This year’s International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference was laid back and casual compared to the hectic buzz of Legal Tech New York. I heard good things about the session speakers and content that included lively debate and hard questions from the audience when panelists gave vague or fluff answers. I will build in more time to attend the sessions and walk the exhibit hall next year, part of my ‘lessons learned’ after three days of non-stop briefings. Orange is still the ‘power color’ for booths, same as it was for LTNY. A common theme in provider messages and booths was structured workflow to connect the eDiscovery lifecycle phases. In part, this is a result of broader feature coverage that is slowly converting point products to something approaching the mythical ‘eDiscovery Platform’ that we have been hearing about for years. Offerings seem to be maturing and starting to meet the need for a guided process that overlays simple functionality. About half of the booths were actual eDiscovery providers while the rest covered everything from information management, video conferencing, copiers and much more. So here are my short takes from selected briefings in no particular order:
Kroll Ontrack – Another good example of a major market player seeking to transform their brand from traditional EDD services to cloud delivered solutions. I was pleased to learn about their sales screening process on their Verve offering to reduce the risks posed by Do It Yourself (DIY) technology in the hands of eDiscovery neophytes or those with insufficient staff.
PowerSearch – This small Canadian newcomer to the eDiscovery market brings an innovative consumption model (number of items produced) and a surprisingly wide feature coverage. The name gives that impression of a pure search index like dtSearch or Isys. PowerSearch actually is better classified as an ECA tool with connectors such as IMAP, MAPI, Twitter as well as analytics. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on their channel growth.
FTI Technology – Continued platform growth with mature multi-matter management that reflects the needs of their global enterprise customer base. FTI continues to develop specialized offerings that merge analytics and services outside of the traditional processing and review boxes. FTI’s sheer scale allows them to have teams focused on applying analytics to deposition and trial support, definitely outside of the typical EDD provider’s comfort zone.
Catalyst – While many providers talk about making their technology ‘cloud ready’, I like hearing from providers who have done their homework on global cloud storage options such as Amazon’s S3. There is a lot of interest in cloud based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and after extensive research and analysis Catalyst chose to create their own grid processing/storage data center to ensure real 24/7 availability and security at a cost effective price point. The Catalyst team has always seemed to march to their own development drummer, eschewing common EDD platform building blocks such as dtSearch and Content Analyst. Instead, they have chosen the larger investment in Mark Logics XML search index [GAB] which can handle Boolean searches of up to 1.5 million characters and is able to scale to “big data” cases of 30 TBs or more.
X1 Discovery – In contrast to Catalyst, X1 has bet that global customers will not want to force centralization and instead adopt enterprise search and collection capabilities that deploy where their data resides. X1 Rapid Discovery can be installed on demand throughout the enterprise or through the Amazon Web Services Solution Provider program for global remote search capabilities. Cloud solutions seem to be more applicable to search, investigation and ECA usage cases for early adopters as compared to the more conservative hosting environments favored by many review platforms.
Mindseye – The TunnelVision processing software has matured over the last three years and is adding analytics from Content Analyst to their winter release. This will require a volume based license to cover the filtered data that you run CA on, but their unlimited volume subscription license will still give you all-you-can-process consumption for search, filtering and reporting. CA is certainly becoming one of the more commonly OEM’d analytics technologies. One has to wonder how these relationships would fare if CA were acquired?
Guidance – Continues to make integration progress in their corporate enterprise to cloud strategy that connects EnCase eDiscovery behind the firewall with cases on CaseCentral in their secure hosted review platform. Guidance recently launched EnCase® App Central with their software development kit (SDK) to create an online repository of EnScript apps for users and developers.
HP/Autonomy –The Autonomy product management team seems to be making progress in consolidating their eDiscovery products into a consumable platform. We have wondered how Autonomy would handle the product overlap from its many acquisitions. The consolidated Autonomy eDiscovery Appliance Software and Private Cloud Service integrates the functionality of the Introspect, Stratify and Investigator products into a new dynamic dashboard. The search and review interfaces incorporate meaning based predictive recommendations without additional fees or indexes. Overall, the fresh interface and lower adoption threshold of this appliance/cloud offering may help HP bring those numbers back up.
iConect – XERA who? Launched earlier this year, XERA is iConect’s new HTML5 based review platform designed to look, feel and function more like Facebook than a document review grid. It will take me some time to adjust to the new name/brand, but it is easy to see why this is a completely new offering. XERA is designed to support for the international attorneys and litigation support personnel working on the road or remotely. HTML5 means tablet and browser compatibility without clunky remote connections. The flexible workflow tiles and API mean easier integration with collection and processing systems. Predictive coding and a new viewer are on the road map.
Recommind – Just before the show, Recommind announced a new ‘Axcelerate Unlimited’ flat annual subscription for hosted review and analysis software starting at $10,000/month. There is an unlimited data option, and all pricing levels include ingestion, processing, predictive analytics, production, hosting, project management and – importantly – predictive coding, for unlimited cases within that volume. Remember, consumers must still ship or upload collections to Recommind to be indexed. There is an alternative subscription option for Recommind’s existing Axcelerate On-Demand hosting. It is interesting to see the cloud consumption model taking the spotlight for a company with so much on-premise functionality.