This year’s LegalTech New York was my favorite of the fourteen that I have attended so far. The first reason is that we (the eDJ team) went with a plan that included plenty of time to walk the exhibit halls and dedicated down time to write notes and decompress. I took my own advice for once and kept to the plan instead of trying to accommodate every last minute briefing request.
Next was the upbeat mood and sense of excitement. Don’t get me wrong…some providers are definitely struggling to adapt their offerings to this dynamic market. However, the majority of exhibitors and attendees I interviewed spoke of new implementations, increasing caseloads and a recognized need to add eDiscovery capabilities.
Last was the wealth of deep, mature conversations both on and off the panels. For once, it was not “eDiscovery 101″ over and over again. There is still a place for that educational cycle, but this year’s discussions went straight to real world challenges, options and best practices.
Now that we have the beta version of the eDiscoveryMatrix up, the eDJ team will be publishing our takeaways publicly in the Analyst Notes found on the Company and product profile pages which is available to eDiscoveryMatrix Platinum subscribers. My hot picks for this show are Nuix, Equivio Zoom, Exterro, FTI, Catalyst and Index Engines.
I noticed that MerlinOne has dropped out of the eDiscovery market and we are seeing significant challenges to the software giants who have made large eDiscovery acquisitions, namely HP/Autonomy and Symantec/Clearwell. Despite all of the headlines, poor earnings and talent loss, these giants could still turn around their portfolios. IBM’s recent acquisition of StoredIQ and the promotion of industry stalwart Jake Frazier may signal that Big Blue is ready to make some moves in this market.
My favorite session focused on the potential impact of the new eDiscovery capabilities of Exchange/SharePoint 2013 behind the firewall with Skip Walter and Microsoft’s eDiscovery project manager. The session was sponsored by Lighthouse eDiscovery and dove right into how corporations are bringing in preservation, collection and some processing/culling capabilities while still partnering for conversion, hosting and contract review capabilities. In Microsoft’s case, they have replaced their use of Clearwell in favor of their new eDiscovery Center in SharePoint. In not so delicate software terms, Microsoft is ‘eating their own dog food’. I have been covering Microsoft and Google’s new eDiscovery functionality closely for several large clients and I should be bringing you some in depth perspective soon.
My time walking the exhibit hall floors revealed several trends:
- White is the new orange (power color) – I saw a lot of light, airy booths with large expanses of white carpet, comfy chairs and space as compared to earlier years
- Web platforms providing mobile app interfaces
- Forensics seems to be phasing out – I was looking to spend some time with the smaller mobile device discovery players, but only Cellebrite and Black Bag were well represented. The remaining players must have made the decision that CEIC was a better venue for their marketing budgets.
- TAR/PC Proliferation – Every service provider is now offering some flavor of technology assisted review/predictive coding. However, few if any could actually explain their methodology and approach. They all raved about the savings, but could not articulate the real process.
- TAR/PC Confusion – My experience with the service providers was replicated with the actual technology partners. Only their execs could communicate their methodology or general approach. The poor floor reps would frantically try to redirect me as soon as I asked for specifics. We badly need some clarity around this issue, luckily that was already on our research agenda. Expect some blogs and a research report soon.
- Still seeing new eDiscovery technology players popping up – Examples – Oasis, Fermata, Affirm Discovery. We should have them in the eDiscovery Matrix shortly.
- The eDJ Group Happy Hour was THE place to be. Obviously. Thanks to Today’s General Counsel Magazine and Institute for co-hosting the event with us.
Well that’s about it for my takeaways. I hope that you got as much out of the event as we did. 2013 looks to be a bright year in eDiscovery. The technology, processes and business integration are all maturing and starting to deliver the return on investment that we have been promising since the 2006 FRCP amendments. Did you see something at the show that you want to get our take on? Send me a note at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com or better yet, find them in the eDiscoveryMatrix and use the feedback bar.