Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2011-01-07 11:14:18  As we head into “LegalTech season,” I would normally expect some hyperbole around not-so-well defined terms like “ECA” or “the cloud.”  And while there is certain to be some marketing hype around the show, it feels like this year will feature more pragmatism.  I expect to see more messaging around actual benefits that solutions have delivered and less “generic” messaging about how many additional features a platform or service has implemented.I haven’t yet done many pre-LegalTech briefings, but I have come up with a list of things that I expect to see at the show.  I’ll put them out there now and we’ll see how right (or wrong) I am:

  • Beginning of the suite versus best-of-breed battle.  A decade ago, the enterprise content management (ECM) market went through a suite versus point solution battle that saw virtually all best-of-breed products (e.g. document management, web content management, digital asset management) acquired by the software giants and put into broader ECM suites that promised simpler and lower cost management.  There was no clear winner in this battle.  Yes, the software giants consolidated the market, but that only served to leave real innovation to pure-play vendors like the eDiscovery vendors of today.  Now, the dawn of the next wave of consolidation is upon us.  Companies like AccessData, Autonomy, and IBM already have suites of offerings that span most or all of the EDRM.  Look for these providers to push both the suite approach and best-of-breed approach depending upon what a given prospect has in place.
  • More messaging around information governance.  While the eDiscovery market is not yet mature, the bleeding edge thinkers are already looking beyond eDiscovery to broader information governance.  The suite vendors are moving in this direction, as are some of the pure-play vendors.  Watch for eDiscovery processing software vendors like EMC/Kazeon, Digital Reef, and StoredIQ, to show use-cases for better managing more and more information sources for purposes beyond eDiscovery (e.g. storage cost reduction or retention management).
  • A focus on specific customer segments.  To date, corporation customers have been the jewels in solution providers’ crowns.  The thinking is that such customers have a lot of money to spend and are stable sources of revenue.  For many vendors, though, the revenue is coming from law firms.  We’ve talked about the shifting model of law firms before and we all know that some of the leading eDiscovery thinking is happening at the law firm level.  I expect that vendors will have some very targeted messaging aimed at all types of customer, whether corporate or law firm.  That will produce some interesting sales and marketing challenges for the vendors, but the reality is that they need to chase the money.  If the money in the short-term is with law firms, there is no choice than to go after it (even if it spreads a salesforce somewhat thin).
  • More case studies.  Vendors have thrown down the gauntlet on scale and performance numbers.  There’s only so much rhetoric that will be tolerated before the market will demand real examples.  There does seem to be more willingness to talk on the part of large corporations (see the Home Depot webinar on the Clearwell site).  Hell, if I were at a large corporation, I’d be willing to talk – vendors offer major perks in return for references, especially public ones.  If case studies are a dominant theme at LegalTech, I will be happy because it means our market is taking a major step forward.

We’re less than a month away from LegalTech and I’m excited to see if my predictions come true.  Hope to see you there.

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