Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2016-03-20 20:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

My headline may be a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, but it is founded in years of creating ROI calculators for both clients and providers. Sales reps and marketing execs have run amuck with all too many of my well-intentioned spreadsheets in their quest to secure capex budget for their products or services. “If you don’t buy EasyButtonDiscovery, Greg says that you will go broke in 5 years!” Not going to happen*.  You are talking about Return on Investment (ROI) because someone has identified the cost of eDiscovery as a problem already. Mikki and I tend to get called in when a company has recently tried to respond to a savvy regulator, prosecutor or plaintiff who ‘rocked the boat’ by asking hard questions about their preservation and collection scoping process (or lack thereof). Suddenly doing eDiscovery ‘right’ when you have been coasting on pre-FRCP methods is expensive. You are already behind the eight ball with the requesting party that caught you with your procedural pants around your ankles. Now you may have to go beyond the standard of reasonable care to appease a distrustful magistrate.

So you have rung the vendor dinner bell by publishing RFI/RFP’s to ‘fix’ your process. The sales sharks start circling and subject you to ‘death by PowerPoint’ supported by ROI figures that promise millions in savings based on the cost of your current discovery bonfire. But would you really spend those millions on every case going forward? Doubtful. My main point here is that ROI projections into future costs must be tempered with common sense and limited to the very near future. Otherwise your ROI calculations become an example of Mark Twain’s phrase, “Lies, damned lies, and statics.” The same restraint must be applied to retrospective ROI assessments for ongoing maturity investments. It is too easy to pick a couple of ugly or unusual matters for a cost baseline that make you look like the savior of the legal department’s budget. Execs will quickly debunk such grandiose claims. Instead of abstract calculations based on overall matter counts, real demonstrable savings found in specific, active matters are a better approach. So beware sales reps bearing my old metrics calculators where you plug in your matters, volumes, rates, etc. Take your recent or current discovery problem cases and ask, what would it have cost if we had used this alternative process, provider or technology? That is ROI fact over fiction.

*Actually happened to a friend’s family company recently.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a ‘Good Karma’ call. His active research topics include analytics, SMB eDiscovery, mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365/2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

Blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment. eDJ consultants are not journalists and perspectives are based on public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? eDJ Group is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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