Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2017-05-01 20:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

Adapting a legal hold platform for a corporate client got me thinking about how Barry Murphy and the eDJ analyst team struggled with the definition of an ‘eDiscovery Platform’ for our eDJ Matrix. Eventually we made a Solomonian judgment and created two platform categories covering key upstream (Corporate) and downstream (Law Firm) functions. Arguably, the consolidation of eDiscovery point products from sequential silos to integrated platforms started when Summation iBlaze added processing and early timeline/matter management features. As much as we wanted those multidirectional arrows on the EDRM diagram to actually reflect an integrated lifecycle and technology, eDiscovery still is a reactive, single use fire drill for far too large a portion of the market. But this is slowly changing. Microsoft and enterprise archives now support real preservation in place with accurate (though limited) retrieval search. Since the 2008 recession, smart serial corporate litigants have fought to take control of their eDiscovery spend and manage their own matters, holds, collections and everything else up to the actual review. The long term eDiscovery nirvana is preservation through production in place from a single interface. We are not there yet. But we know that Microsoft is head there and will deliver basic functionality at a relatively low subscription rate. So why do I think that Legal Hold Notification may be the key to eventually owning the eDiscovery lifecycle?

I believe the key is owning the attorney interface experience from the first moment that discovery is seriously considered. This can be within a matter management platform, but the vast majority of legal ‘matters’ never really start down the discovery path. Conservative corporate counsel may issue legal holds for every demand letter, but I am sticking with my ‘in the trenches’ perspective that discovery starts with the preservation threshold decision. Thus my thought balloon that the system that manages all of your legal holds will eventually own the downstream lifecycle. Exterro and Zapproved have steadily added connectors, collection and processing modules to their legal hold platforms.

“But legal hold notification is easy! Everyone has it bolted on already!”

I hear you. Checking the RFP box is not the same thing as a mature, full featured solution. Clearwell was fantastic at adding basic features in blindingly fast development cycles to meet RFP requirements. That sold a lot of appliances to reactive buyers who did not take the time to demo for stakeholders or bring in an expert for the bake off. Where are they now?

The legal technology market is incredibly ‘sticky’. No one likes to change software after they have invested in training, workflow and implementation. I still run into unsupported CT Summation iBlaze instances when doing assessments. So as long as the Legal Hold platforms can expand downstream with mature functionality, they have an advantage over the review platforms trying to swim upstream. What do you think?

Stay skeptical my friends!

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients. His active research topics include analytics, 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.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment. Greg is no longer a journalists and all perspectives are based on best 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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