Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2017-11-05 19:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

How to describe talking shop with CEO Andrew Sieja, Shawn Gaines and Jacque Flarherty after the team has spent days hosting two thousand peers and customers? Frenetic comes to mind.  Our briefing topic hopped faster than a sexaholic swiping right on Tinder (see Andrew’s hysterical keynote malapropism below). I always enjoy these meetings and since I already caught you up after my ILTA briefing, we focused on what made Relativity Fest different from LTNY and the traditional trade shows.

The roughly 2,000 attendees were split between partners and customers, but EVERYONE there depended on Relativity for some part of their eDiscovery. User conferences large and small may lack ‘diversity’, but the vast majority of the 168 sessions seemed to focus on the practicalities of DOING eDiscovery rather than ‘blue sky’ panels of talking heads SELLING eDiscovery in the guise of best practice. As a former talking head and recovering ‘speaker for hire’, I can tell when marketing execs have scripted panel slides and topics to showcase their key sales take away points. The RF2017 sessions that I attended, ghosted thru or just skimmed downloaded slide decks seemed remarkably free of product/service placement (excepting those in the product track of course). Ease dropping on hall conversations or just playing reporter found most folks more interesting in solving problems than trading resumes or disparaging the latest bargain basement lowest $/GB provider. What a refreshing change from the crowded tense whispers of the NY Hilton exhibit hall. Maybe taking two years to build a house and return solo consultancy has just given me a better attitude to go with the tan. Sufficient to say that I enjoyed everything but the Chicago weather (cold/rainy) and public transit system (my fault for staying with offsite friends).

Enjoy my ad-hoc notes and eDJ comments below. Don’t be surprised if the Relativity team sends me clarifications, corrections or even just comments to be inserted. Always verify before you rely on anything from the blogosphere. 

Monday Keynote

  • Standing room only
  • 90 minute keynote – exhausting to watch team keep the energy high for that long
  • Fashion note – Andrew looked a LOT more comfortable in his trademark t-shirt and ball cap.
  • Review: screen alerts on hidden content
  • Analytics goals
    • Flexible, simple visualizations and diverse feature set
  • Outlined the Relativity Analytics consumption models
    • Ala cart, hosted and ‘all you can eat’
    • 50% customers on unlimited analytics (all you can eat) basis
  • 2017 Relativity metrics –
    • 18.3B documents ingested this year/13,418 organizations/126 channel partners/more than 97B files in Relativity with 5.3M GB of data added this year
  • 2018 Road map
    • Analytics support for German and Chinese email headers
    • Dial visualization – interactive cluster navigation
    • Active learning –
      • Eliminate large training review batches
      • Realtime feedback
      • fast, simple training start
      • Tier the most responsive docs
      • Use text of external case summary, issue list, etc. to jump start the review
      • eDJ – Relativity seems to take a page from Microsoft’s innovation strategy. They don’t try to be first to market with a new feature. Instead, they listen to customers, channel and trends before implementing hot components on their core platform. I have been first to market with too many great companies that spent all our time in the ‘educational sale’.
    • New transcript management to replace current module. Andrew, “Existing tools suck. We heard you.”
    • Customer encryption key lock box to manage Relativity support access
    • Two factor authentication mobile app to improve adoption rate of proper security protocols and protect client data.
      • eDJ – Is the real motive to stop customers sharing seats?
        • Relativity response – The mobile app is part of their recent security obsession after getting ISO certified.
    • Relativity Mobile app – eliminate sent copies of documents and enable true collaboration
    • Cross instance connections for single interface experience
      • Shared user identities across on-prem, hosted and R1
      • Instance trust for secured, shared workspaces
      • Relativity Integration Points for one click data transfer
        • eDJ – All of this sounds great for early adopters on unlimited volume licenses, but it just multiplies your data volumes and cost. Where is true Single Instance Storage and REAL shared data/collections?

  • Drinker Biddle/Bennett Borden – develop “minority report” compliance monitoring tool on Relativity platform. Firm converted from other analytics engines to adopt Relativity
    • eDJ – Bennett is the epitome of the analytics power user. His teams have run the same matters through multiple engines.
  • RelativityOne launched in Feb 2017. 14 customers on R1 so far (though hosted/channel partners always make instances hard to count).
    • R1 is transition to true SaaS delivery platform
    • JND walked out of 2016 keynote over R1 announcement. After research, they adopted R1 to get ahead of competition.
      • 400M docs, 108 workspaces, 90 day migration
      • eDJ – Mostly in one big pharma matter based on slides
      • Sept 2017 JND released Layer Cake analytics workflow and reporting module
    • eDJ – Why has channel not dropped their local hosting data centers for R1 en mass?
  • FTI Consulting adopting R1 with 12 initial workspaces
    • Stress ability to respond to client demands to spin up workspaces on demand
    • Andrew, “They have already seen a tremendous amount of sex…Um, success!”
    • eDJ- What does this mean for FTI’s Ringtail platform? FTI already lost channel market share. Rumors that Relativity channel partners exploring alternative hosting platforms for dedicated managed service prospects decoupled from volume license fees.
  • R1 vs. hosted channel partners
    • eDJ – Seems to be a big push to reassure partners that customers still need their services
    • “Relativity is an expert tool for the experts”
    • “You will struggle with Relativity out of the box without a partner”
    • eDJ – This seems to contradict the simpler, faster R1 messaging?
      • Relativity response, “It’s simpler, faster for the end user. And, in all fairness, it’s simpler and faster for the admin, but you wouldn’t really call what an admin does in Relativity “easy,” if that makes sense.”

JND Meeting – Scott Lombard

  • Focusing on the value add consulting rather than commoditized volume based revenue
  • Start at the resolution/courtroom and work backwards for fastest solution
  • Get at the 10% unknown by getting past the noise of the 90% of the known
  • Pre-process analysis to cull from collection forward
  • Layer Cake merged multiple dashboards into a Relativity app to automate/enhance process

An Analytics Cookbook for Complex Cases – Session

  • Tackling giant volume productions from prior SEC matters/investigations
  • Tiering filters/analytic result sets – finding the intersections between:
    • Keywords
    • Key time frames
    • Players
    • TAR rules/sets
  • Misspellings and abbreviations were a serious challenge with mobile and chat communications
  • Developed a biz talk taxonomy to understand unique language
  • Multinational audio was too challenging for AI. Used other documents to filter for time/players and then had to manually listen to calls

Microsoft Office 365 + Relativity = Better Data Governance – Session

eDJ – Great session packed with hard information and expertise for O365 customers/clients

  • See MSFT Ingnite 2017 recorded presentation for 2017 MSFT eDiscovery workflow
  • 88% of Fortune 500 on or evaluating O365
  • MSFT is focused on eDiscovery in place, ‘not owning the eDiscovery lifecycle’.
    • Custodial management
    • Hold Notifications
      • See MSFT Ignite 2017 recorded presentation for new eDiscovery features under development. Legal hold notices and new hold GUI start around 20 minutes in.
  • Enhanced processing of external collections including OCR, PSTs
    • eDJ – uploading non-O365 data for processing/analysis using Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer and links to process into matter. Roughly 30 min into new features presentation.
  • Adhoc search and tagging to support investigations
  • MSFT will rely on partners like Relativity for full review and productions
  • Roadmap
    • Collect data from non-O365 data sources
    • Granular security permissions to support external access workflows
    • GDPR driven multitenant support to enable regional privacy/data transport compliance for global customers
    • Relativity integration with O365
      • E5 customers with advanced eDiscovery can export directly from Equivio matters to R1
      • Use RIP to map metadata fields
      • R1 can place legal holds in O365 on an item or mailbox level
      • Ongoing process of re-architecture in Office 365 to unify different data sources for universal FAST index search and centralized storage/retrieval.
      • Yammer search being tested
      • eDJ – Good to hear because legacy global export process was unwieldy and problematic. Integrations take time.
      • User action audit trail data is only available for 90 days in the audit logs
        • eDJ – Customers requiring detailed hold trail or investigation capabilities can set up automated downloads of the log files, which can be parsed to minimize storage impact.
      • The SharePoint export format is being revised
        • eDJ – Current Compliance Center format has been unusable for clients. The E5 advanced export format for SharePoint results does not modify file names the same way.

Validating Analytics with Magic and Dragons Session

My last and favorite session was packed with fellow geeks until we had people sitting on the floor. Yes indeed, our presenters fed the text from Lords of the Rings, the Harry Potter series and Game of Thrones into Relativity and used analytics to look for parallels, common themes and prove their own fan story theories.

  • This was a true “no judgment zone” where the audience got to step out of our legal social straightjackets in favor of sorting hat TAR modeling
  • The text was parsed by word chunk sizes to get ‘documents’ for clustering and structured analysis. A useful technique for very large contracts or technical documents.
  • The team ran two different sets of indices that included/excluded the list of character names. This is a great technique to filter out all the player influence from your collections to see the actual language clusters. Without the names in the stop word list, they dominated the conceptual clusters and results.
  • They looked for overlap across books in clusters to predict relationships. eDJ – I can see application of this technique to investigations such as broker-dealer inside trading to look for communication patterns.
  • Keyword expansion on names gave nicknames and variations as well as interesting frequent terms. Actually generated lists of rank related terms and social player relations.
  • Use text sections directly into Concept Search. eDJ – Similar to using the review memo issue descriptions to find key docs.
  • Fun time using cross pivot table of characters vs. conceptual categories (latter from tagged clusters)
  • And for the GoT season 8 fan theory spoiler on the identity of the Valonqar from Cersei Lannister’s prophesy, my bet is on her brother Jaime after seeing the phrase snippets that clustering found. 

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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