Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: . Published: 2012-02-17 09:08:26  Most of the conversation these days in the eDiscovery arena has been around Predictive Coding, the Cloud, and Big Data topics, so I wanted to bring us back to one of the basic issues in the eDiscovery marketplace…pricing.The Predictive Coding/Technology Assisted Review (PC-TAR) makes the world a bit fuzzier as it blends the processing and review components closer together.  I’m sure many vendors long for the days when the going price to process (extract the meta-data and text) and create a TIFF was $2500 per GB (uncompressed).  The process was simple back then…process and TIFF the data…load it up into a review platform and let the attorneys review to their hearts content (Excel files notwithstanding).  Even when we developed the technology to apply search terms to the data set, the price was based on how much data went into the processing engine.As a vendor during these “glory days” (as I heard referred to from a long-in-the-tooth service provider that shall not be named), I recall my project management and sales teams always struggled with the expectations from clients not knowing how much actual data was in their data sets.  We would get a call saying, “we have 20GB of data and I have no idea how much of the data is email and how much is user files.  Please give me a quote.”  Then we, as vendors, had to play the tap dance routine saying, “Based on some general assumptions (usually something like 50% email/50% user files, email is Outlook based, 40% expansion rate on emails, some number of TIFF’s per GB, etc. etc.),  we estimate the price will be X amount of dollars.”  I had a saying back in those days…”No matter what the assumptions are, they will be wrong!!”.  So our project managers had to be the bad news people constantly…calling up the client to tell them that NOW that the data set was expanded, the price was going to be higher than budgeted and then all heck would break loose at the law firm and client.  Needless to say…this is a broken system and yet many vendors in the space are still following this approach.There have been some innovations in the pricing arena over the years with the hosted technologies and now the PC-TAR types of tools.  These pricing models work well for the larger projects, but the small to medium size projects still suffer.  During LegalTech, I was introduced to Yoeli Barag, the President of e-Stet.  We, at the eDJ Group, are only starting to cover the pure service providers in the eDiscovery space on a more granular basis, so there were some basic questions that I wanted to understand from his perspective.  I asked Yoeli on how he differentiates e-Stet from the other service providers.  I was fully expecting to hear what everyone tells me…experience, capacity and project management which he promptly did.  Then Yoeli threw out, “we have a transparent invoicing process,” which promptly perked up my ears.  He explained that e-Stet pre-invoices the client prior to doing any processing of the data so that there are no surprises to the budget of the project.  When I asked about how he protects himself from over-explosive data sets, Yoeli said e-Stet has the infrastructure to process accordingly and it doesn’t really affect his workflow.  I suppose they have to be careful of clients that will zip up (aka compress) the entire data set prior to sending…yes, I have seen that happen in the past.I thought this was an interesting solution that only enhances the customer service experience. I’d be curious to know if there are any other service providers doing this sort of thing.Pricing and revenue tracking are pieces not typically covered in the eDiscovery space on a regular basis. The eDiscoveryJournal recently added Sarah Hankins to our growing list of independent contributors to do a monthly article on pricing trends in the industry.   Sarah is a consultant focusing on revenue tracking and pricing trends in the eDiscovery space.  One of the things I want to explore is the pricing models of the “All-in” providers that take it from Processing through Review for a per document price and I will continue to share my findings with our eDiscoveryJournal readers.I look forward to seeing everyone’s comments below.Jason Velasco

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