Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2011-01-03 07:33:53Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Barry’s reflections on the 2010 market space got me thinking about last year’s technology trends. We saw a lot of privately developed review platforms rolled out with different licensing models, but I wanted to figure out what was fundamentally new and different.

No. 1 ECA = ESI Access

Well before LTNY 2010, the marketing machines began to hype Early Case Assessment (or Early Data Assessment) as the new eDiscovery usage case for corporations and law firms. But what is the fundamental function that enables ECA/EDA? I posit that it is the ability of a relatively non-technical user to directly access ESI, whether in the wild or from a collection. This basic marriage of search indexing and a review GUI gave Clearwell a big jump on the market, followed closely by StoredIQ, Kazeon and a host of others. Effectively, we are foreshadowing the ‘death’ of processing as a separate EDRM phase. My main concern about merging processing into a one-click function is that it can over-simplify complex options and bury exception handling. As long as users understand the different quality requirements for Identification/Investigation versus the actual discovery request, ECA/EDA tools are here to stay.

No. 2 Breaking the 1 TB barrier

Nuix fired the first shot in the 2010 performance wars by breaking the 1 Terabyte (TB) per day barrier. Index Engines, Clearwell, Digital Reef and Kazeon have all jumped the 1 TB/day threshold for indexing speeds of ESI in place, although each system has different functionality at these speeds. What we have not heard much about the scale and stability of eDiscovery search in dynamic enterprise environments. Raw indexing speed is critical for service providers and companies that are reactively indexing for a specific matter, but the long term promise is to have the bulk of your critical sources indexed ahead of time to minimize incremental updates before running Identification or Preservation/Collection searches.

No. 3 Binary Processing

One of the ways that some of the providers managed to break the 1 TB/day indexing rate is by reading the raw binary files without opening them in a viewer or application. Index Engines pioneered this methodology to cope with mountains of back-up tapes and quickly found it just as effective on a 45 TB SAN file share. Traditional processing engines use a file viewer: Oracle Outside In, Autonomy KeyView or Microsoft iFilters. These viewers enable systems to extract the rendered text and present the files without having to install the applications. But they also slow down processing and have to open/close every file. Several other platforms such as the new IPRO Allegro have added the ability to directly read the binary files, especially Exchange MDB and PST files.

No. 4 Predictive-Auto Coding

We wrote a lot about new offerings that finally leverage conceptual clustering and other technologies to enhance the accuracy and speed of review, still the largest single cost in eDiscovery. Although few if any attorneys are eager to take a public stance on bulk automated relevance determination, providers like FTI, DiscoverReady, Recommind, Equivio and more have come up with systems that use iterative training sets to either group items or to make suggestions. This wave of predictive/auto-coding functionality offers the first real jump in review speed since Attenex and Stratify (both since acquired).

No. 5 Navigation Search Facets

Almost every new review platform has introduced some form of navigational search facets to replace or enhance the traditional full text search box. Whether you call it guided search, faceted search, navigators or whatever, the important point is that the system itself allows you to browse/filter based on metadata characteristics like years/months, domains, sources, etc. It is not completely new, but it has become critical feature for understanding and organizing your collections.

So I look forward to LTNY 2011 and seeing all the new product releases. The market seems to be picking up, corporations are budgeting for eDiscovery readiness and technology. Out with the old, in with the new!

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