Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2011-03-16 06:00:40Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

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A common theme through products making the jump from processing engine to eDiscovery platform is the bolting on of a legal hold notice module or wizard.  Hold notices are the official kick off of the eDiscovery tailgate party. When I created the first incarnation of the eDJ Tech Matrix back in 2009, only PSS Atlas (now acquired by IBM) and Exterro offered a full featured workflow with a database back end. Some of the matter management players could send emails, but none had any market recognition for that limited functionality. I had many corporate clients consider these relatively high priced specialty applications, but only those with relatively heavy litigation/regulatory profiles or very low risk tolerance implemented them. Many of my corporate clients created home grown workflows with a single web, Sharepoint or SAP-type developer. Still, these two specialty players both gained steady market share and added rich features to support corporate legal management of preservation efforts. Just in time for Legal Tech NY 2011, I saw the basic hold notice workflow show up in AD eDiscovery, kCura Method, StoredIQ, Guidance EnCase eDiscovery and many more. A quick check of the eDJ Tech Matrix shows 25 products with legal hold notice functionality today and I will bet that this blog reminds several more to update their listings.

It seems that everyone has jumped on the legal hold band wagon. Now the hard question is to differentiate the relative depth of features and extent that this workflow has been integrated into the rest of the matter lifecycle. Yesterday, Clearwell announced a new legal hold module to expand their platform.  The Clearwell team demoed the new module to Barry Murphy and myself last week. They got all the basics right; notice templates, custodian surveys, logging responses directly on the appliance, auto-escalations, multiple hold iterations and such. This is actual native code rather than the OEM/open source approach that many others have taken to shortcut the development cycles. More importantly, they are working hard on integrating the module to the inventory/source mapping functions in their Collection module. This is where the rubber meets the road for corporations. I have seen many products offer ‘data maps’ that have to be imported from your existing spreadsheets or manually populated through forms.

This slow integration of collection, processing, review and production applications promises that holy grail of corporate eDiscovery, true single source matter management. I see a platform that will enable me to see ESI/sources/custodians in the wild, assess them without spoliation, collect/preserve remotely and then never have to move the collection until production. Nice dream. We keep getting closer every year. I think that it is safe to declare that hold notices are now a required feature on the corporate shopping list.

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