Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2012-02-08 06:09:45Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. This was my first LegalTech where I could put on my analyst hat without needing to manage corporate clients or speaking panels. It brought home to me just how hard it was to switch mindsets and reminded me of the 2010 PBS special, “Digital Nation” that shattered my personal myth of multitasking. It is safe to say that I brought more to my hectic briefing schedule this year and took a lot more out of them as well. The other new element was taking digital notes on the iPad. Barry liked the Penultimate app, while I finally settled on PhatPad with the hope that I could leverage it’s handwriting recognition, photo and audio recording features. As I mentioned in my LTNY Day 1 blog, the handwriting recognition for all the iPad apps was not up for my scrawl, which means that it is probably not ready for attorney handwriting. I did find that the writing was instinctive and helped me organize my thoughts as compared to having to work on the laptop. I would recommend looking at the finer point nylon stylus options as the regular soft tip stylus does not like to recognize angled pen strokes. So my goal is to pick my favorite briefings and get you the differentiators and challenges I saw on each. We refused to do any product demos at the show so that we kept the conversation on the key take-aways of their newest release and road map direction.

Exterro – The Fusion platform added two more archive source connectors, Commvault and Hitachi Data Systems, plus connectors with review platforms from kCura and Catalyst. To me, Exterro still seems to be struggling to change the overall market perception of them as a simple legal hold notification and workflow application.  Their Fusion Zeta offering has added search, collection, review and production features, which seems to put them up against the likes of Clearwell, StoredIQ and other ‘platforms’ for corporate eDiscovery management. Like many technologies, their new platform message is struggling against the strength of their early point product messaging. They report that Q4 of 2011 was their largest quarter to date, which speaks to recent sales efforts, the platform offering and an improving economy.

FTI – Why is it that certain providers who truly understand the effort and sophistication required to properly execute non-linear review choose to sell managed review services over packaging up their secret sauce for direct sales? Maybe it is because there is more margin in supporting the big ‘bet the company’ cases than software sales? Or maybe players like DiscoverReady, Xerox Litigation Services and now FTI appreciate how complex a large eDiscovery review can be and figure that corporations will never really bring these whales into the corporate ship. That is a long way of saying that FTI has built a large managed review infrastructure based on the Acuity predictive coding version of the DocMapper review platform. The team briefed me on

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Acuity back in March of 2010, but they kept the technology in-house for FTI clients. They have grown to 7 North American review centers and offer per GB or a per doc pricing model for review. They have combined this with a low per document ‘exclusion fee’ for data filtered out of your collection, a model that seems to provide a balanced incentive to save the client money and time. It will be interesting to see how this new managed technology offering does in the market.

AccessData – All of us who watch Summation evolve from the DOS versions and then stall after the Wolters Kluwer acquisition in 2004 have been waiting to see how the AccessData team would reinvent the venerable review application. They acquired Summation last July and have finally released the ‘new’ Summation enterprise platform for LegalTech. The new platform is based on a SQL database using AccessData’s FTK processing engine and features an entirely new code base. I think that it was the right decision to ditch the ancient Saturn DB engine, but I hope that all the new performance, scale and functionality does not alienate the entrenched Summation customer base who have demonstrated their resistance to changes in GUI and workflow. Summation and Concordance were the earliest linear review tools that a small law firm could purchase and run off of a normal desktop computer.

Summation Review - click to enlarge

AD seems to have dropped development on the desktop version altogether, although they will release an ‘Express’ version based on IIS/SQL Express to accommodate customers who cannot invest in a full enterprise server architecture. The Summation Express license will be limited to 2 million records and four CPUs. That’s right, AD is continuing their corporate strategy of no per GB pricing and is selling Summation Express and Pro with a base of 4 CPUs. Pro adds the option to license additional CPU’s for more processing power. There is also a subscription license model, but this uses named users instead of the old concurrent seat model. The old Summation Blaze products will be supported indefinitely, which is good considering how many small firms I have found that have never upgraded since installation. Although the reinvented Summation comes with Transcript handling, the rest of the case management features are due in Q2 of this year. Also due in Q2 is analytics such as predictive coding, concept clustering, and more, all without any additional $/GB pricing. We plan on keeping a close eye on how AD handles the Summation product and community. This new Summation does not look like the old one, but anyone who has had to train associates how to navigate through the old context-sensitive GUI knows that is not a bad thing. The real question is whether the new Summation can deliver on the value proposition and convert a large portion of the existing Summation customer base.


The key trends from these briefings include the complexity of integrating analytic technology into review, how application scope creep has blurred the definition of the eDiscovery platform and the importance of application continuity to transition existing customers. More micro-briefs to come!

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