Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-12-14 05:34:23Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Clients often bring up the issue of creating a business case for eDiscovery because it’s such a difficult activity.  Despite the fact that solutions on the market can help save a lot of money, it’s hard to justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars upfront to address eDiscovery costs.  It shouldn’t be as hard as it is, but such is the grim reality in the complex world of corporate eDiscovery.  I believe that much of the difficulty comes from the lack of “ownership” for eDiscovery.

When I was an analyst covering enterprise content management (ECM) solutions, business cases for technology purchases were fairly straightforward.  If a mortgage company wanted an application processing solution, all it had to do was calculate how many more mortgages it could get by speeding up the process and look at how much money it could save in manual labor and simply make a decision based on that.  The process owner would give IT requirements and then IT would choose and implement a solution, charging back the business department (or making it a capital expense depending on how critical the business process is).  I’m over-simplifying here, but the take-aways are that there is a business owner and a way to get budget.

eDiscovery – as those of us in this market know – presents challenges to the typical technology scenario.  Few business run on the litigation process, so it’s more of a necessary evil than a critical process that organizations want to spend a lot of money on.  In addition, the legal department often does not have a “budget” for litigation spend; rather, legal can get the money it needs based on what actually plays out regarding litigation.  Therefore, it’s hard to get a large budget and implement the more proactive process.  There are many moving parts that add to the challenges:

–       Insurance – at a tactical level, many legal teams see litigation costs as something covered by D&O insurance.  When that attitude exists, it can be very difficult to convince the team that a big spend to avoid litigation costs is necessary.  I do think that insurance companies will eventually figure out that they can force organizations to better manage litigation costs via the solution available.  Hopefully, the insurance excuse is one that will go away.

–       Ownership – both legal and IT teams are heavily involved in eDiscovery.  However, process ownership can be cloudy.  Legal is clearly the “business user” on eDiscovery and should set requirements for solutions.  But, IT actually does a lot of the work in eDiscovery and typically pays for technology.  Many organizations have stalled projects simply due to lack of correct allocations of role and responsibilities.

–       Charging back – when IT does purchase solutions, it usually likes to charge back the business group utilizing the solution.  Most eDiscovery solutions for proactive information governance have multiple use cases (e.g. records classification or archiving).  Determining who should pay for eDiscovery solutions is not easy.  Some organizations do capital expense projects when they see litigation as a cost of doing business, but that only makes projects more time-consuming and complex.

–       Lack of prescription – while the FRCPs certainly drive eDiscovery awareness and pack some fear power, there are not regulations that say, “you must implement this software solution or risk non-compliance.”  Without that prescription, many organizations don’t see the need to spend on solutions.

We are engaged in research on eDiscovery “ownership” and are interested in who “owns” eDiscovery at your organization.  By “own,” we mean have final decision-making authority on solutions purchases.  Let us know in the poll below and we’ll analyze the results soon.

[poll id=”7″]

0 0 votes
Article Rating