Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2011-02-08 05:44:41Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Sometimes, the best buzz at an event is whispered under the radar.  It even takes a couple of days for those whispers to come together, get processed by the brain, and become a coherent thought.  Such is the case with LegalTech NY 2011.  Now several days removed from the show and the litany of meetings over three days, some new thoughts are bubbling in my brain and I’m wondering if we are watching some eDiscovery phoenixes rise from the ashes.

When I first fell into the eDiscovery market, the general consensus was that Guidance Software and AccessData were forensic collection companies that had stagnated.  While there was likely some truth to that, it’s also safe to say both had created successful niches in forensics and were actively looking to expand.  The competition was fine with proliferating the notion that Guidance and Access were forensic pure-plays that couldn’t evolve.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard someone say, “forensic collection is overkill for civil litigation.”  (Note:  if you want to get sense of defensible collection and the role of forensic disk imaging in it, check out our report on the subject here.)

It became easy to overlook these companies as new, seemingly more innovative solutions came to the market and the growth of Guidance and AccessData became questionable.  Both companies struggled with the forensic disk imaging label.  At the same time, both companies had impressive customer bases – something other eDiscovery vendors couldn’t (and cannot) always claim.  Even though Guidance and AccessData fell a bit under the radar, they continued to service customers and develop their respective eDiscovery solutions.  AccessData made the move to acquire CT Summation last summer and go after the ever-elusive “eDiscovery platform.”

At LegalTech 2011, the whispers started about both companies.  I heard folks saying that AccessData was doing a good job of integrating the product set and actually getting closer to offering a true eDiscovery platform.  There were comments on how the Guidance eDiscovery suite had really improved and now had a much more user-friendly interface.  And, these weren’t just one-off conversations; I heard the same thing from several different people.  That’s what make think there may be a trend.

Now, it’s way too early in this market to declare any winners amongst the vendors.  But, it is interesting to see Guidance and AccessData shedding the forensics niche label and asserting some muscle in the eDiscovery market.  Given the customer bases the companies have, there will be opportunity for them to establish leadership positions.  Maybe what’s old will be new again.

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