Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2011-05-31 09:51:44Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. I spoke at a session of the AccessData user conference in Las Vegas recently.  The trip was great, with the exception of losing $500 at the craps table.  I love going to user conferences because I get a chance to chat with real folks practicing real corporate eDiscovery.  Most can’t talk on the record, but I get a chance to hear the things they are really trying to do – real-life stuff.  I was able to have some good chats after my session on eDiscovery trends.  Interestingly, I heard some very similar themes from some very diverse users.

One theme that kept coming up – not surprisingly, given AccessData’s history in the computer forensics world – is the marriage of “forensics” and search.  Too often in the eDiscovery world, folks dismiss “forensics” as overkill for civil litigation.  I don’t want to digress too much, but it’s worth noting that the term forensics has taken a bit of a beating in our market.  That’s because forensics became synonymous with full disk imaging.  While full disk imaging may be over-collection in some matters, it can be critically important in others.  These users I talked to pointed out that a “forensic” approach is required in various types of investigations (making the point that eDiscovery is not just a process for civil litigation, but also compliance and other internal investigations, too).

There is also a realization that search-based (spidering) approaches are appropriate.  Many of these end-users have used both approaches.  They now are working on marrying those approaches in one system.  All strive for a less complex IT environment when it comes to solving eDiscovery.  That fits well with the theme of platform.  All talk about having an eDiscovery platform with as few applications as possible.  I prefer the term eDiscovery foundation simply because it’s hard to say that there is such thing as an eDiscovery platform.  But, all pointed out the desire to manage fewer vendors.  And, we see this reflected in the market as most vendors strive to offer an eDiscovery solution that can address the full process lifecycle.

The final theme is that, while there are trends in the market like the rise of the eDiscovery platform or the marriage of forensics and search, this market is still immature and companies are still only biting off what they can chew.  Even with the macro trend of an eDiscovery platform, companies focus on one element of the practice of discovery.  For example, one user talked about a project to gain control over legal hold; another was focused solely on collection; another had an early case assessment (ECA) project.  What I take from that is a reminder to be pragmatic.  No one is going to deploy an eDiscovery platform and suddenly have zero challenges ahead.  But, these smart users are working on focused projects while still having an eye to the future and ensuring that their vendor of choice will be able to help them solve the next challenge, as well.

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