Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2012-01-27 05:39:05Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. The eDiscovery year tends to begin with a bang at the LegalTech Conference in New York (LTNY).  LTNY 2011 promoted some pragmatic ideas such as managing eDiscovery as a process and taking control of Information Governance (IG), while also hinting at forthcoming heat around “the Cloud” and predictive coding.  If my pre-briefings from vendors this week are any indication, LTNY 2012 will feature similar issues, albeit flavored a bit differently to taste.

In 2011, the “manage eDiscovery as a business process” notion had real traction, with corporations admitting the need to take control of eDiscovery and to imbue it with the business intelligence necessary to make process management smooth and effective.  As we head into 2012, the messaging from vendors takes a different tone – it’s all about defensibility.  Of course, defensibility is partially dependent on process management and workflow.  I believe the defensibility message will replace the “manage eDiscovery as a business process” message, at least for LTNY.  At the end of the day, the message is the same – bring consistency to the eDiscovery process and do it in a documented way that can stand up in court.

The Information Governance term was bandied about often in early 2011, but seemingly was too broad to gain real traction.  Many of the IG messages from solution providers lacked real meat, instead vaguely referencing ways to integrate information across multiple repositories, apply retention policies and conduct discovery. To date, the best analog to IG coming for 2012 is defensible disposition.  In reality, any vendor selling you defensible disposition is trying to sell you a broader IG platform, but defensible disposition feels more tenable in the short term.  The vendors are learning not to sell something too broad.

Predictive coding was also a trending topic in 2011.  Well, in 2012, it’s the year of technology assisted review (the actual term is still up for debate). Companies obviously need to address and reduce high legal review costs. It is also critical to dramatically increase review capacity given the growth in information volumes while improving the accuracy and quality of review.  There is anecdotal evidence of technology-assisted review methods like predictive coding gaining traction, but there was not great data on actual usage rates or plans.  eDJ Group began running a survey on the topic earlier this month (you can take the survey here), and early data returns show that 2012 is indeed the year that technology-assisted review for more automated review processes will take off.

Thankfully, not long after LTNY-2011, the “scale and performance wars” news cycle ended.  That’s why I was surprised to see scalability and speed as the leading messages of some pre-briefings I got.  I thought vendors had learned that bragging about how much data they could process in a day was not the defining criteria for a strategic purchase.  But, it looks like we will have to endure at least one more year of vendors differentiating on the same attributes:  scale, speed, and ease-of-use.  The sooner vendors learn that these are not provable differentiators, the better off we will be.

Still, we are excited for LTNY 2012 and hope to see you there (just don’t mention how much data you can process in a day).

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