Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-06-17 08:35:36  In even more consolidation news, AccessData announced it will merge with CT Summation to form a single company, AccessData Group, LLC.  The goal of merging the two  companies is to deliver a solution capable of addressing all phases of the EDRM model.  While the newly formed solution will touch the full spectrum of the EDRM, AccessData Group will face stiff competition from best-of-breed point solution providers, as well as larger enterprise software vendors, in a market where corporations are not necessarily decided on whether an integrated solution or a point solution is the right choice.Historically, AccessData was known as a provider of computer forensics software with its products, Forensic Toolkit, Password Recovery Toolkit and a decryption solution called Distributed Network Attack. The company built a sizable installed base, with its major competition being Guidance Software.AccessData evolved its product set with the enterprise version of Forensic Toolkit and an eDiscovery software solution, called AccessData eDiscovery. AccessData sold directly to enterprises and thus focused on the functions most important to that customer base – litigation hold, automated collection and processing, and first-pass review/ECA.CT Summation focused on the center to right of the EDRM, providing legal review software and later adding early case assessment functionality. However, despite the additional ECA capabilities, CT Summation continued to be utilized mainly for its legal review and case management capabilities. Using CT Summation’s product, case attorneys are able to review ESI, scanned documents and transcripts. They the can mark for redaction and do final production.  The company built up a good installed base, predominantly with law firms and service bureaus. CT Summation was a division of Wolters Kluwer (via acquisition) – a broader information services and publishing company.  According to several industry sources, Wolters Kluwer will retain an ownership stake in AccessData Group.Terms of the deal were not disclosed, so it’s difficult to give this merger a true thumbs-up or thumbs-down.  In the overall, though, my read is that it’s a positive development.  While software markets evolve slowly and there is always room throughout that evolution for best-of-breed tools, the goal is always to reach a point where there are integrated solutions.  That is especially the case in the eDiscovery market, where there is a lot of cost and risk involved when transferring data from tool to tool.  What’s nice for the merged entity is that there is not a lot of customer overlap, so there will be a lot of short-term cross-selling opportunity.  And, with CT Summation now part of a company focused on developing software, there will likely be a more honed product roadmap than we have seen in the past.As much as the deal looks like a no-brainer on paper, it will create challenges for the merged company.  First, AccessData Group will have to learn to be as sharp a marketer as its best-of-breed competitors, who will likely turn up the volume on their efforts to show off differentiators.  AccessData has not traditionally been a marketing machine.  Second, AccessData has only in the past couple years become an enterprise software company.  With this strategic merger, the competition will be even more intense and come from very experienced enterprise software vendors with more resources (of every kind – development, marketing, sales, channel).Expect the larger vendors to double down and attack AccessData hard.  That will put additional pressure on the marketing and sales teams, who will deal with more F.U.D. than ever before.Internally, the company will have little product overlap, but will need to ensure that its solution is integrated end-to-end.  Also, they will have to simplify the product line that CT Summation brings to the table. Currently, there seems to be some confusion in the market as to which Summation products do what.    While there is not a lot of product overlap, there will be some sales challenges.  Summation folks are used to selling to the law firms and AccessData folks to the enterprise.  How will the company set up sales teams in order to cross-pollinate?If AccessData Group can have some early success in getting customer wins – and I think they will – it could precipitate even further consolidation as others follow the integration path.  Now, that is not to say that this merged entity will crush the competition; there are still organizations that want to buy point solutions instead of fully-integrated solutions.  But, I do believe the evolution to an end-to-end, integrated eDiscovery solution is on.  AccessData is smart to be on the front-end of that evolution.

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