Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-08-26 18:11:47  The end of summer is bittersweet.  Bitter because we move out of relaxation mode and back into high-stress mode.  Sweet because business activities really heat up as everyone gears up to have a big fourth quarter.  What can we expect in the eDiscovery market this fall?  Here’s my list of things to watch out for over the next four months:-       Solutions expanding across the EDRM – given some of the market consolidation of this year, e.g. AccessData buying Summation, more and more providers will be pressured to provide functionality across the full spectrum of the EDRM.  While partnerships will continue to exist, the impending consolidation in the market makes reliance on partnerships a risk.  Therefore, I think we’ll see some announcement of expansions of solutions natively.  This will actually make the process of buying a solution harder – evaluating strengths and weaknesses of full platforms will be more complex and involve more trade-offs, especially in a market that is in the early evolution stages.  Buyers will need to prioritize functionality requirements while balancing anticipated needs with a vendor’s strategy.-       More scale and performance wars – there was evidence of performance wars last spring as a number of providers put out press releases on processing performance per hour.  Just recently, Nuix’s announcement of its eDiscovery supercomputer and the open software performance benchmark from Digital Reef and BlueArc amped up the wars.  Will other vendors follow and replicate this test?  Probably not, but do look for most to try some way to validate the speed and performance of their platforms.-       Increased interest from the investment community – in an emerging market with a lot of small solution providers, there are bound to be some gems that will make a lot of money – either by getting acquired or via IPO.  These kinds of markets attract a lot of attention from venture capital and private equity firms.  If the number of inquiries I’m getting from the investment community is any indicator, the eDiscovery market is hot once again. One firm – MergerTech – even went so far as to issue a press release about their interest in the market But, the interest always seems to build this time of year and then trail off over the following months.  Given that large-scale consolidation is still 18-24 months away, don’t be surprised if we don’t see major investments or deals.-       More customer announcements – as competition heats up, many vendors want to increase credibility with the corporate accounts that are valued so highly.  In the past months, there have been announcements of big, corporate deals from Autonomy and Clearwell.  Both of those announcements, however, failed to mention the customer name (in fairness, not many corporations want to publicize what they are doing in eDiscovery).-       Rise in SaaS, especially for archiving – yes, the death of email archiving was greatly exaggerated.  The interested in hosted archiving, or SaaS archiving, is very high.  The demand for mailbox management is dead, especially given the native archiving capabilities of Exchange 2010.  However, given the need to save costs while also meeting eDiscovery requirements, archiving remains popular.  In order to really get the cost savings, many will turn to the cloud, or to hybrid solutions.  I think we’ll see a lot more on this throughout the fall.  Perhaps some of the smaller providers in this arena will attract the attention of the aforementioned investment community.-       Social media as an eDiscovery red herring – I have seen more press releases and blog posts on social media than I can process.  I’ve even written about it myself.  While I agree that social media complicates eDiscovery, I don’t think it will have a major impact on the solutions market this year.  In looking at the solutions available, they are very immature and – dare I say it – clumsy.  Any organization investing in what’s available now is likely to create more headaches for itself than it will solve.  Only those that must monitor employees’ social media posts (e.g. those regulated by FINRA) should be looking at the solutions market for something right now.This is how I see the rest of the year shaping up.  What do you think?

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