Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2013-10-28 20:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

The EDRM Midyear Meeting press release included the usual project updates and an important announcement regarding George Socha and Tom Gelbmann passing the leadership baton to convert EDRM into a true non-profit standards organization. This transformation raises many questions about the organization’s goals and has some analysts challenging the use (or misuse) of the seven year old lifecycle model by product marketing and management teams. First let’s take a look at these titles, “Is the EDRM a Jack-of-All-Trades and Master of None? and “Abandoning the EDRM assembly line: a legal-regulatory technology market ripe for change.” While these rather evocative titles could lead you to believe that the EDRM is to blame for software companies that have built ‘Frankenstacks’, products that attempt to support too many divergent business tasks. I am not exactly sure what specific products were being lumped into this category. Most providers chasing the ‘eDiscovery Platform’ market have added legal hold notification, project workflows and some matter management modules to either collection or review foundations, but these are all supporting related tasks.

Past the tabloid headlines, the tone softens and offers the EDRM model praise for explaining the EDD process to the masses since 2006. The pieces go on to recommend that legal technology vendors expand into supporting the actual practice of law; matter management, filings, time/billing, legal research and trial presentation. This made little sense to me until I saw the Bridgeway and Tymetrix announcements that Gartner had quietly published a ‘Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Legal Management’ report last week. So what does the EDRM have to do with legal practice management?

You could say that eDiscovery is the tail that has wagged the Litigation dog for the last seven years. When you consider that civil litigation is just a small part of the broader practice of law, you could be tempted to believe that you had stumbled into a bigger, broader market selling straight to law firms and corporate legal departments. But that would be ignoring the huge impact that discovery requirements have made on the broader information governance market. Legal technology is much more than practice management tools. I do see an increasing trend for some eDiscovery providers to swim up the corporate data rivers while others expand review with multi-matter analytics and project workflow.

Discovery is a fundamentally different market from practice management tools, even if they have overlapping legal consumers. Analyst firms have historically oversimplified the eDiscovery and Information Governance markets, resulting in apples-to-orange comparison diagrams that only benefit those who claim the winner position. 451 Research and Gartner rightfully call out a growing buying segment focused on overall practice management. The eDJ Group will resist the temptation to chase that squirrel!!! and stay focused on the buying categories at the intersection of Discovery and Information Governance.

Greg Buckles can be reached at Greg@eDJGroupInc for offline comments or questions. His active research topics include mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s 2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

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