Reveal keeps making the eDiscovery news, so I did a briefing with Jay Leib and George Socha to get up to speed on their overall go to market strategy. Most eDiscovery providers fall into a couple well known buckets that force them to grow, evolve or fade away. Like most players, Reveal started as a service provider focused on hosting large litigation matters.(see Reveal response below) The 2008 recession generated a lot of recently unemployed or underemployed talent with time to create new tech products or service approaches. Most providers sell their technology as a service solution while they build a customer base and slowly evolve their IP from semi-manual scripts/components into a mature architecture. The key is understanding whether they are principally selling their technology to end consumers/channel partners or still selling eDiscovery services that differentiate with their own technology. What do Reveal’s recent moves signal to me?

Reveal announcements:

  • Acquisition of NexLP AI
    • eDJ-Adding mature AI workflows, features and visualizations to their processing-hosting platform to make them more competitive in a Relativity dominated market.
  • George Socha recruited as Senior VP of Brand Awareness
    • eDJ-Every branding campaign needs a well-known spokesperson to catch consumer and partner attention. George is certainly one of the best known names in eDiscovery.
  • Release of Version 10
    • eDJ-Focused on user experience refinements, audio/video transcription and a more intuitive search, this version looks more modern and competitive. It is no coincidence that Relativity and other players have made similar usability improvements recently.
  • AI enterprise licensing agreement with Epiq
    • eDJ-This is what I was talking about with the transition from services to tech channel partners.

The briefing was the usual Jay Leib roller coaster of enthusiasm balanced by George’s classic dry wit. This means we had fun talking shop and I even managed to get the insight I was after. First and foremost, the new Reveal is focused on tech over services. The majority of Reveal employees are engineers instead of project managers and sales reps. The Epiq licensing agreement strongly backs up that concept. Law firms and boutique providers still dominate the Reveal customer/partner page, but I figure that we are catching Reveal as they pivot to developing a deep channel over chasing big cases. Jay emphasized their goal for AI driven reductions in risk and cost of eDiscovery. They now have solution packages with engines for privilege, sexual harassment and other key conceptual categorizations. Customers do not want to create these kinds of classification engines/rules from scratch. They understand the need to tune them for their unique data composition, but find raw tool kits too intimidating in my experience.

I always want more options and competitors in the market. It drives innovation, controls pricing and keeps me busy with RFP engagements. Is Reveal a direct Relativity competitor? I still think that they are a better fit for service providers looking to deliver a managed service package than a direct corporate/firm purchase. I would like to see a better story around collection, legal holds and M365/Google integrations before I put them head to head for my corporate clients seeking an eDiscovery platform. I can see them as a strong contender with the right service provider in managed service bake offs. My takeaway is that Reveal is headed in the right direction and worth consideration when analytics are at the top of your requirements.

Response from Reveal:

Reveal never has been a service provider. Reveal was founded in 2009 and from day one its focus has been on developing eDiscovery software. Reveal launched its first eDiscovery product in 2011. It has continued to expand its software offerings since then.

eDJ Perspective:

I stand by my opinion and perspective that Reveal and the vast majority of eDiscovery companies started effectively as service companies. Very few startups launch as B2B or COTS software. I see nothing wrong or shameful about selling your technology as a service to early adopter client. These early adopter engagements drive development requirements as your consultants and project managers debrief with the product management team. To be clear, Reveal’s website offers these services today.  Reveal seems to have gone from service to packaged product quicker than most (2009-2011). This is a good indicator that they were focused on software over services from the beginning. Eleven years later it is hard to even tell the difference between a service company with proprietary cloud technology and a cloud technology company with a service division. Maybe this is just a tomayto vs. tomahto difference in market terminology. Clearly Reveal sees themselves as a technology first company today and in the past.

 

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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