Many of my engagements result in supporting client RFP’s for eDiscovery hosting, collection or ECM services/systems. A lot of that support is translating or analyzing pricing models so that client’s can make strategic vs. tactical buying decisions. Traditional eDiscovery providers consider their large enterprise proposals and pricing confidential. The newer generation of self-service cloud hosting players like Lexbe after the SMB market openly advertise $5/GB all in subscription pricing. So how does that stack up in real life?
“The following pricing was provided to one of our clients by a Relativity reseller for a matter. Our client was shocked to see the huge difference in the pricing.” – Lexbe marketing email July 10, 2020.
That marketing email (excerpt below) from Lexbe calculated a $225k savings for 250 GB of data hosted/produced over a one year period. I see client bids and pricing all the time. However, I rarely get to comment publicly on price model comparisons because of client/professional confidentiality. Lexbe’s marketing gives me an opportunity to dissect public Relativity reseller pricing.
First and foremost, the comparison does not specify WHEN that Relativity reseller bid was made. The prices are not unusual for older matters or relationships where the pricing has been on cruise control for years. However, line item pricing has been dropping or consolidating since RelativityOne was released in 2016. I am regularly seeing many of these itemized processing/analytics/review fees consolidating into a single smaller up front onboarding fee with hosting and project management/tech time as ongoing charges. Although providers will still sell you ‘ala carte’ services, the savvy ones are pushing to convert clients to all in managed service capacity models.
So what is the real difference?
The key is simplified self-service features that enable end users to upload, process, etc. without requiring actual project management/technical support. That works for many smaller firms/companies who have minimal or simplistic discovery requirements. If you just need to upload custodian PSTs and documents to be searched/reviewed/produced, then $5/GB/month may do the job. Your discovery hosting budget will be predictable, though I still see matters regularly stretching into 24-60 months of hosting.
What is missing is the concierge experience demanded by AmLaw 200 litigation firms handling large and complex matter portfolios for my typical serial litigant clients. Good experienced PMs and Relativity admins are rare and bill $125-250/hour. What happens when opposing counsel convinces the magistrate judge that you have made a technical or review error? Lexbe is much more of a full service provider than many of the new generation cloud solutions like Everlaw or Logikcull. Every ‘self-service’ platform has had to build teams of consultants and PMs to support matters that end up being more than the customer can handle on their own.
The core question is whether that support time is baked into the volume charges or billable. If your team is relatively savvy and their discovery straight forward, then the self-service pricing models may be worthwhile as long as you have an escalation/escape plan. That means knowing how to get your data and work product migrated to a platform/provider that can handle complex requirements before you pull the trigger on $5/GB/month.
Copied/Pasted from Lexbe MailChimp marketing campaign:
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