It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of technological advancement, it is the age of technological vulnerability, it is the epoch of digital information, it is the epoch of risk, it is the season of information governance, it is the season of discovery obligations, it is the spring of efficiency, it is the winter of incompatible tools…
Next week, 450 e-discovery practitioners, attorneys, incident responders and computer forensics examiners are coming together in Las Vegas for the AccessData Conference. There is no cute theme; there will be no Hollywood writers or Star Trek legends giving shallow keynotes. It will be about education, problem solving and candid discussion of the good and the bad. Before the conference, 40 or so AccessData clients will convene in a day of advisory meetings, in which the company’s senior executives will discuss product development and listen to feedback – good or bad – to map the future of AccessData’s software platforms. If you can’t tell from this blog or our website, the goal at AccessData is to put an end to juggling incompatible tools and to provide integrated platforms for e-discovery, incident response and investigations.
With regard to e-discovery, attendees will get a peek at the upcoming release of AD eDiscovery 4 and they will have hands-on training with AD eDiscovery and the enhanced releases of iBlaze and CaseVantage. There will be discussion panels and lectures with esteemed guests, such as Judge William Riley, Chief Judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Steve Williams from Cox Communications, Jesse Kornblum of Kyrus and Barry Murphy of eDiscovery Journal.
It’s all very exciting, but of note here is the focus of the conference’s content.
Most of the content being delivered focuses on 3 ideas, still somewhat controversial: 1.) the end-to-end e-discovery platform; 2.) implementing a solution that has value beyond just e-discovery; 3.) the need to create an integrated platform that allows corporations and their law firms to collaborate within the same interface from the onset of litigation.
Yes, I used the dreaded phrase “end-to-end”. As Trey Tremonte, our VP of Sales, argued in the last post, it is a fact that the e-discovery vendors are racing to provide end-to-end e-discovery solutions. AccessData’s product “AD eDiscovery” has been fully integrated from litigation hold to producing load files for a while now. However, it is no secret that we are now in the final stages of integrating Summation technology. An integrated e-discovery platform that truly addresses each phase of the EDRM from identification to presentation is the Holy Grail for e-discovery vendors, and we have one phase left. It is a formidable task, but we are up to the challenge Imagine a multitude of caffeine-wired developers working around the clock… eating large quantities of pizza and donuts… dressed in their favorite tees, worn thin from years of loyal wear.
From the in-house perspective, the fully integrated platform is here. It’s been here for a while, and I don’t mind saying that I’m both amused and flattered that the messaging we’ve been putting out for years has now found its way onto other vendors’ websites.
Organizations are looking to reduce the number of tools they’re using for e-discovery, but part of that process should be implementing a platform that has value beyond just e-discovery. If you’re going to make the investment in an in-house e-discovery platform, doesn’t it make sense to implement a solution that also allows you to conduct digital investigations and compliance auditing, enforce records retention policies, address data leakage and facilitate information governance? When a solution provides value to multiple departments, across multiple business problems, you’re optimizing your risk and cost reduction, as well as your operational efficiency. This of course is AccessData’s mantra and will be a recurring theme of discussion among presenters and attendees alike. Barry Murphy, from eDiscoveryJournal.com, will be addressing this very topic in his keynote.
Maybe the most unsettling idea is this notion of corporations and their law firms using the same platform. Not everybody, particularly those in law firms, is receptive to a corporate-driven model, where corporations tell their firms what software to use. Is it a direction in which we as a company are trying to drive our clients? No, of course not. Our goal is to put an end to the juggling of incompatible tools. Therefore, it wouldn’t really make sense to design software that isn’t compatible with tools already being used by clients and prospects. We actually pride ourselves on the number of load file formats AD eDiscovery supports. However, while this collaborative model is not necessary, it would certainly be nice.
Why not create an environment in which an organization’s firm can log in and participate in real time from the onset of litigation? Being able to share pre-collection auditing statistics, such as search hit reports, and then collaborate in real time on the refinement of keywords, case strategy and cost analysis ⎯ all before anything has been collected ⎯ makes for more effective early case assessment and facilitates intelligent litigation decisions. Likewise, having that collaborative online relationship in which law firms have real-time visibility into the analysis and culling of collected data and are able to communicate in real-time with their clients prior to legal review provides an advantage in case preparation. Overall, this approach carries cost and risk reduction for outside counsel and corporate clients alike.
Regardless of how the market as a whole views this approach, AccessData is determined to make it an option. The company will continue to support the wide variety of review tools and add additional compatibility with other technologies in the information management space.
I look forward to participating in the conversations and debates around these and other ideas at ADUC next week. “End-to-end” already has momentum, but I’m curious to see how long it takes for people to start talking seriously about ideas 2 and 3.