Almost exactly a year ago I wrote my original blog post, the eDiscovery Arms Race and Tales from the Trenches. Since then the competitive landscape has changed. As predicted there has been consolidation; Symantec acquired Clearwell, HP acquired Autonomy, IBM acquired PSS Atlas, and countless other smaller firms like Guidance Software and Case Central have either merged or morphed their messaging. The good news for players like AccessData, which is very committed to providing our clients with an integrated solution that takes them from litigation hold all the way through to court presentation, or any variation thereof, is the client’s needs haven’t changed. In fact most of the organizations mentioned above are still fumbling around trying to figure out how to integrate the tools they have, replace the ones they originally tried, and create a cohesive go-to-market strategy.
So let’s take a more in-depth look at these other market players based on things I’ve heard around the industry. I would love to hear our readership’s comments as well. The first merger I mentioned was Symantec’s acquisition of Clearwell. Based on conversations with people in the know, it seems that Symantec has been trying to achieve two main goals: 1) replace their ailing Discovery Accelerator, which was the original “e-discovery” solution for their email archiving solution Enterprise Vault, and 2) leverage Clearwell’s brand recognition within the Early Case Assessment market in order to finish development of a holistic solution that can collect data in order to populate the Enterprise Vault archive. Both of these goals make perfect sense, however in typical fashion for large enterprise software companies, these endeavors are moving along at a snail’s pace without a solid interim plan as to how clients can realize the long-term vision.
The second transaction listed above was HP’s Acquisition of Autonomy, which was fantastic from my perspective. My take on this (and I believe this is the market’s as well) is that this acquisition was focused around information management and had absolutely nothing to do with e-discovery. Autonomy was never positioned well from a technology perspective to actually perform true e-discovery. However, information management of large structured data sources has always been right in their wheelhouse and was the genesis of their IDOL technology.
And last but not least is IBM’s acquisition of PSS Atlas which was originally labeled an e-discovery acquisition, although PSS Atlas was always focused solely on litigation hold. This has seemed to die on the vine since IBM has yet to determine how to leverage this technology outside of pairing it with their services division, which I can’t believe is their end-goal. But they bought it for a song so I’m sure it’s not a pressing issue for them.
The funny thing about all of this is that the market seems to be working feverishly to scrap together a cohesive “end to end” solution when AccessData already has one. What’s even funnier to me is that many analysts up until the last few months have been asserting that clients prefer a ‘best of breed’ approach. Finally after over three years it seems that those who watch the industry are recognizing the market realities that 1) clients want to deal with fewer vendors and 2) they want to get as much as they can for their spend. The same principles apply to all areas of business; however it seems to have eluded the e-discovery market until recently. Well I guess it’s better late than never.
As I said previously if anyone reading this disagrees with anything I’ve said please let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. Additionally if anyone would like to challenge AccessData on our capabilities vs anything in the e-discovery market we would be happy to set up a Proof of Concept in order to prove ourselves…
Finally, I hope to see you all in Las Vegas at our AccessData Users’ Conference next week!