I’ve been involved at some level within the e-discovery world since 1999. That’s almost 15 years’ worth of watching our industry develop and evolve new technologies, weed out the vendors and weaker companies (I’m looking at you, 2 guys and a dog in a garage processing data for load files), and ultimately promise “better, faster, more cost efficient” technologies for the legal end user. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go, but I still get interested in what’s new and what’s next. So what will happen once the ball drops on December 31st for anyone who partakes in the world that encompasses e-discovery? There will be a few surprises and maybe, just maybe, some innovation in the upcoming year.
So let me adjust my crystal ball and share with you my top 5 predictions for 2014…
1) A greater move towards combining technologies to solve many related business problems such as e-discovery incidents, BYOD risk, governance & compliance needs and cyber-security breaches. There will always be a tool belt approach to solve these problems, and the software market shows this, but what if you had one software to help you accomplish due diligence in all of the above areas? Single pane of glass software. You heard it here first.
2) Four words: Mobile Device Electronic Discovery. You know that super-computer you carry around in your pocket and use to accomplish nearly every professional and personal daily task? Well most of the stuff on there is discoverable and can be collected from nowhere else. Say hello to the next major source of electronic evidence.
3) “Predictive Coding” finally isn’t the next big thing anymore. As the never-ending new buzz word of the past three years, predictive coding will go the way of 2005’s “near-dupe” and 2007’s “ECA” and become just another feature integrated with any e-discovery platform worth its salt. I’m not saying that technology assisted review isn’t nice to have, but it’s not worth the money many have been paying for it as a service. Instead of treating Predictive Coding as the new expensive technology, 2014 is going to see it becoming just another tool in the e-discovery toolbox.
4) Greater use of analytics to deal with big data. Filtering, faceting, clustering, de-dupe, visualization – all of these have to be put into play when dealing with today’s large data sets. I believe in 2014 we are finally going to see the maturation of the use of these tools and may also see some more integration of e-discovery dashboards, early case analytics and relationship mapping within review platforms.
5) Further commoditization of E-Discovery. You think per gig processing is cheap now? Watch it come down even more in 2014 as companies look to supplement processing and hosting with other services that are not native to the e-discovery space. Also, what worked for large and midsize companies in 2013 for bringing e-discovery tools in house will now start to resonate with smaller companies as technology offering packages have hit a certain, more acceptable price point.
Obviously 2014 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for our particular industry. The changes inherent in my predictions are big ones and you definitely need to be prepared for them. Ask yourself if you are working with a vendor or provider who can cover you in areas like mobile device discovery or bid data challenges. And make sure you are paying what you should for technologies or services that are rapidly becoming commoditized. Also be sure to check this space at the end of the year next year to see if my crystal ball told the truth. Happy New Year everyone!