eDSG Poll Suggests Current eDiscovery Software is Too Expensive

eDSGVoteA recent poll by eDSG run the week of April 14-21, 2014 asking the question, “What aspects of your current eDiscovery / Information Governance Software are you most dissatisfied with?“, suggests that cost is the number one cause of dissatisfaction.  The results of the poll are certainly not “new news” or unique.  However,  I predict that they represent what I would consider to be a troubling “tipping point” for legacy eDiscovery / Information Governance software vendors and service providers.  Troubling, of course,  if you define troubling as a dramatic erosion of installed base and revenue.

The full results of the eDSG Weekly poll asking “What aspects of your current eDiscovery / Information Governance Software are you most dissatisfied with?” are as follows:

25% Too Expensive

22% Too Slow

19% Doesn’t Run  in the Cloud

9% Too Complicated

6% Required too many associated and expensive services

6% Doesn’t support intelligent collections

3% Doesn’t support social media collections, processing and review

3% Doesn’t provide adequate Early Case Assessment (E CA)

3% Doesn’t support an Agile /Iterative workflow

3% Doesn’t support collection of data from Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)

Expert Opinion and Comments

Following are my opinions and insight regarding the results from the eDSG Weekly Poll asking “What aspects of your current eDiscovery / Information Governance Software are you most dissatisfied with?”

Too Expensive

Over the past five year users have been complaining that the cost of eDiscovery and Information Governance is too high.  And, although the costs have continued to fall, most polls indicate that users still believe that the cost is still too high, it is my opinion that many eDiscovery / Information Governance software vendors and associated service providers will continue to “milk the market” with these high costs for as long as they can.

As is the case with other technology markets with “laggard” user bases, the eDiscovery vendors specifically have had a “captive market” either by virtue of  unique capability or geographic necessity.

However, I would contend that the major reason for continued high cost is the reluctance of  law firms and in some cases the legal departments of corporations to sever long term partnerships with legacy vendors and relationship with the senior sales personnel from these vendors that they know are charging prices for collections, processing and review that have margins that way too high.

Fortunately, the discussion of of the outrageously high cost of eDiscovery and Information Governance has reached the CFO’s office and the board room of many corporations and therefore, in conjunction with the introduction of cloud computing and Big Data technology stacks,  I believe that the “high margin” runway has finally run out.

Too Slow

Even though I stated in my March 31, 2013 article titled, “What’s the Big Deal About No SQL?“, that, “…it all comes down to speed an cost”, I was still a bit surprised that users indicated that speed was their 2nd choice for reasons that they were dissatisfied with their current eDiscovery / Information Governance vendor.

However, after further reflection, I have come to conclusion that, based on the dramatic increase in the amount of data that users are now facing along with the associated continued poor performance (i.e. speed of processing) from the legacy eDiscovery / Information Governance platform vendors, we may be reaching the “tipping point” on  “processing speed”  as well.

Obviously, Big Data is a “big deal” or a “big problem” for many users and therefore processing speed is now a major factor in deciding which eDiscovery /Information Governance software users are going to choose.

Doesn’t Run  in the Cloud

As indicated in my March 20, 2014 article titled, “10 Reasons Why Information Governance and eDiscovery Belong in the Cloud,” I contend that the debate is over regarding cloud computing and the results of this eDSG Weekly Poll prove this to be the case.

Obviously, from all indications, the “train has left the station”, on this issue.  However, the legacy vendors will continue for some time to try and update and evolve their platforms to appear to be cloud based.  However, in keeping with the old saying about “Pigs and Lipstick”,  the winners in the end will be those software platforms that were designed from the ground up with the latest and most appropriate technology stacks to run in the cloud.

Too Complicated

“Too Complicated” is always in the “eyes of the beholder.  However, having twice gone through the process of reviewing and ranking the top 100 eDiscovery and Information Governance software platforms in detail in the past 245 months, I would have to agree with users that some of the legacy platforms have been updated and integrated so many times that they are in fact very complicated to understand and use.

Requires too many associated and expensive services

This particular category is intertwined with the “too expensive category”.  It has been obvious to me for many years that some vendors in the eDiscovery  space have attempted to “trick” users into thinking that they have lowered their costs when in fact what they have done is packaged and marketed their services to appear to have lower per GB pricing (as an example).   Unfortunately, what users find out after they have signed contracts with these vendors is that they (the vendors) charge line item after line item for associated services like loading data,  handling files that didn’t process and even unloading data, just to name a few.   This “bait and switch” approach has always reminded me of the pricing methodology that car dealers use.  There is the advertised sticker price and then there is the drive away price.  And, the “unloading data charges” or “give the users data back to them charge” has always reminded me of the time that I went through the “dance” of buying a car. The salesman literally came back, after I thought we had a deal, and asked if I wanted a CD player and power windows because the model that I was quoted had a radio and manual windows.   Just to mess with the salesman, I indicated that I really just wanted a radio and manual windows and they could actually leave off the radio if it would reduce the cost further.  Unfortunately, users in the eDiscovery / Information Governance market need their data back at some point and therefore have to pay these outrageous costs. The good news is that I believe that this practice is just about over for most.

Additional Opinions and Comments

Look for additional opinion and comments in a 2nd article later this week or next week regarding the remainder of the results from the eDSG Weekly Poll asking “What aspects of your current eDiscovery / Information Governance Software are you most dissatisfied with?”.  This 2nd article will cover:

  • Doesn’t support intelligent collections
  • Doesn’t support social media collections, processing and review
  • Doesn’t provide adequate Early Case Assessment (E CA)
  • Doesn’t support an Agile /Iterative workflow
  • Doesn’t support collection of data from Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)

 

About Charles Skamser
Charles Skamser is an internationally recognized technology sales, marketing and product management leader with over 25 years of experience in Information Governance, eDiscovery, Machine Learning, Computer Assisted Analytics, Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics, IT Automation and ITOA. Charles is the founder and Senior Analyst for eDiscovery Solutions Group, a global provider of information management consulting, market intelligence and advisory services specializing in information governance, eDiscovery, Big Data analytics and cloud computing solutions. Previously, Charles served in various executive roles with disruptive technology start ups and well known industry technology providers. Charles is a prolific author and a regular speaker on the technology that the Global 2000 require to manage the accelerating increase in Electronically Stored Information (ESI). Charles holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from Macalester College.