I recently had the opportunity talk with Brad Jenkins, Founder and CEO of CloudNine Discovery. Mr. Jenkins and his team at CloudNine are pioneers in bringing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Document Review technology to the legal technology market. My Interview with Mr. Jenkins provides some interesting insight into the history of the litigation technology market and the genesis of CloudNine Discovery.
History of CloudNine
CloudNine Discovery is a Houston based software and services company that has been around for about nine years. The company’s flagship product is OnDemand®, which was one of the very first Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications on the market for online document review and eDiscovery. In addition, CloudNine backs up its software offering with a full set of litigation services as may be required to support the requirements of large firms and corporations engaged in a lawsuit.
“We started out as a document imaging company, with a focus on the project management of large scanning and eDiscovery projects. One of our early clients was a large corporation that needed project management of a nationwide scanning project lasting over 2 years (10,000 boxes, 40+ locations). We managed the entire project including collection, scanning and coding. From the need for managing that data evolved our development of a web-based document management application, which is now OnDemand,” explained Mr. Jenkins in regards to my request that he describe the history of CloudNine.
“We developed a solid reputation for project management and got to know our partners really well, so we got additional national projects and numerous inquiries from our partners requesting to offer our software to their clients. The software demand continued to grow and ultimately became our company focus while we assisted our partners with project management expertise in transitioning from providing scanning services to a full range of eDiscovery services, continued Mr. Jenkins.
Mr. Jenkins was also proud of the fact that CloudNine Discovery has been included in several lists of fastest growing companies, including the Inc. 5000 list in 2008, 2009 and 2011, Houston FastTech 50 in 2007 and 2009, and Houston Fast 100 in 2008 and 2009.
The Importance of SaaS Technology in eDiscovery
As the founder and CEO of one of the first SaaS technologies companies in the eDiscovery market, I was curious to learn what Mr. Jenkins thought about the importance of SaaS.
“I see it as very important. I found it interesting that Gartner predicts that by 2013, SaaS and business process utilities will account for 75% of the expenses derived from processing, review, analysis and production of ESI,” stated Mr. Jenkins.“It’s also been reported that the Cloud Computing and Storage market is set to grow from 40.7 billion dollars in 2011 to more than 241 billion dollars by 2020. (Forrester forecasted in May 2011) This means more and more data will be stored in the cloud and companies will be looking to SaaS technology to help with discovery,: continued Mr. Jenkins.
I can appreciate Mr. Jenkins predictions about SaaS. In fact, I predict that within five years that most eDiscovery technology will be SaaS based and most Electronically Stored Information (ESI) will reside in the cloud. As such, it appears that CloudNine is in a great position.
Monolithic vs. Best-in-class Technology
I asked Mr. Jenkins if he thought that a monolithic solution that supported the entire EDRM or a best-in-class integrated approach was better.
“I believe in the best of class approach,” stated Mr. Jenkins. “There are so many areas of the EDRM, it would be cost prohibitive for any one company to have the best expertise in every single area. Companies with dedicated resources focused on one area are going to have an advantage in supporting that particular area of the lifecycle versus a monolithic platform. Many of the monolithic platforms have come together through acquisitions and those don’t always work out as planned,” added Mr. Jenkins.
This is always an interesting debate. Some buyers want a single vendor to call knowing that the trade-off is that they may not get the best solution across the board. Other buyers are more interested in finding and integrating the best solutions and are willing to spend the extra resources to have to deal with multiple vendors.
Something else to think about in regards to this issue is that as the industry embraces SaaS based technology in the cloud, it is going to be theoretically easier to integrate disparate applications in a much more seamless manner than has been the case outside the cloud and behind the firewall. I don’t see the monolithic solutions going away, I just see the opportunity for users to have many more choices in the various categories of the EDRM.
CloudNine in Five Year
I am always curious about a founder’s vision and therefore I asked Mr. Jenkins about where he thought ClouldNine would be in five years.
“As our three-time presence on the Inc 5000 list demonstrates we are focused on continued growth. Our company mission is to simplify the discovery process through innovative technology, so we will continue to develop in our core expertise, which includes self-service SaaS and managed cloud hosting,” stated Mr. Jenkins.
If history is any indicator of the future, than CloudNine has a very bright future. However, I would add that with all of the consolidation going on within the eDiscovery market that providers such as CloudNine might in fact be an attractive takeover target (Please note that I am note aware of any pending transactions involving CloudNine. I am merely stating my opinion about its future).
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