Zoom to Predictive Coding

Predictive coding has captured the imagination of the eDiscovery market.    As a result, my daily conversations with members of the legal departments of the global 2000 and the eDiscovery professionals within the major law firms now  routinely include questions about how predictive coding works, what predictive coding technologies are available and which predictive coding vendors I recommend.  Therefore, in an effort to better serve my curious client base, I caught up with Warwick Sharp,  co-founder and Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Equivio, to learn more about their predictive coding platform.

Founded in 2004 in Israel, Equivio began by developing and marketing near-duping and email thread management software. Its acquired a wide variety of clients, including hundreds of law firms, corporations, government entities and consulting organizations throughout the world.  Its client base includes the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, KPMG and Deloitte.  In addition, Equivio technology has also been a favorite integration partner among other litigation software vendors such as kCura and many of the well known litigation service providers.

In early 2009, Equivio made the gutsy decision to enter the unknown and highly under appreciated predictive coding wilderness with Relevance, its standalone predictive coding platform.  Along with a handful of other predictive coding pioneers such as Recommind, Orcatec and Xerox, Equivio set out to convince the legal community that this new software with its complex mathematical algorithms and confusing statistical models could do a better (i.e. more statistically significant) job of identifying relevant documents than human reviewers.  And, although I haven’t asked Equivio about the early financial returns on this bet, I would suspect that the initial missionary marketing efforts were tough and didn’t produce a financial return on their investment.  However, Equivio didn’t give up.  And, with the recent landmark court decision by Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck on the Da Silva Moore case opening the flood gates for the legal tolerance for computer assisted review (aka predictive coding), they are now well positioned as one of the few legacy players in the predictive coding market.

On January 23, 2012 Equivio launched Zoom, a single integrated platform for predictive coding and analytics.  As reported in their initial press release, Zoom combines Equivio’s best-of-breed near-duplicates, email threads and Relevance components together with data import and export, early case assessment and enriched analytics. These components are seamlessly integrated on a unified web-based platform for easy access and use.  This past week, I had a chance to spend some time with Warwick and see Zoom in action.

My first impression of Zoom is that it has an extremely intuitive and attractive web-based user interface that provides an easy to understand workflow management system to lead users through the process of collection, processing, analytics, first pass review with predictive coding and export. Support for collection, processing and initial culling appear to meet or maybe even exceed industry requirements to prepare data for initial review.

From a more detailed standpoint, Zoom enables users to extract text and metadata from raw ingest and generates data profiles for Early Case Assessment (ECA).  It then enables users to subject the data to multi-layered analysis, including de-duping, near-duping, email thread management and language detection. Zoom’s search environment also supports keyword analysis and metadata faceting.

From a predictive coding perspective, Zoom enables litigators to efficiently “train the system” to identify and assess documents for responsiveness and privilege with little or no knowledge beyond standard online document review best practices.  The platform displays the complex, yet required, predictive coding statistics with easy to understand graphics and even provides users with the cost of review for the current level of statistical significance and the cost projections for increasing that percentage.  Finally, Zoom exports native files, full text and metadata to the user’s review platform of choice.  Please note that I have not tested the viability of Zoom’s predictive coding accuracy and therefore, for the purpose of this initial review, I am taking Equivio’s word that it meets or exceeds expectations for computer assisted document identification and that the results would hold up in court.

I have designed, tested and used literally hundreds of Web-based applications over the years and I would rate Zoom among the best for easily guiding the user through a fairly complex process and providing an initial positive experience.

And although Warwick was reluctant to position Zoom as an Early Case Assessment (ECA) tool, I believe that Zoom does in fact have the foundational architecture, features and a workflow that can mature into a formidable competitor in the ECA market.  Whether or not Zoom fulfills this destiny will of course be up to Equivio and how they decide to position and market their new product.
Given my position as an impartial industry analyst with the responsibility of being a trusted advisor to my clients and because there are other noteworthy predictive coding platforms on the market from vendors such as Recommind, Orcatec and Xerox, I am reticent to declare Zoom as the leading predictive coding platform in the industry.

And, given the fact that eDiscovery Solutions Group, in  partnership with DCIG, will be including Equivio in its 2012 Early Case Assessment Interactive Buyer’s Guide available in May 2012 and the 2012 Predictive Coding Interactive Buyers Guide available later this summer, buyers will have all of the objective information that they require to make their own decisions.

However, after my initial review, Zoom should definitely be on any buyer’s short list of next generation eDiscovery platforms as it definitely provides the culling and analytics required for serious Early Case Assessment (ECA) and integrates an attractive and competent predictive coding component.

For a more detailed overview of Zoom, you can contact me at: productbriefings@ediscoverysolutionsgroup.com.

For more information on Equivio and Zoom, please visit: http://www.equivio.com/.

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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.