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Key Criteria for Evaluating E-Discovery Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. E-discovery Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Sue Clarke

1. Summary

E-discovery software manages the process of proactively preserving, discovering, collecting, reviewing, producing, and presenting electronically stored information (ESI), including records for legal or regulatory proceedings and requirements. It has become increasingly important over the past few years, as companies and individuals have become more litigious and increasing legislation and resulting regulations around the world dictate that digital data should be discoverable.

With data volumes growing exponentially and comprising much of the evidence in litigation and other discovery requests, it is impossible to address those requests using standard software such as search tools. Discovery can involve finding the proverbial needle in the haystack, often searching millions of items of content to find a single file or small group of them, so specialized e-discovery tools have become a “must have” for enterprises handling discovery requests.

E-discovery now reaches far beyond traditional data repositories such as documents, emails, drawings, faxes, and correspondence to encompass video, audio, photographic images, social media posts, and other internet-based content. It can include video surveillance material, phone call audio files, and video conference data.

E-discovery software users comprise two distinct categories. The first includes those in an organization responsible for the initial search to locate information that could be relevant to the case or matter. These searches are often conducted in-house and may include some initial culling to filter out obviously irrelevant content. The remaining data is then generally passed on to an external law firm to review, process, and produce the final data set. This is the second category of users, although this work may be performed by in-house counsel in large enterprises.

This division of labor meant that e-discovery vendors in the past tended to develop tools that addressed either the search and collection of data or the review, analysis, and production of the final data sets. Recently, however, some vendors have extended their offerings to provide end-to-end capabilities.

The technology is also advancing to support additional capabilities that address new needs. For example, more media and sources of data are accepted in litigation today, including video, audio, and social media sites. Today’s e-discovery tools must support the search, collection, and review of these sources. Additionally, vendors have begun to make it easier and quicker for users to review data because initial data sets can comprise millions of individual data items. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are playing an increasingly important role in helping to automate at least some of the review process. In the future, blockchains may become another data source that a judge decides should be admissible as evidence, and e-discovery solutions will need to be capable of gathering data from it. Similarly, when the metaverse finally emerges, data generated within virtual worlds will need to be collectable as potential evidence.

This is the second year that GigaOm has reported on the e-discovery space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an effective e-discovery solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those capabilities and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading e-discovery offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.