6 Signs you need to switch from your current eDiscovery platform

  • September 12, 2018
  • by Minoo Razavi

Do you feel as if you are forever playing catch-up with eDiscovery? As if the more you struggle to meet eDiscovery challenges head on, the harder the ground you’re standing on tries to suck you under?

That’s because on-premises eDiscovery platforms and siloed technologies mire your progress like quicksand. These solutions don’t adapt well to today’s ever-changing conditions. They may address specific issues, but they fail to meet your most basic needs for growth. In fact, the more you grow, the more you pay in fees and charges.

On the other hand, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) eDiscovery platforms offer cost savings, flexibility, and security. SaaS technologies are designed to provide affordable scalability. If you suspect your current eDiscovery platform is holding you back, look for these six signs that you’re heading deeper into the quicksand, and learn how a SaaS platform solves the same challenges while helping you progress toward eDiscovery success.

1. You experience repetitive, costly maintenance issues.

These issues stem from the fact that most on-premises eDiscovery platforms are expensive to maintain. With the speed of technology innovation being what it is, your on-premises solution also becomes dated very quickly. The repetitive need for testing, deployment of patches, and software version upgrades is one reason annual vendor maintenance and tech support fees are so high. These activities are also disruptive to business operations and a drain on your IT team. Yet, you have to wait for software improvements, which are offered perhaps once yearly. As the amount of data grows, pressure on computing capacity and speed builds and your system’s efficiency decreases.

The overall decrease in efficiency leads to an increase in your platform’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The TCO of a platform derives from the upfront pricing combined with the long-term maintenance costs. Calculations include direct costs such as hardware, software, and vendor fees. They also include indirect costs such as training, downtime, and other intangibles. In fact, most IT costs occur after initial purchase.

An on-premises eDiscovery platform requires initial and ongoing expenses and recurring fees such as:

Initial Expenses:

  • Purchase servers and supporting infrastructure
  • Software installation cost and downtime
  • Staff training

Recurring Fees:

  • Vendor annual maintenance fees
  • Vendor tech support fees
  • User seats or licenses

Ongoing Expenses:

  • Computing power and cooling
  • Physical space
  • Data backup and storage
  • Additional IT staff and duties

A SaaS platform eliminates the majority of these costs while simultaneously reducing disruption. Generally, you need only a laptop and access to the internet to make use of all its offerings. The vendor is responsible for all software maintenance. Updates are instant, giving you immediate access to new features.

In fact, one of the biggest benefits of cloud-based eDiscovery platforms is that they decrease TCO, especially after you factor in the additional cost savings they bring in streamlining review and production.

Why so much focus on costs? Because recent trends show they matter. Law department leaders are doing more to improve internal efficiencies, manage outside resources, and control costs. General counsel and compliance officers cite controlling costs, including the management of eDiscovery spending, as a critical issue in their litigation departments.

They turn to technology to make necessary improvements. Altman Weil’s 2017 Chief Legal Officer Survey showed that the most frequently used efficiency tactic in law departments is a greater use of technology tools, named by 58% of all respondents and by 81% of departments with over 50 lawyers. Meanwhile, Altman Weil’s 2018 Law Firms in Transition Survey revealed that 70% of law firms are losing business to corporate law departments in-sourcing legal work.

Whether you’re an in-house legal team member looking to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, or a law firm leader who recognizes the need to offer more value through effective eDiscovery services to corporate clients, SaaS eDiscovery platforms are an important strategy for meeting your goals.

2. You’re adding endless tools to your system.

Many vendors say they offer “end-to-end” eDiscovery technologies. Only later do you discover that the capabilities you need are only available at an additional cost.  TAR, analytics, or Artificial Intelligence are imperative to any discovery workflow but when it comes to your eDiscovery solution, they’re either add-ons or not even included in the software you purchased.  Your vendor may suggest add-ons to your current system. Or, you may purchase and integrate other software tools on your own. Every option requires more work and more expense.

The fragmented approach is not only costly but also creates inefficiencies and introduces risks not experienced with a truly end-to-end solution. For example, integrating various apps and software requires additional time and resources, especially when compatibility issues arise. As data migrates to and from multiple tools, risks for spoliation arise. Data security and privacy risks increase. Tracking activities that include multiple data transfers makes defensibility much more difficult as well.

With an all-in-one platform, you complete the entire eDiscovery process, from collection to production, using one platform. You have access to the latest technology and innovation all in one place. Informative dashboard, reporting options, faster technology-assisted review, more automated processes, and advanced data analytics seamlessly side by side.

3. You’re paying extra fees to complete your projects.

As if all those add-ons weren’t inefficient enough, they include added cost. You incur additional fees to meet your project needs. Vendors often charge additional fees for basic needs like creating TIFF images or performing OCR on documents. Worse, they sometimes charge rush fees to complete tasks more quickly. eDiscovery moves at the speed of litigation and it is frustrating to be charged additional fees simply to complete necessary tasks.

The all-in-one characteristic of SaaS eDiscovery platforms extends to costs as well. Every capability and every option is covered in one price with clear parameters on the features included. And, improvements occur without disrupting your business because with a SaaS platform, new features can be automatically added to your existing framework.

4. Growth is restricted by user-license fees.

eDiscovery is a core part of modern litigation that often requires additional personnel, the hiring of contract attorneys, and collaboration with outside parties. But the high cost of additional user-license fees associated in some eDiscovery tools restricts your abilities to work with others. Incurring additional licensing fees every time you need to add a user severely limits your ability to scale, throttling the fuel source for growth.

An eDiscovery platform with unlimited user licensing can scale with your company’s caseload and project needs. Common pricing models include subscription services and charges based on usage or access to features. Fluctuations in personnel needed to manage each project no longer cause additional expenses; nor do they leave you with extra seats you’ve paid for but no longer use.

5. You receive subpar vendor support.

eDiscovery vendors typically offer tech support. Unfortunately, it is sometimes provided by support staff with limited exposure to litigation, eDiscovery processes or even the technology they’re supposed to support. Representatives also frequently change, which means you’re always working with someone who isn’t familiar with your business or the matters you handle.

Your eDiscovery vendor should provide consistent support from professionals who know more than just how the software functions. Representatives who are also attorneys or legal industry veterans, experienced in litigation and eDiscovery provide the higher level of care necessary to support your process. Dedicated project managers and technologists guided by strict quality protocols during data collection, review, analysis, and production understand your needs and how to meet them.

6. Your data and systems are exposed to security risks.

Extensive data breaches regularly fill the news cycles. Constant security is paramount for data integrity in eDiscovery. An on-premises software places the entire burden on your internal IT team.

Cloud technologies offer 24/7 protection from intrusions and breaches using the most recent security updates available. The ability to maintain distinct identity and access control is key when defensibility issues are at stake. Your eDiscovery vendor should be able to demonstrate complete compliance with all data privacy and security regulations in every district, state and nation in which you do business.

It’s imperative to identify the security accreditations at all levels of your eDiscovery platform: the company, the data center, and the web application levels. Accreditation or certification for one level does not mean the vendor is certified in others as well.

Encryption should be practiced at all levels. Maintaining the latest ISO 27001:2013 Certification across both the company and the data center level is another marker for solid security. SOC 2 Type II Accreditation at both levels is essential.

The fiduciary responsibility for you and your clients’ data must not be taken lightly. Instead of burdening your internal IT staff, let your service provider put their team of experts on it. Ensure that their people, processes, and technology are all secure.

Progress with a true end-to-end solution

Do you recognize your business in any of these situations? These are common indications that your eDiscovery needs are not being met effectively:

  1. You experience repetitive, costly maintenance issues.
  2. You’re adding yet another tool to your system.
  3. You’re paying extra fees to complete your projects.
  4. Growth is restricted by user-license fees.
  5. You receive subpar vendor support.
  6. Your data and systems are exposed to security risks

If so, it’s time to take a look at the benefits of a truly end-to-end SaaS eDiscovery platform. Streamlined processes, increased efficiencies, lower total costs, and better support are just a few of the advantages law firms and in-house counsel experience when they make the switch. And you’ll be relieved to finally move forward on solid ground.

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