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December 02, 2008

#2009 EDD Predictions

From Dan Regard:

As we wrap up 2008 and move into 2009 we will see a number of new challenges and changes: Penetration into more cases, more do-it-yourself tools, new frontiers into database applications, and new focus on e-discovery management.

Fortunedan First, as litigants become more aware of e-discovery rules and relevance, and as the use of digital information continues to grow in both raw volume and total percentage of the information in an organization, we will see a spread of e-discovery issues to mid-sized and small cases, not just in the large cases. This will increase the pressure for improved ways to relieve the volumes, the costs and the burdens on the court docket system.

Second, law firms and corporations will continue to seek the optimal balance between handling issues in-house and outsourcing to specialty shops. This will be influenced by an increase in the availability (and reliability) of off-the-shelf solutions for processing and profiling standard ESI, balanced with the increased risk of not having a true center of excellence and the dangers related to doing it yourself but getting it wrong.

Third, e-discovery will become more mature and parties will focus on issues beyond e-mail. This means, primarily, enterprise applications. This is especially true as companies continue to integrate systems to improve business efficiencies. The storage of information in non-email and non-document systems will increase the need to get information out of those systems.

Finally, all parties who participate in e-discovery will increase their focus on project management, which has been more responsible for e-discovery disasters to date than any technology gaps or failures. This will be much more than just preservation or the work performed at a single vendor. This will be the work flow management of the entire project.


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If only you could also predict with such acuity whether the Patriots will make the playoffs this year. You are spot on with your predictions related to E-Discovery in 2008 from my vantage. At Symantec we have seen increased demand from our Enterprise Vault email archiving customers looking to add additional content sources. File System Arching and SharePoint archiving are two of the fastest growth areas as clients create a centralized archive of their unstructured data. Instant message and database archiving tools are also seeing strong demand. Renew Data recently added a backup tape ingestion service and Globanet has added Blackberry Pin2Pin archiving capabilities based on demand from customers looking for more content sources in the archive.

I’d like to add a 5th prediction to your list. Organizations will invest in more in tools and processes to facilitate internal investigations. Such an investment can reduce the number of disputes that reach the litigation phase. One doesn't need to look much beyond sports to see this trend developing.

Last year we saw The New England Patriots served with a request by the NFL to produce content related to "Spygate". This was not limited to email and paper documents. In hindsight the NFL may consider investing more in project management as you suggest given the controversy about their handling of the evidence. Around the same time the Mitchell report was published by Major League baseball. This report referenced several email communications between teams about players and was essentially an internal investigation aimed at addressing a festering issues between fans, Congress and the League. Later in the year McLaren’s Formula One team was found to have obtained information about their competition (Ferrari) via email, and text messages, and phone calls.

Whether we are talking sports or finance, large company or small, the ability to manage information assets is critical. E-mail is a well publicized first step but the big picture points to a need for an information risk management strategy that encompasses:

• Data loss prevention as in the case of Ferrari
• E-Discovery and process preparedness in the case of the NFL (and Seattle Sonics)
• Internal investigation capabilities in the case of the Mitchell Report

Proactive management of these areas will reduce the pain large and small organizations feel today related to electronic data and discovery.

Sean Regan
Symantec Enterprise Vault

Just a quick correction to one tiny aspect of Sean's post. Should you wish to follow, that Twitter feed is at:

Nick Wade
Symantec Enterprise Vault

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