Summation is one of the older litigation support software companies – it was founded in 1988. It has made a few attempts to break into the UK market but these fizzled out mainly (to my eye) for lack of a local team and the follow-up which that brings. Now it is back here, and this time with proper backing.
I have not seen it properly for a long time – my attempt to do so at LegalTech in New York last year was defeated by one of those glassy-eyed salesmen who look over your shoulder whilst they talk in the hope of seeing a more important customer, and I did not bother to go back this year. Memo to all litigation software salesmen: the very big UK firms already have preferred systems, and the market which will grow lies in the tiers below them. If someone says he speaks for those firms, don’t ignore him, just in case he runs a blog and an information project which reaches out to that market.
Summation is now owned by Wolters Kluwer, which gives it a strong UK and European presence in the legal market – WK are already strong in legal publications, information tools and software. Caitlin Murphy has been appointed as the local business development manager as part of a full commitment to the UK market and the mere fact that she has been given that role suggests a proper level of attention to prospective users.
Their products include Discovery Cracker, – a processing/extraction tool- iBlaze, their ‘behind the firewall’ evidence management platform and flagship product, Enterprise – a SQL backed large case version of iBlaze, and CaseVault, their hosted platform and outsourced EDD processing arm. These are all names which are well-known and it will be interesting to see what the most recent versions look like.
Caitlin has asked me to speak at a seminar in London on 20 May, and I will meet her shortly to find out more about that and about Summation. As always, I will want to know not just about the biggest cases and largest clients, but about how the products scale down to smaller clients with less experienced users. Many of Summation’s 70,000 worldwide users will be in that category. Equally, however, many litigation software applications which one thinks of as being for larger cases – Epiq Systems’ DocuMatrix for example – also compete cost-effectively in that space.
This will be an interesting year, I think. Courts, clients and lawyers are pushing and pulling each other towards the conclusion that the only way to give disclosure of electronic material is electronically, and not just for the bigger cases. The suppliers who can tap into that will do well. The winners will be not necessarily be the cheapest, but those who demonstrate value for money – return on investment is not just an accountant’s catch-phrase. The problem is that few of them make it easy to find out what the investment is, let alone what the return might be.
It will be interesting to see what a properly-backed return to the UK market will do not just for Summation itself but for the market at large. I will tell you more when I know more. Meanwhile, if you want to know about any of these products, just ring them up and ask, or contact me.