Anacomp has sold its MVS Division to DecisionOne in order to focus on eDiscovery with its document review application CaseLogistix and the services which go with it. 2010 should be the right year to concentrate on eDiscovery
You would probably expect me to be an advocate of specialisation, and of sticking to what you know about. What do you do?, people ask. I am involved in a small sub-set of the procedural requirements for civil litigation, I say. They yawn. There’s more, I say. I know about a specific aspect of the use of technology for information retrieval and review. They look around for someone else to talk to. No, listen, I say, the intersection between these two subjects is really interesting and important. Their head hits the table. There is only a handful of us in the world who just write and talk about it, I add, as I try to shake them awake. Gone.
I exaggerate, a little. That is, however, the way the world is going as life becomes more complicated and information-rich. If you practice law or medicine, manufacture things, teach or join the military, the trend is towards finding something you are good at and which people want to buy, and doing it well. There are exceptions – people or businesses who find skills or niches which complement what they do already or to which they can bring a team and a process which they have developed in their main business. The word consolidation can imply two opposite ideas – adding complementary business areas or bringing your main fire-power to bear on one target.
Anacomp’s sale of its MVS division to DecisionOne has both of these elements depending whose viewpoint you take. DecisionOne is bullish about its “organic growth strategy of acquiring businesses in its core areas of operation” which they describe as “providing superior, low-cost IT support services”, and welcomes the addition of Anacomp’s data centre customers.
Anacomp, meanwhile, wants to focus on the eDiscovery opportunities which opened up when it bought the widely-respected data review platform CaseLogistix which has, in a short time, become central to its business. Howard Dratler, Anacomp’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Our decision to divest the MVS division was a result of our strategy to refocus on the company’s core business of providing eDiscovery, litigation support and information management services and solutions to government, corporate and law firm customers”.
In the UK, that focus has led to relationships such as the one I reported recently with 7Safe (see Strategic alliance allows 7Safe to host Anacomp’s CaseLogistix), a powerful combination of UK forensic expertise, local hosting and world-class review tools. I will have the opportunity to find out more about this at LegalTech in New York in February. Jeff Friedman, Anacomp’s Senior Product Director for litigation support, is leading a session on Tuesday 2 February with the heading What’s Next: Emerging Technology and a Defensible Process in 2010 and Beyond. Those in the UK who have attached little significance hitherto to defensible processes will be thinking again (I hope) after the decision in Earles v Barclays Bank Plc  EWHC 2500 (Mercantile). 7Safe will also be at LegalTech, emphasising the benefit to US clients of the combined service and software operation.
Anacomp’s decision to focus on CaseLogistix and the e-Discovery / e-Disclosure market pre-dated the recent Gartner report on the E-Discovery Software Marketplace is set to Continue High-growth Pace (and my post about it here). If Gartner is right (and what they say accords with the general feel which I am getting from several quarters), that decision looks a prudent one.