Looking at my headline for this article, I see that its necessary brevity includes two implied assumptions, neither of which is necessarily accurate. The “as” which connects the two halves of the headline (“Nuix snaps up… as 7Safe falls”) implies that one of the two events (and it could be either) was a consequence of the other, whereas this could be a coincidence (a similar point arose when Jack Halprin moved from Autonomy to Google seconds before the HP-Autonomy acquisition was announced). The shorthand expression “falls to” implies reluctance (the expression properly belongs in the world of hostile bids), whereas this may, for all I know, be the culmination of a long term strategy.
It is only when you come to write headlines that you see how boxed-in you are by the need both to catch the eye and to maximise the power of Google’s indexes. A completely different impression could have been given by reversing the order of the words – “PA consulting snaps up 7Safe as Jim Kent falls to Nuix as MD Europe” would give a completely different emphasis.
Back to the stories. Nuix is a fast-growing provider of eDiscovery, electronic investigation and information governance software. It has the same problem as every other major player in the eDiscovery / eDisclosure market – there are not enough good people out there with the appropriate skills to give clients the support and advice that they need. There is not time for them to grow their own and, in any event, the grey hairs of experience are in shortest supply. They can be found only by recruiting from rivals or from other sectors.
Jim Kent (Dr James Kent where formality is required) brings more than the experience set out on the Nuix press release and more, even, than being one of the nicest people in the industry. Some years ago, I was bowled a forensic question by a law firm which needed an urgent answer. I e-mailed everyone I knew on the train home, and Jim’s helpful reply came back by return. He attended a meeting to pitch for the work the following day and, although the case settled the day after that, would almost certainly have got it, as much for the speed of his response as for the helpfulness of his answer. Nuix (and everyone else) needs people like this as the corollary to the advice given to law firms that they should just pick up the phone as soon as an eDisclosure problem arises.
Jim’s move follows the departure last year of 7Safe’s ex-Clifford Chance eDisclosure consultant Adam Page who moved to Control Risks – a company which is building up a strong eDiscovery / eDisclosure expertise in more than one jurisdiction. It is a tribute to 7Safe’s reputation that its senior people are in such demand.
That is presumably what PA Consulting had in mind when deciding to buy 7Safe – the web site has links to the details. This market consolidation was wholly predictable (and, indeed, was widely predicted, even if the identity of the buyers was not necessarily obvious). This week also brought the announcement that CY4OR has bought eOrigin and, in a slightly different story, that Recommind has taken on Nick Patience of the 451 Group, something I will write about separately.
I hope to find out more about the PA / 7Safe story in due course and will come back to it.