Two of the most interesting shifts in the eDiscovery market in recent years are embraced by the words “consolidation” and “integration”. “Consolidation” implies that one company has bought another to fill a gap in its portfolio, to broaden its client-base or to acquire a mixture of skills, IP and markets. “Integration” connotes a technical relationship by which two companies whose strengths lie in different places in the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) work together to ease the movement of data from one to the other.
This gives potential users an interesting set of choices. They can go with a provider whose portfolio covers the full range of eDiscovery functions (probably as a result of a consolidation event) or they can employ a project manager (whether internal or external) to manage the transition from one platform to another. Users are pulled in opposing directions here – there are obvious advantages in having “only one butt to kick” (in that inelegant but useful phrase), and true end-to-end providers can guarantee seamless data transfer; the corollary is the loss of negotiating position between providers and the loss also of the ability to choose the application which is, for whatever reason, the tool of choice for that part of the EDRM for that client. Different cases require different tools depending on the volume, complexity, budget and so on.
The drawback to choosing tools from different stables is the time, cost and technical skill involved in moving data from one place to another. I used to do this for a living and know, perhaps better than most, that there is no universal language which allows seamless movement of data between platforms.
It implies no disrespect to the true end-to-end providers to see the benefits of taking a heavy-duty processing application from one provider and your preferred review application from another. What is needed, however, is a one-stop way of transferring data.
Standing in the exhibit hall at the Masters Conference, I happened to be looking at an iCONECT logo on the Nuix stand – one example of such integration – when I received notification of iCONECTs latest partnering arrangement, with EMC. The logos of both companies appear on my websites as sponsors of the eDisclosure Information Project and I had more than the usual interest in this relationship.
EMC’s SourceOne eDiscovery – Kazeon software suite derives from EMC’s acquisition, some years ago, of the Kazeon processing applications. The integration means that Kazeon can be used to identify, reserve, collect, process and analyse documents and then create pre-formatted load files which can be imported into iCONECT’s XERA eDiscovery review platform. You can easily see what I think of that, because a quotation from me appears at the top of the XERA home page reading as follows:
An interface designed for the Facebook and LinkedIn generation but which nevertheless conveys businesslike efficiency is just what we need. Xera has all that and more
This combination of brute processing power with sophisticated analytics and review is a powerful one. iCONECT’s press release about the deal is here. The most recent EMC SourceOne – Kazeon product announcement is here.