This is one of a set of posts about the content and the discussion at ILTA 2014 in Nashville. Originally intended as a single post, the result was too long for that and I decided to split them up. See also ILTA 2014 – the context and the logistics.
I remember an ILTA of long ago – 2008, perhaps, or 2009. There were lots of shiny new stands there – small ones on the whole, with unfamiliar names, manned by people I had never seen before. I had a sudden chill feeling, a certainty that most of these fledgling companies wouldn’t last till Christmas. I recall none of their names now.
Many eDiscovery businesses have gone since then, swallowed up by others or just disappeared. A few have arrived, mostly selling litigation support services, though a couple of new software companies have defied predictions (mine included) and seem to be thriving through a combination of good product and good marketing.
Eddie Sheehy of Nuix looks at the future of litigation support vendors in the context of ILTA 2013 in his article 5 pathways for successful litigation support vendors in 2014.
The number of customers is not growing, he says, so companies can only increase their market share at the expense of others. Apart from obvious things like a record of solid competent performance at good prices, LSVs need to add value by providing new and collateral services.
These include investigations, privacy, cybersecurity, records management, storage management and data migration. Eddie Sheehy picks on cybersecurity and information governance as areas of growth meaning, in this context, activities which are increasingly seen as non-optional.
That may mean lower volumes to deal with in the future, but if you don’t offer these services then someone else (and probably Nuix) will do it anyway. There are messages for law firms here, as well as for litigation support vendors.
Privacy, security, governance and discovery are traditionally thought of as discrete topics, the responsibility of different people and falling on different budgets. David Cowen of The Cowen Group has covered this in an article called The convergence of privacy, security, governance and discovery. He says:
ILTA 2014 reinforced my thinking that the future of eDiscovery is dynamically intertwined with privacy, security and governance.
That has certain inevitable consequences for law firms and their clients as well as for those who provide services to them. My recurring theme in this series is that we are going to need new people with a different array of skills, and there are not many of them.