Dean Kuhlmann is VP of Business Development at Brainspace. I interviewed him at Legaltech about the way technology is changing search for eDiscovery and and for wider business purposes.
The “story” in Dean Kuhlmann’s interview ends with a senior lawyer running down the corridor in his office after 15 minutes use of Brainspace, urging others to come and see what he is able to do with it. The context is the advances in technology which enable, as he puts it, five million documents to be visible on one screen, and the reduction in the time and labour required to review them. The technology, Dean Kuhlmann says, is not replacing humans but using them to get a lot more done more quickly.
Before looking at the interview itself, it is worth looking at Brainspace and the group of companies of which it is part, because that complements the picture of a very broad funnel at the top and a small pool of very relevant documents at the bottom. That five million documents reduced to a small pool for review is a microcosm of a business group which begins in volume terms with more than 50 data centres worldwide.
Brainspace is part of the Cyxtera group of companies which between them manage, secure, and make available very large populations of documents. Cyxtera owns 57 data centres around the world. Before anything else, therefore, it is an infrastructure company. It goes far beyond that, however, integrating security as a core service and providing other analytics and specialised services for key verticals such as financial services, public sector and health care as well as applications for broader businesses.
Cyxtera’s businesses include Cryptzone, Catbird, and Easy Solutions which between them cover security, compliance, infrastructure visualisation, policy enforcement and the detection and prevention of electronic fraud. Brainspace adds advanced data discovery and analytics, including insider threat detection and defence intelligence capabilities.
The focus of this security model is that the user is at the centre of it – an individual with an IP address in a system which understands who that person is, and the context or contexts in which he or she is working. The security model is adaptive and intelligent, and new rules are set as people change device, get involved in a team or project or in reaction to an attack.
For this to work, you need deep analytics bringing information to administrators as close as possible to real-time. The ability to identify and understand patterns, to react dynamically to change, and to present information in visual form, is an essential component of the Cyxtera model. Those core components – that vast volumes of information, updated dynamically as things change, are presented in easily-assimilated visual form to the user who needs it – is expressed equally in Brainspace.
Brainspace 6, released in September 2017, emphasises this focus on eDiscovery and investigations. It brought new tools for working with email and other human communications, added conversation analysis and email threads for exploring communication trends, and pattern identification. What Brainspace calls Continuous Multimodal Learning integrates with a new tagging system, allowing a user to train the software to recognise multiple topics from within any of the Brainspace 6 visualisations.
This is the context in which I spoke to Dean Kuhlmann about changes in such technology, in the way people use it, and in the effect on the businesses and individuals whose job requires the assimilation of large volumes quickly.
In the early days of computer search, review required very large numbers of people going through the whole pile of collected documents and winnowing them down by what was effectively a computerised version of a manual process. Dean Kuhlmann says that machine learning has changed the whole approach to this. Instead, we have “a handful of people doing smart things”. Dean Kuhlmann is careful to stress that this is not just the replacement of people with technology. Brainspace called the process “augmenting intelligence”, taking information, reorganising it, and giving the “good stuff” to the people who need it, helping them to join the dots between disparate sources, and to bring the results faster to those who need them. These might be the same people or a new breed of person with different skills – Dean Kuhlmann stresses that people are still needed, but a lot more gets done much more quickly.
The business focus is on making technology simple to use, especially for those who have not worked this way before – the ability, as Dean Kuhlmann puts it, to put “5 million documents on one screen” and to present it in a useful and informative way. This is significant, especially when reaching an audience which is not used to working that way. No one ever wants to go back, Dean Kuhlmann says. He has seen senior lawyers converted to the idea within 15 minutes and “running down the hallway” to get others to see what they are doing.