Relativity has acquired VerQu, a company which specialises in the migration and capture of communication data for record retention and compliance purposes. The press release is here.
Relativity itself has been constantly evolving to keep up (and enable its clients to keep up) with the ever-changing nature of communications. The last time I had the chance to talk face to face with service providers was at Relativity Fest in 2019. My standard closing question when interviewing them is usually “What Relativity developments and pending developments excite you most?”. The ability to capture and manage comms data, particularly short message data, came top of most feature lists.
I spoke this week to Relativity Chief Product Officer, Chris Brown, and asked him what the VerQu products brought to Relativity’s already advanced capture tools. Part of it is a story familiar to any problem-solver – scraping away one layer immediately reveals others. The 2019 developments were a big leap forward for Relativity’s clients, but solving them brought others to the surface, not least the proliferation of collaboration tools and the vastly increased use of them as pandemic imposed a widely distributed user base. The acquisition of VerQu allows Relativity to jump over the next tier of restraints and friction-points encountered by users trying to capture ever more data from an ever-widening range of sources.
Everything is growing – the range of channels, the number of users, and the volumes rise constantly, and lockdown, with its inevitable distancing between people, has accelerated that. The press release gives some statistics –
In 2020 alone, there were 115M daily average users worldwide using Microsoft Teams and 12M+ users on Slack – where the daily average messages per user per day increased by 20% in 2020. With the nature of work becoming more collaborative across enterprise technology platforms, this data cannot continue to be analyzed like email as teams can lose valuable context and metadata unique to those platforms.
Meanwhile, regulatory requirements have not slackened and the pandemic gives rise to new potential for litigation as well as for investigations. Relativity is already seeing an increase in comms data coming through for analysis and review. Where once there was a lag between the creation of data and the need to collect it, the pressure to capture real-time data for regulatory and compliance purposes (which is what Relativity Trace does) brings the trends to the surface more quickly.
VerQu has three main products – Phoenix for data migrations, Hive
for NetDocuments, and the communication capture platform Hydra.
Hydra allows clients to integrate and connect all internal and external communication channels with connectors for emails, enterprise social, chat, financial messaging platforms, files, and custom content. Their list of platforms includes well-known services like Bloomberg, Slack, Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, but also many names which are less familiar. Keeping up with all this is a major pain for organisations of whatever size.
Capturing the data is only the start – it must be analysed, and served up for review and action. Frank Perrone, Managing Director at VerQu said
“Joining Relativity is a natural next step to evolve how our products ingest data and combine that with a platform that enables users to analyze and act on that data natively. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can all do in e-discovery and surveillance when we integrate the power of our teams and technologies.”
Once integrated, Relativity’s SaaS platform users will be able to treat collaboration data like conversations, integrate with cloud data sources directly, and directly access archives. The press release explains these abilities further.