What does bringing eDiscovery in-house look like today?

605Once enterprises had caught their breath following the big bang of the 2006 US federal rules changes that ostensibly created the eDiscovery market, they’ve been looking at ways of bringing the eDiscovery process in-house and thus hopefully reducing their costs and gaining more control.

When I was an analyst at 451 Research our 2010 annual eDiscovery report was subtitled ‘Bringing it all back home,’ as that was when we started to hear from enterprises and vendors of their desire to do just that. As ever the vendors’ desire to see this happen was a fair bit out over the skis of the enterprises themselves, but the direction was set and eDiscovery was on its way to becoming a key business process within enterprises and government departments.

Four years on, this practice is putting pressure on law firms, legal process outsourcers and managed service providers – those that benefitted when outsourcing eDiscovery was the norm among enterprises. I’ve seen this happen up-close, as an eDiscovery product marketing executive and now as an independent consultant. A couple of examples spring to mind.

While I was at Recommind we won a deal with a large Europe-based – but global – bank. The initial discussions were focused on records management and the desire to delete unwanted information in a defensible way. This parlayed into eDiscovery and the bank ended up investing a significant amount in Recommind’s technology. It was a classic case of a highly regulated global organisation grappling with information sprawl, but also one paying large sums to LPOs in the US, which it wanted to reduce and instead invest in its own eDiscovery and information governance infrastructure. Outside counsel will still be involved due to the volume and nature of the litigation and regulatory investigations the bank faces.  

Separately, I was recently engaged by a quite different sort of organisation facing eDiscovery challenges. This is a US retailer – a household name in that country –  which is not facing as many regulatory challenges or as much litigation as the bank, but is more focused on managing its costs, as its core business is being disrupted by internet-based retailers and changes in shopping habits. While the volume of litigation and the average data volumes involved in each case are much lower, there are enough cases each year to make cost and efficiency savings by bringing eDiscovery in-house. In addition to cutting back on outside counsel, the retailer is also taking its first steps towards information governance and thus will be choosing its eDiscovery technology with that in mind.

Two quite different organisations, with different challenges but a similar goal in mind: bringing eDiscovery back home. If this is something you’re grappling with, I can help.

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