With the typical Fortune 1000 firm now having over 5 petabytes of data, including SharePoint and social media, large enterprises can benefit from having a single “source of truth” or system of record for eDiscovery. Instead of having to collect, search and analyze data from multiple repositories, an centralized system can allow legal, records management, and IT staff to automatically connect to those repositories and make them accessible for both custodian-based ICP (identification, collection, and preservation) as well as matter-based ICP and matter-based culling. Barry Murphy, an industry analyst and thought leader, notes that while “no one category of [information management] solution has yet to emerge as the big eDiscovery winner:”
Where I see a lot of interest now is in archiving all the high-volume, user-generated content, [...] the information deemed necessary could be archived [...] and the archive could become the eDiscovery system of record. – Barry Murphy
The interest in archive software partially relates to the suitable of archive software to the large scale information management needed to cover records / retention management, preservation, and search.
- Advantages for Archives: Archives generally provides information management capabilities for the largest and most interesting source of ESI, email, along with other user-generated content such as file servers and collaboration systems. Many can already scale to document quantities managed by companies in the target market, have retention management, and legal hold / preservation capabilities. Already, many leading organizations are looking to archives streamline their eDiscovery process through proactive management. Leading archives such as ZL Unified Archive® are now moving beyond simple archiving to support a “fast reactive” eDiscovery using manage in place and automated collection capabilities.
While other solution categories may partially meet the needs of organizational eDiscovery, there are some significant technical, core competency challenges facing them:
- Challenges for ECM Solutions: ECM solutions have traditionally been focused on managing the life cycle of smaller quantities of ESI, such as ESI specifically tied to workflows managed by the ECM solution or EIS that has been designated as a record from a records management perspective. Typically, both consist of drastically smaller quantities of ESI than may be needed for eDiscovery, so while ECM solutions may provide a good workflow, they face significant scalability challenges for managing the quantities of data in some of the larger enterprises.
- Challenges for Collection Tools: Collection tools are generally more scalable and handle larger quantities of data, but they do not “manage the data” in place from a records and retention management perspective involving classification, retention, disposition, and deletion management.
- Challenges for Review Tools: Many legal teams are most familiar with eDiscovery review tools as they spend a large amount of their time reviewing documents, while relying on IT teams to collect documents they review. Review tools generally do a good job of searching and marketing smaller quantities of documents with typical eDiscovery cases ranging from 100,000s of documents upwards to 2 million documents. However, they do not have the records and retention management capabilities needed, nor do they typically scale to the hundreds of millions and billions of documents that exist in larger organizations.
This is not to say the information management market for the eDiscovery system of record has been decided, but that certain application classes may have more advantages than others and and these should be carefully considered when seeking a solution.