Previewing Information Management in 2012

Every New Year affords us the opportunity to dust down our collective crystal balls and predict what we think will be the key trends and technologies dominating our respective coverage areas over the coming 12 months.We at 451 Research just published our 2012 Preview report; at almost 100 pages it’s a monster, but offers some great insights across twelve technology subsectors, spanning from managed hosting and the future of cloud to the emergence of software-defined networking and solid state storage; and everything in between. The report is available to both 451Research clients and non-clients (in return for a few details); access the landing page here.  There’s a press release of highlights here. Also, mark your diaries for a webinar discussing report highlights on Thursday Feb 9 at noon ET, which will be open for clients and non-clients to attend. Registration details to follow soon…

Here are a selection of key takeaways from the first part of the Information Management preview, which focuses on information governance, ediscovery, search, collaboration and file sharing. (Matt Aslett will be posting highlights of part 2, which focuses more on data management and analytics, shortly.)

  • One of the most obvious common themes that will continue to influence technology spending decisions in the coming year is the impact of continued explosive data and information growth.  This  continues to shape new legal frameworks and technology stacks around information governance and e-discovery, as well as to drive a new breed of applications growing up around what we term the ‘Total Data’ landscape.
  • Data volumes and distributed data drive the need for more automation and auto-classification capabilities will continue to emerge more successfully in e-discovery, information governance and data protection veins — indeed, we expect to see more intersection between these, as we noted in a recent post.
  • The maturing of the cloud model – especially as it relates to file sharing and collaboration, but also from a more structured database perspective – will drive new opportunities and challenges for IT professionals in the coming year.  Looks like 2012 may be the year of ‘Dropbox for the enterprise.’
  • One of the big emerging issues that rose to the fore in 2011, and is bound to get more attention as the New Year proceeds, is around the dearth of IT and business skills in some of these areas, without which the industry at large will struggle to harness and truly exploit the attendant opportunities.
  • The changes in information management in recent years have encouraged (or forced) collaboration between IT departments, as well as between IT and other functions. Although this highlights that many of the issues here are as much about people and processes as they are about technology, the organizations able to leap ahead in 2012 will be those that can most effectively manage the interaction of all three.
  • We also see more movement of underlying information management infrastructures into the applications arena.  This is true with search-based applications, as well as in the Web-experience management vein, which moves beyond pure Web content management.  And while Microsoft SharePoint continues to gain adoption as a base layer of content-management infrastructure, there is also growth in the ISV community that can extend SharePoint into different areas at the application-level.

There is a lot more in the report about proposed changes in the e-discovery arena, advances of the cloud, enterprise search and impact of mobile devices and bring-your-device-to-work on information management.

DLP and e-discovery: two sides of the same governance coin?

We commented recently on Symantec’s acquisition of cloud archiving specialist LiveOffice. The announcement also afforded Big Yellow an opportunity to unveil what it calls “Intelligent Information Governance;” an over-arching theme that provides the context for some of the product-level integrations it has been working on. For example, it just announced improved integration between its Clearwell eDiscovery suite and its on-premise archive software, EnterpriseVault (stay tuned for more on this following LegalTech later this month).

There’s clearly an opportunity to go deeper than product-level ‘integration,’ however.  In a blog post, Symantec VP Brian Dye raised an issue that we have been seeing for a while, especially among some of our larger end-user clients. In the post, Brian discusses the fundamental contention that all of us – from individuals to corporations to governments — face around information governance — striking the right balance between control of information and freedom of information.

Software has emerged to help us manage this contention, most typically through data loss prevention (DLP) tools – to control what data does and doesn’t leave the organization — and eDiscovery and records management tools, to control what data is retained, and for how long. Brian noted that there is an opportunity to do much more here by linking the two sides of what is in many ways the same coin, for example by sharing the classification schemes used to define and manage critical and confidential information.

This is an idea that we have discussed at length internally, with some of our larger end-user clients, and with a good few security and IM vendors. Notably, many vendors responded by telling us that, though a good idea in principle, in reality organizations are too siloed to get value from such capabilities; DLP is owned and operated by the security team, while eDiscovery is managed by legal, records management and technology teams. While some of the end-users we have discussed this with are certainly siloed to a point, they are also working to address this issue by developing a more collaborative approach, establishing cross-functional teams, and so on.

A cynic would point out that some self interest might be at play here too from a vendor perspective; why sell one integrated product to a company when you can sell them essentially the same technology twice. But of course, we’re not the remotest bit cynical (!)  There is also the reality that at most large vendors, product portfolios have been put together at least in part by acquisitions.  Security and e-discovery products may be sold separately because they are, in fact, separate products with little to no integration in terms of products or sales organizations.  And vendors may not yet be motivated to do the hard integration work (technically, organizationally), if they are not seeing consistent enough demand from consolidated buying teams at large organizations.

Wendy Nather, Research Director of our security practice, notes that such integration is desirable;

– Users don’t WANT to have meta-thoughts about their data; they just want to get their work done, which is why it’s hard to implement a user-driven classification process for DLP or for governance.  The alternative is a top-down implementation, and that would work even better with only one ‘top’ — that is, the security and legal teams working from the same integrated page.

However, Wendy also notes that such an approach is itself not without complexity;

– Confidential data can be highly contextual in nature (for example, when data samples get small enough to identify individuals, triggering HIPAA or FERPA); you need advanced analytics on top of your DLP to trigger a re-classification when this happens.  Why, you might even call this Data Event Management (DEM).

It’s notable that Symantec is now starting to talk up the notion of a unified, or converged approach to data classification. Of course, it is one of the better-positioned vendors to take advantage here, given its acquisitions in both DLP (Vontu in 2007) and eDiscovery (Clearwell in 2011), while LiveOffice adds some intriguing options for doing some of this in the cloud (especially if merged with its hosted security offerings from MessageLabs).

Nonetheless, we look forward to hearing more from Symantec — and others — about progress here through 2012. Indeed, if you are attending LegalTech in New York in a couple of weeks, then our eDiscovery analyst David Horrigan would love to hear your thoughts. Additionally, senior security analyst Steve Coplan will be taking a longer look at the convergence of data management and security in his upcoming report on “The Identities of Data.”

In other words, this is a topic that we’re expending a fair amount of energy on ourselves; watch this space!

New e-Discovery report published

We have just published our annual report on the e-Discovery and e-Disclosure industries. This year we’ve subtitled the report ‘Crossing Clouds and Continents.’

This reflects a couple of the main themes of the report that are directly related: the rise of cloud computing within e-Discovery and the effect it has on those involved in e-Discovery in terms of how much simpler it makes it to store data in all sorts of locations. That of course then rasises issues of who is responsisble for that data and under  what jurisduction it falls. Other issues we focus on in the report include:

  • Changes in the legal sector in the US & UK
  • In-sourcing & out-sourcing of e-Discovery by corporations and law firms
  • European e-Discovery
  • Social media
  • Bribery, corruption & fraud
  • Products & technologies, mapped to EDRM and beyond
  • User case studies in healthcare, law & government (financial regulators)
  • M&A – both the recent surge and a look ahead to what’s next
  • Profiles of 30+ software and service providers

To find out more about it and how to get a copy, you can visit this page or contact myself directly.

Introducing a new 451 analyst – David Horrigan

I’m very pleased to be able to announce that we have a new analyst at The 451 Group covering e-Discovery and information governance.

His name is David Horrigan and he will be covering the e-Discovery and information governance markets as part of our information management practice.

He is both a practitioner, having been engaged in numerous e-Discovery projects, as well as professional writer and public speaker in the legal technology market.

Here’s his bio, which is also on our website:

As an attorney and longtime legal technology writer, David brings both law firm experience and years of technology writing to his analysis of these growing industries. He will be advising clients of The 451 Group on the rapid changes in e-discovery as corporations and law firms keep pace with ever-increasing legal and regulatory requirements for information management.

Prior to joining The 451 Group, David served as Assistant Editor and Staff Reporter at The National Law Journal and as a columnist for Law Technology News, writing the long-running Technology on Trial column.

His legal experience in the technology sector includes serving as Counsel for Intellectual Property and Technology Policy at the Entertainment Software Association, and as Director of Legislative and Regulatory Policy at the Magazine Publishers of America.

David has also managed e-discovery projects for the international law firm Covington & Burling LLP, and counseled Brown University on the implementation of its e-discovery and records governance policies.

David holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston. He is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.

We welcome David to our team and you can follow him on Twitter at @davidhorrigan

LegalTech 2011 thoughts

This year’s main LegalTech show is now over – three days in wintry New York City and all the challenges that brings. Before I head back to London, here are my quick thoughts.

I managed to shoehorn 24 meetings into my time at the Hilton and only managed to see one session, Chris Dale’s judge’s panel at the end, which was performed as a play, and very good it was too!  Not sure if anyone managed to get a picture of Judge Simon Brown brandishing a copy of e-Discovery for Dummies (he was making a point, rather than consulting it for advice, obviously!) but it would make for an amusing image.

I initially was swamped with vendors showing me new user interfaces rather than underlying innovations in their engines, however there were a few innovative things to note. I’ll put more of that in a longer note for our clients shortly.

I was struck by the number of software and service providers landing or expanding in the UK. They clearly see it as a growth opportunity in itself and of course a bridgehead to the broader EU market. They’re also curious about the risks and opportunities caused by the introduction in April of the UK Bribery Act.

Service providers are placing a bit less emphasis on self-built technology in the past, more settling on the best of breed tools.

Billing by the hour is passé it is almost all volume based pricing, or at least volume-based or flat rate pricing is almost always offered.
On the technology front, if your processing engine can’t process 1TB a day, you’re falling behind the curve.

And coming back to the user interface point at the start. It’s worth remembering amongst all this technology that for many lawyers, a new UI is what they really need right now. They are finding it hard to keep up with the latest text analysis tools and are being assaulted from so many angles with technology, competition, the threat to their business caused by in-sourcing of e-Discovery that some really do want just a well-designed user interface on their review tool that clearly shows how much the review will cost and  how far along its progressed.

Information management preview of 2011

Our clients will have seen our preview of 2011 last week. For those that aren’t (yet!) clients and therefore can’t see the whole 3,500-word report, here’s the introduction, followed by the titles of the sections to give you an idea of what we think will shape the information management market in 2011 and beyond. Of course the IT industry, like most others doesn’t rigorously follow the wiles of the Gregorian calendar, so some of these things will happen next year while others may not occur till 2012 and beyond. But happen they will, we believe.

We think information governance will play a more prominent role in 2011 and in the years beyond that. Specifically, we think master data management and data governance applications will appear in 2011 to replace the gaggle of spreadsheets, dashboards and scorecards commonly used today. Beyond that, we think information governance will evolve in the coming years, kick-started by end users who are asking for a more coherent way to manage their data, driven in part by their experience with the reactive and often chaotic nature of e-discovery.

In e-discovery itself, we expect to see a twin-track adoption trend. While cloud-based products have proven popular, at the same time, more enterprises buy e-discovery appliances.

‘Big data’ has become a bit of a catchall term to describe the masses of information being generated, but in 2011 we expect to see a shift to what we term a ‘total data’ approach to data management, as well as the analytics applications and tools that enable users to generate the business intelligence from their big data sets. Deeper down, the tools used in this process will include new BI tools to exploit Hadoop, as well as a push in predictive analytics beyond the statisticians and into finance, marketing and sales departments.

SharePoint 2010 may have come out in the year for which it is named, but its use will become truly widespread in 2011 as the first service pack is release and the ISV community around it completes their updates from SharePoint 2007. However, we don’t think cloud-based SharePoint will grow quite as fast as some people may expect. Finally, in the Web content management (WCM) market – so affected by SharePoint, as well as the open source movement – we expect a stratification between the everyday WCM-type scenario and Web experience management (WEM) for those organization that need to tie WCM, Web analytics, online marketing and commerce features together.

  • Governance family reunion: Information governance, meet governance, risk and compliance; meet data governance….
  • Master data management, data quality, data integration: the road to data governance
  • E-discovery post price war: affordable enough, or still too strategic to risk?
  • Data management – big, bigger, biggest
  • Putting the BI into big data in Hadoop
  • The business of predictive analytics
  • SharePoint 2010 gets real in 2011
  • WCM, WEM and stratification

And with that we’d like to wish all readers of Too Much Information a happy holiday season and a healthy and successful 2011.

e-Disclosure – cooperation, questionnaires and cloud

Yesterday I attended the 6th Annual e-Disclosure Forum at Canary Wharf in London, organized by the globe-trotting triumvirate of Chris Dale, Browning Marean and George Socha. It was a good program, with an audience comprising a mix of lawyers, litigation support professionals, IT practitioners, tech software and service providers and other assorted folks, like myself. It’s the second year I’ve attended and these were the key themes I picked up on:

  • Practice Direction 31B – not surprisingly this was a major issue throughout the day, considering may of those present for instrumental in drafting it, including Chris Dale and Senior Master Steven Whitaker (among others) and it only passed into the rules on October 1.  For those that don’t know, 31B amended the rues of civil procedure in the UK (the rough equivalent of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the US), as they pertain to the disclosure of electronic documents (which can of course include email and other forms of communications). One aspect of the changes is a questionnaire to be used in more complex cases that involve a large number of documents. Not only does it sound to us like a sensible way of helping to to contain and get parties prepared for the case management conference (meet and confer in US parlance), but quite frankly it could be useful starting point  for organizations simply to looking to get their house in order to get prepared for future litigation.
  • Another key theme was the effect on recent UK cases on the way parties are now cooperating in case management meetings. One speaker, Jeremy Marshall, head of commercial litigation at Irwin Mitchell said that in his experience there’s a vast difference in terms of what happened before landmark cases such as Earles vs Barclays Bank in 2009 and the Digicel vs Cable & Wireless case in 2008 and what happens now. Companies know that if they don’t cooperate to make sure the necessary documents are disclosed, they could be penalized by the court, even if they win the case. For more on the Earles case and what it means regarding the destruction of documents see Chris Dale here.
  • Cloud. I had a lot of conversations with IT and legal people at the conference and they’re still not seeing the necessary granularity in service level agreements (SLAs) from cloud service providers. If you need to search your data for the purposes of e-Disclosure, it’s not clear in what format the data will come back to you or even if such a search is possible. That’s a bit of a deal-breaker, over and above any trepidation firms might feel about using cloud for any perceived security issues.
  • In general I detected a much clearer understanding on the part of US attendees of the issues in the UK market. Gone are the days it seems of assuming that the exhaustive e-Discovery process in the US is suitable without any alteration in the UK. The two countries obviously share a common law tradition, but like so many other things, there are distinct differences in the way litigation is done and that – aided in part by Chris Dale et al’s work – is now getting through to US vendors, which after all, dominate the market from the technology point of view.
  • Tips for next year to the organizers?
    • come up with a hashtag so we don’t write out ‘6th annual #eDisclosure conference’ in our tweets 😉
    • make the sessions a tad shorter
    • get a couple of additional panelists to mix it up a bit

But overall it’s the best way I know for taking the pulse of the UK e-Disclosure market in a single day.

We’ve also been active in this area ourselves recently with webinars on litigation readiness with Zylab and Katey’s participation on a Brighttalk webinar on cross-border eDiscovery. But most importantly, we have new e-Discovery research out in the shape of our cloud e-discovery [PDF]and cloud archiving [PDF] reports.

ILTA 2010 – E-discovery after the flood

ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) 2010 kicked off with attendance around 1100, up almost 40% from last year according to some attendee estimates, in spite of an emergency venue change following May flash flooding in Nashville.

Even in the August desert heat of the new Las Vegas location there was an encouraging “after the flood” spirit of survival and rebuilding – a look at the 7th annual ILTA member technology purchasing survey indicates greater financial stability in the sector following last year’s weaker recessionary economy, law firm layoffs and hiring freezes, and stagnant corporate legal budgets: 45% stated their firms are “back to normal financially” (vs. 45% in 2009 reporting that it would take another 12 months – evidently they were right).  Likewise, ILTA’s survey showed that IT spending is slowly recovering from 2009, and 33% report an increase in IT budget, albeit most spending has been in core hardware, infrastructure, computers, and SAN’s – see the InsideLegal write-up for more details.

Many in the e-discovery market claimed strong growth in h1 2010 after a lean 2009 as well, although recent M&A shows the market is still maturing both in technology and go-to-market.   Most vendors and providers continue to build out their lines to be more comprehensive in functionality and interoperability – Clearwell released v. 6.0 of its appliance with enhanced search and more review load file export, Guidance Software made its latest EnCase eDiscovery platform release this week with stronger  search and data analytics, IPRO announced Allegro ECA to integrate with eCapture, Nuix announced an “eDiscovery Supercomputer,” and AccessData Group is busily integrating its own forensic platform with its newly-merged CT Summation assets, as is Unify with its new Daegis DocHunter SaaS review platform and existing archive.

But “end-to-end” claims have subdued somewhat, either from some hard-earned humility or better recognition of a highly variegated customer base with individual pain points.  The messaging tone was commensurately more mature and less reliant on scare tactics of threatening sanctions and crushing reactive discovery costs, instead emphasizing more actual product differentiation, addressing customer pain points, more aggressive pricing, and preparation and risk management.

The theme for 2010 was “Strategic unity” – one that I think emphasized this theme of survival in the industry and more receptiveness (even enthusiasm?) for joint technical and business evolution– I expound on this further for subscribers in our full write-up of the conference and software/service provider releases here.

A few other themes stood out:

  • Cloud technology evangelists got a sizeable platform (sorry) through a user panel and a number of vendor sessions, including Microsoft Azure, Autonomy, and Smarsh for social media compliance archiving – a matter of particular interest as we ready upcoming reports on cloud archiving and e-discovery.  Please get in touch with your own story or for more information on the research.
  • Review tools (often in SaaS or hosted versions ) got more search and analytics, bigger-scale seat support, and more customizable project set-up for large, distributed cases, with new releases from AccessData (CT Summation CaseVantage 6.0, the first since the merger), Applied Discovery’s new Leverage tool, Catalyst Repositories’ CR 9.0, Clearwell’s afore-mentioned enhanced review module, recent updates from CaseCentral, and iCONECT’s integration with PureDiscovery for semantic search.
  • Major vendor releases emphasized not just cutting costs or ROI, but even competitive advantage through gains in business opportunities and productivity – a word that has sometimes been a double-edged sword for sales to the legal sector (no surprise given its emphasis on human expertise).  Thomson Reuters’ West appeared on the back of its CaseLogistix acquisition for the West Litigator line (including LiveNote) for attorney case analysis, and demoed Engage for law firm resource management planning, while LexisNexis made its second integration with Microsoft for the year with Interaction CRM for Outlook, a CRM tool for tracking contacts and client interactions.
  • In review tool automation, Recommind had a major rebrand and marketing push behind its Axcelerate predictive coding technology (now integrated in v.8 of its CORE categorization engine for “predictive analytics” across its product line), while Equivio boasted more direct sales for its Relevance review prioritization technology, and Kroll Ontrack announced “Intelligent Prioritization” in its Inview hosted tool.  Autonomy, however, seemed to have backed off its July “meaning-based coding” announcement for IDOL, opting for a risk management platform for attorneys as its release for the event.
  • Defensibility had more practical applications with strong turnout among legal hold notification– kCura’s new Method Legal Hold, Exterro’s Fusion Cloud Legal Hold and Zapproved were all on hand – and from forensics vendors and service providers emphasizing collection that will hold up in court, including growing service provider D4, and Integreon’s new Seek and Collect tool used in tandem with services.
  • In data management and analytics, Digital Reef announced an open software benchmark for clocking performance along phases of the EDRM, StoredIQ recently released v. 6.0 of its e-discovery and information governance appliance on a 64 bit architecture, and announced integration with Microsoft Data Classification technology for ILTA, while EMC-Kazeon turned up in partnerships for collection and ECA with Applied Discovery and Merrill Corp, as well as recent EMC-Source One releases, of course.

Finally having just returned from VMWorld (hence the delay) I’m struck by the intersection of information management / e-discovery with storage, security and GRC, as all of us grapple with (and continue proliferating) Big Data, both in scalability and manageability.  NetApp was on hand at ILTA and came up by name with e-discovery vendors, as did BlueArc, while at VMWorld, EMC announced plans for a FISMA-compliant VMWare and RSA alliance to trace exact “geolocation” of virtual machines and prevent violating international data privacy regulations, potentially alleviating a major concern of companies transferring data for e-discovery in the cloud.

New e-Discovery/e-Disclosure report out now

I’m very happy to say that our new report on the e-Discovery/e-Disclosure market  – E-Discovery and E-Disclosure: Bringing it all back home – is now available to clients and non-clients alike.

The report contains:

  • User survey – a survey of 140+ end users about their current e-Discovery products, their purchasing plans over the next 12 months, the state of their budgets now and in the future, their pain points and how they execute their e-Discovery strategy – or even if they have one.
  • Detailed profiles of 32 software and service providers from the US and Europe.
  • Analysis of the current issues and drivers in the market and how we think they may evolve in the future, including issues such as litigation preparedness, early case assessment, in-sourcing of e-Discovery (hence the sub-title), cloud computing and regulatory and legal challenges in the US and Europe.
  • The market landscape including a detailed breakdown of how vendors map to the EDRM and a look at the markets that e-Discovery impacts upon, including archiving and information governance.
  • M&A analysis – forward-looking analysis as well an examination of past valuations.

The report was written by Katey Wood (@KWood451) and myself (@nickpatience). Any questions regarding the report can be addressed to either of us and we can also let you know how you can buy the report whether you’re a 451 client or not.

New year, new e-Discovery research & survey

We are embarking on an update to our e-Discovery report that we published in December 2008, called e-Discovery & e-Disclosure: this market is now in session. We aim to publish this new report in late Q1. It will be fully up to date with the newest products and services from vendors and service providers, as many will update their offerings in and around LegalTech in New York in early February, which Katey Wood and I will be attending.

As part of that report we are aiming to generate what we think will be the largest end user survey conducted in this market. The survey is online and open to anyone (although it isn’t anonymous so we are able to filter out any non-relevant entries).

The link is here and if you’re an end user in the e-Discovery or e-Disclosure world, be it a lawyer (whether in a law firm or general counsel department), a project manager at a law firm, a litigation support specialist; in fact anything relevant to e-Discovery/e-Disclosure, we’d love for you to participate to make this a fully-informed survey.

Also if you can help us distribute the link to make it a more inclusive survey, please get in touch via Twitter – @nickpatience or @kwood451.