Expanding the Enterprise eDiscovery Solutions Landscape

Litigation support continues to be the main driver or “trigger” for ediscovery solutions adoption, but it is by no means the only good reason. The same content and data that needs to be classified, indexed, secured and stored to enable ediscovery tools to collect potentially responsive electronically stored information (ESI) is a potential goldmine for other departments or lines of business throughout the organization.  See the recent post entitled  Connecting the eDiscovery Dots.

While several review tools and services may be highly specialized for litigation support activities, underlying enabling technologies that address such functions as analytics, archiving, case management, content management, enterprise search, intelligent capture, policy management, security and storage are all leverageable across the organization.

In addition, the ediscovery space is often too narrowly defined by not taking into consideration the adjacent technologies that are essential to enable what is defined by the  EDRM framework as the litigation process lifecycle.  Also, trying to make head-to-head comparisons between point solution vendors who address only a portion of the litigation lifecycle with those vendors who offer a more end-to-end approach to managing the ediscovery process is confusing.

A very reasonable case can be made that sharing processes, tools and infrastructure reduces complexity which lowers costs, improves an organization’s ability to share information and also reduces risk.

Vendor Landscape Rationale

Parity Research views the ediscovery vendor landscape in four major dimensions:  Review Tools, Service Providers, Integrated Solutions and Enablers. Given the breadth of solutions and services that are needed to make enterprise ediscovery viable, it makes sense to divide the offerings into these four major sections and then further assess how each vendor plays in each section – if at all.

Section Rationale

Review is considered the most expensive component of the ediscovery process as defined by the EDRM and litigation support experts. Service Providers play a prominent role in the ediscovery space. As the ediscovery space matures, more Integrated Solutions – especially those that feature archiving software – are appearing to help lower non-review related costs. Enablers provide needed infrastructure, services and technology to support enterprise-wide ediscovery efforts.

Sweet Spot Rationale

A vendor that possesses significant attributes in all four sections ends up in the sweet spot. That no vendor landed in the sweet spot this year is a reflection of a still maturing market and the fact that no vendor has a fully integrated, truly end-to-end solution that is best of breed in every functional area.

Vendor Selection Rationale

With literally hundreds of vendors to choose from, the 46 vendors chosen is not an exhaustive list. The intent was to include the most recognizable and influential enterprise ediscovery focused vendors first, then add a representative sample of solution and services providers from veritable start-ups breaking into the space and ediscovery innovators to well established, publically traded firms with some enabling technology, service or growing stake relevant to the ediscovery marketplace.

Vendor Positioning Criteria

A closer proximity to the sweet spot generally favors vendors that have size, breadth of ediscovery offering, completeness of vision and specialize in the enterprise space vs. those offerings and point solutions that are primarily sold to law firms or licensed by service providers. Positioning on or near a sector line is intentional implying some additional level of competency in that adjacent sector.

The assumption is that most enterprise customers seek more integrated solutions from incumbent vendors who are already trusted partners. Dot size also connotes company size and/or market influence. However, other than the two new entries mentioned, all the included vendors have high profile reference accounts and case studies listed on their website indicting their success and acceptance in the marketplace. Also, more than a third of all vendors listed are publically traded or owned by public companies.

Functional Categories

Major functional categories or concepts addressed by ediscovery vendors and service providers covered in this vendor landscape include:

– Analytics, BI
– Archiving
– Case Management
– Classification, Indexing
– Collection, Processing
– Content Management
– Early Case Assessment
– Enterprise Search
– Intelligent Capture
– Litigation Support Services
– Knowledge Management Services
– Metadata Management
– Policy Management
– Review
– Security, Data Loss Prevention
– Storage Optimization
– Systems Integration
– Workflow

Vendor Snapshots

Note: The three vendors closest to the “sweet spot” who have the most comprehensive enterprise class ediscovery offerings and strategy as defined above by Parity Research include Autonomy, IBM and Symantec.

However, smaller vendors, who may be positioned farther from the sweet spot, have gained recognition and traction for offering best-of-breed solutions or developed functionality (access control, scalability, workflow, policy management, redaction, services, website archiving, etc.) not available from any of the larger, more established vendors — thus, their inclusion in this set of vendors. 

Top Enterprise Picks

Autonomy continues to grow organically and by acquisition, having recently acquired several digital solution assets from Iron Mountain. Autonomy now offers both hosted and on-premise ediscovery and archive choices. Its IDOL search and analytics engine is the company’s centerpiece. Autonomy does not have a direct security play like its major rivals have but is stronger on the hosted services side at this point. There is some concern about how quickly integration and interoperability of acquisitions will occur and Autonomy is perhaps not as deep as other major players in professional services or consulting support. In any event, Autonomy gets the big, broad picture, which makes their offerings popular and relevant far beyond legal and compliance applications.

IBM has the most comprehensive information management strategy in the business and has been aggressively acquiring and building a portfolio of products to support its vision. Its content analytics offerings are gaining traction as they become more embedded in various offerings including eDiscovery Manager. IBM also has the most complete information management infrastructure suite including multiple new storage offerings, storage optimization from its Tivoli brand, security offerings and a massive professional services organization. IBM has also acquired products and capabilities that have traditionally sold outside of IT such as Netezza for financial analytics, PSS Systems for legal and information governance as well as Datacap for intelligent capture. IBM has great traction with its existing client base but knows it needs to extend its reach beyond its traditional IT-centric market, which has been a challenge up to now.

Symantec has been the market leader in on-premise archiving for several years now and, with the recent acquisition of Clearwell systems, is poised to enhance its ability to dominate the space. Already a player in the enterprise ediscovery space with its Accelerator product, the Clearwell acquisition will only help the cause. Long a major player in the backup and recovery, storage optimization and security spaces, Symantec has continued to make its case as one of the most relevant solution providers in the information management arena. Symantec has not traditionally had a great hosted or services presence like its major rivals. Given the projected demographics for future cloud and SaaS adoption in the space, it will be interesting to see if that changes. Meanwhile, litigation lifecycle specific vendors usually build their connectors to Symantec’s Enterprise Vault archive first – another indicator of their market dominance.

Top Review Tools and Services 

AccessData provides litigation support solutions and services as well as security and forensics popular with attorneys and enterprise customers. AD acquired the Summation legal review product which has garnered them a large client base and industry recognition. AD offers full spectrum of services with processing centers in the U.S., Canada and U.K.

CaseCentral is focused on lowering costs through integration of litigation process steps, bringing processing in-house and connecting to major content sources such as Symantec Enterprise Vault. They offer a private cloud model with centralized data management and security that reduces risk when clients transmit proprietary data outside the firewall.

Daegis leads with a hybrid enterprise focused approach to hosted review that combines their DocHunter tool with eDiscovery Analytics Consultants (eDACs) and leverages random sampling, other techniques to manage costs and secure content. Acquired  by publically traded Unify, Daegis also integrates with Unify’s highly scalable on-premise archive.

Exterro combines ediscovery and workflow to streamline processes and provide value to legal, risk and compliance departments. Their Fusion solution has both an on-premise and hosted version. Their Genome enterprise data mapping software helps manage the entire ediscovery lifecycle. Partners include Microsoft, Oracle, Stored IQ and Symantec.

FTI is one of the larger publically traded, independent consulting firms in the litigation support space. FTI acquired Ringtail, which this year announced major upgrades such as faster production, a new intuitive user interface, database enhancements for greater scalability and additional support for iterative review and the entire litigation lifecycle.

Guidance Software is a leader in digital investigative solutions and is publically traded. Its EnCase Enterprise platform is used by over half of the Fortune 100. Guidance partners with the likes of Oracle and is recognized throughout the industry for forensic, ediscovery and security solutions for business, government and law enforcement.

kCura is a recognized leader in the ediscovery review process widely used by attorneys and consultants. Their Relativity solution has unique workflow capabilities that identify critical documents in a case by searching and organizing document sets depending on how and where similar ideas and concepts in a document collection intersect.

Nuix supports both litigation support services and enterprise accounts. It has developed a reputation for fast processing speeds and simple, intuitive implementations. Nuix supports access to Lotus Notes and most other unstructured data sources as well as integration of investigation, review and production capabilities.

Recommind has many adherents, particularly attorneys, litigation support consultants. Their  Axcelerate eDiscovery suite includes two applications: ECA & Collection and Review & Analysis. The latter features Recommind’s Predictive Coding technology and workflow for automated document review.  Provides an integrated EDRM approach.”

ZyLAB offers an integrated, yet modular and flexible approach to ediscovery solutions and services, which can be tailored to any environment from serial litigants bringing ediscovery in-house that need temporary litigation support to implementation of a full-scale ediscovery suite, to à la carte ediscovery services with rapid project turnaround.

Major Enterprise Contenders 

EMC has made some brilliant moves over the past several years, not the least of which was their VMware acquisition. EMC pretty much invented the information lifecycle management concept and their focus on building an end-to-end solution has brought them some great acquisitions including Captiva for intelligent capture and imaging as well as Data Domain for data deduplication. EMC’s compliance-centric Centera line remains popular with clients — though the technology is frequently attacked, mostly by storage pundits and competitors, as old technology and too expensive. To fill its ediscovery gap, EMC acquired Kazeon Systems almost two years ago. EMC boasts one of the largest Exchange and SharePoint consulting organizations in the industry. Yet, EMC lacks a robust enterprise search capability and their Source One on-premise archive has not met with the success EMC hoped for — which excludes them from being one of the top picks.

Google is perhaps the most formidable player in the hosted email and integrated applications space with Google Docs for collaboration and Postini for security. Google now has midsize and larger firms using their services as their organizational standard and has added an appliance (GSA) for enterprise document search – which has limitations. The enterprise apps suite is not as robust or ubiquitous as Microsoft, but Google has a leg up on web analytics as they literally index the entire worldwide web. As both the desire and need to archive and analyze web-based content and interactions continue to grow, Google is well positioned.

HP is known for its suite of data protection products, which represent the bulk of its information management–related revenue. Their acquisition of records management provider TRIM a few years back has been successful but their Integrated Archive Platform (IAP) doesn’t get much play. HP is one of Microsoft’s largest partners with SharePoint connectors, Oracle connectors, migration services (ex: 2003 to 2007), backup and recovery products and storage optimization solutions. However, HP, which has been reselling Clearwell, does not own an ediscovery tool capability and does not have a very visible enterprise search presence. HP has many of the important pieces but appears to lack an end-to-end information governance vision and strategy.

Microsoft does not offer an ediscovery product, per se, but every major archiving and ediscovery vendor has connectors to SharePoint and Exchange — because that’s where the content and data is. For now, Microsoft seems content to let its partners do the heavy ediscovery lifting. Meanwhile, Microsoft has invested heavily in Bing for web searching, and FAST for desktop and enterprise search. It has also published the Connected eDiscovery Framework, which includes “a technology architecture, best practices recommendations around proactive information management and a collection of partner-owned vertical litigation support solutions to help customers overcome technology and process challenges they encounter when performing ediscoveries,” based on principles found in the EDRM framework. Microsoft is also adept at application integration and they’ve got user experience nailed, even if functionality and scalability are not always as robust as other offerings.

Oracle is likely the king of enterprise structured data, as a high percentage of enterprise data is accessible through Oracle databases and ERP solutions. As more ediscovery activities require structured data, and tools that handle both unstructured and structured sources mature, Oracle access becomes even more important. Oracle’s acquisition of content management solution Stellent to anchor their ECM suite and intelligent capture solutions gives them more of an unstructured data management footprint. With the SUN acquisition, they added storage and market share. Universal records adaptors to SharePoint and Symantec Enterprise Vault support Oracle-centric installations. However, using “Blobs” within relational databases is considered by most content management database experts an inferior, slower way to manage unstructured content.

SAP can count IBM as its major ERP partner. They also partner with EMC, OpenText and other major vendors in the information management space. This is a testament to the importance of SAP as the link to massive enterprise data stores. Acquisitions of BI tools provider Business Objects and Sybase give SAP even more credibility with financial services firms and also gives their existing customers more capabilities to leverage their enterprise information across the organization. Business Objects has a Text Analysts module, and SAP ERP solutions store both structured and unstructured data. SAP emphasizes the importance of data quality, master data management and improving processes and stresses information management lifecycle management. While not considered a primary ediscovery or content archiving play, SAP looks to its partners to fill in the gaps. This may change soon if more partner tools and repositories can effectively analyze and store SAP historical data more efficiently than SAP does today.

Notable Enterprise Integrated Solutions  

C2C specializes in message and document archiving, including Exchange PST and SharePoint file management, in addition to ediscovery and litigation support functions. C2C appeals to many larger firms that require umbrella policy management features and the ability to tackle large numbers of mailboxes under a single logical repository. 

CommVault with its Simpana solution offers a unified archiving, ediscovery, search and governance approach in a mostly Exchange-centric world. Publically traded CommVault also provides backup and recovery solutions, storage optimization, cloud optimization and data protection services. Their solutions are favored by thousands of organizations.

Kroll has a long and venerable history of providing ediscovery and litigation services, project management support and consulting covering the entire EDRM lifecycle. Kroll recently added an on-premise archive solution as an adjunct to its services offerings. Sold to Altegrity last year, which is owned by Providence Equity Partners.

Live Office is a cloud-based SaaS archiving solution for Exchange, Lotus Notes and GroupWise environments that now offers social media archiving, compliance and ediscovery capabilities. Live Office is a good choice for organizations that need a centralized message and document archive without the self-management commitment.

Mimecast offers a cloud-based email archiving solution with added security protection against spam, malware and data leakage as well as an email continuity service to guard against system failures. The SaaS solution offers integrated ediscovery, litigation hold and case management functionality without having to manage the components in-house.

OpenText is a leader in the enterprise content management space and has made several strategic acquisitions over the years including web experience management solutions Vignette and Hummingbird. Publically held OpenText recently announced an early case assessment capability and has partnerships with Recommind, other ediscovery providers.

Rational Retention comes to market with an integrated approach to information management, retention compliance and litigation support. For larger firms looking to ensure that both archived and loose files on desktops are managed across their entire lifecycle, RR offers control, security and visibility without disrupting the normal course of business.

Proofpoint leveraged its leadership in cloud-based email security management by adding the SaaS-based archive email archiving solution Fortiva. Enterprise Archive addresses ediscovery, regulatory compliance and storage management challenges and meets the highest levels of security, having been grantedU.S. government (FISMA) certification.

ZL specializes in a unified approach to archiving, compliance, ediscovery, mailbox management and supervision. ZL succeeds with many larger firms who sought grid-like, scalable solutions offering a broader set of capabilities. ZL works with Lotus Notes and Exchange environments and can handle a variety of content types within the enterprise.

Enterprise Content and Data Integration Enablers

Attivio offers a unified information access and search platform that quickly builds relationships between large structured and unstructured data sources across many different repositories using advanced text search and/or SQL queries. Partners on IBM Data Find product to “unfreeze” relational data. Enables concept search and boosts relevancy.

BlueArc network storage solutions support in-house ediscovery applications that demand high-volume scalability, high throughput and massive processing capacity for millions of files. Reduced processing time saves firms money on services and supports the creation of consistent litigation processes. Partners with Digital Reef, Index Engines and Hitachi.

Hitachi Data Discovery Suite helps search, identify, collect and preserve data across the storage infrastructure from one secure location. HDDS helps manage, retain and discover volumes of information and meet legal obligations. Metadata management is at the core of manyHitachi cross-platform solutions.Hitachi partners with AccessData and others.

Permabit storage provides all the necessary capabilities to meet ediscovery needs by delivering a compliance-based solution that manages enterprise ESI including ability to preserve files, participate in legal holds, include metadata; offer WORM retention, encryption, digital fingerprinting as specified by federal rules. Low-cost and reliable.

Enterprise eDiscovery Enablers

Digital Reef is known for high-speed collection and review enablement. Originally sold as a service to law firms and service providers, DR has expanded to the enterprise, going after massive indexing and migration deals that larger players have trouble handling. DR manages data “in the wild,” adding visibility, insight and policy-driven control.

Hanzo specializes in social media and website archiving solutions. Already adopted by many large firms, Hanzo differentiates by maintaining content in its native form including the ability to handle video, form posts, flash andAjax, essentially preventing website extinction. Hanzo recently launched a connector for Symantec Enterprise Vault.

Index Engines extended its enterprise ediscovery appliance offering beyond its initial scope of affordable tape remediation by avoiding the need to remount backups for litigation requests. IE now transparently integrates with existing network and infrastructure, performing full content and metadata indexing on all types of ESI.

Informative Graphics is a leader in smart redaction software and document annotation. IG makes document updating and viewing easier while maintaining a metadata trail for ediscovery purposes. Used by many large companies for document intensive applications tightly integrated with EMC, IBM, OpenText, SharePoint and other ECM solutions.

Lexis Nexis, along with its subsidiary Applied Discovery, offers a wide range of multi-national collection, early case assessment, data analytics, document review and production services to law firms and corporations. LN is also one of the leading providers of legal industry educational information and content-enabled workflow solutions.

Stored IQ success centers on its ability to quickly index large volumes of potentially responsive data and then present that data in a logical workflow that enables litigation support staff and inside counsel to track the progress of legal matters throughout the ediscovery lifecycle. This provides a systematic, defensible and predictable approach.

Varonis offers a unique way to manage access to Exchange folders (and Unix) by putting control in the hands of data owners. Varonis analytics help both IT and business users determine who has access to what information and provides auto trails and alerts to allow users to manage folder access as well as detect potential internal threats to sensitive data.

Enterprise eDiscovery Service Providers

Iron Mountain provides a broad portfolio of data protection and retrieval services for both physical and digital assets along with its information management and ediscovery professional services and consulting expertise. IRM sold its archiving and ediscovery software solutions to Autonomy, now a partner. Also partners with HP, IBM and others.

IT-Discovery comes to market with a hosted ediscovery solution using a data mining–centric focus that makes very large amounts of ESI quickly accessible. Used in the enterprise as an investigative, pre-review or culling tool, IT-D utilizes advanced sampling techniques and a highly available infrastructure to optimize early case assessment activity.

Kofax is one of the leaders in intelligent enterprise capture technologies. Publically held Kofax partners with IronMountain and other vendors to provide the ability to quickly transform physical documents by scanning, classifying, indexing and storing them in a digital format. Works with most ECM solutions. Competitors include EMC, IBM, Oracle.

KPMG is one of the many consulting firms with extensive business process and project management expertise that offers a robust ediscovery and forensic practice. KPMG provides support for the entire EDRM lifecycle including multi-national, cross-border investigations with worldwide ESI hosting facilities and capabilities.

Renew Data provides a cross-section of ediscovery services delivered by project managers with deep expertise in the litigation arena. Services such as collection or review can be acquired separately. RD uses a variety of proprietary and leading edge technologies to offer clients hosting, deduplication, data mapping and other services.

TATA has deep expertise in custom engineered product development, with content management, data protection and storage efficiency as primary focus areas. TATA leverages a wealth of experience in highly regulated, litigious industries such as banking, financial services, insurance, energy and utilities. Competes with IBM and many others.

Xerox Litigation Services supports large, complex, litigation matters offering a full range of consulting, collection, processing, hosted review and productions capabilities. Xerox is leveraging their acquisition of business process outsourcing giant Affiliated Computer Services and continues to expand their global reach, recently opening offices in theU.K.

Bottom Line

As mentioned, this is not an exhaustive list.  Comments, additions and suggestions are welcome.


About Gary MacFadden

Gary's career in the IT industry spans more than 25 years starting in software sales and marketing for IBM partners DAPREX and Ross Data Systems, then moving to the IT Advisory and Consulting industry with META Group, Giga and IDC. He is a co-founder of The Robert Frances Group where his responsibilities have included business development, sales, marketing, senior management and research roles. For the past several years, Gary has been a passionate advocate for the use of analytics and information governance solutions to transform business and customer outcomes, and regularly consults with both end-user and vendor organizations who serve the banking, healthcare, insurance, high tech and utilities industries. Gary is also a frequent contributor to the Wikibon.org research portal, a sought after speaker for industry events and blogs frequently on Healthcare IT (HIT) topics.
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