Information Governance: The Trend Continues x2 - Leadership in eDiscovery and Archiving Portfolio

person.jpgAny week that sees a Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) published with the HP name clearly established in the Leaders quadrant is good.  But last week saw our portfolio published as a Leader in both eDiscovery, and in the new Structured Data Archiving MQ.  We are the only company published as a leader in both MQs (not to mention having already been placed in the Leaders quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving last fall).  In this blog post, I am going to talk about eDiscovery; my next blog will talk more about the Structured Data Archiving MQ.

 

eDiscovery Trends

Last year, I noted that HP Autonomy was a leader in the eDiscovery MQ (or Market Scope prior) longer than any other vendor, and nobody has challenged me on the assertion—yet.  The past year has seen a few interesting trends emerge.  First, we have seen some solution providers lose their focus on technical innovation and embrace a commoditization of technology, which we think is a mistake.  Second, the adoption of SaaS and cloud-based models in other industries is beginning to garner acceptance in eDiscovery.  Finally, long-term leadership means possessing and incorporating eDiscovery into a broader governance platform. 

 

Below are some details on each of these observations:

 

Seeking the easy way out:  I mentioned above that some providers have all but given up on technology innovation and are rather adopting a model of commoditization–in essence accepting that they lack the ability to innovate in software and technology, and have given up trying to do so. 

  • From a business perspective, this makes sense.  Several have strong credentials and expertise in consulting and services but realize that the skillsets and costs to effectively innovate and deliver technology are different.
  • This is especially true as the industry looks to incorporate new types of even more powerful analytics.  In short, the demand is outstripping many vendors’ ability to deliver.
  • This combination of greater hunger for software innovation and the realization that not all vendors have the development resources to keep up, explains why some companies are exiting the software space altogether.  It also explains some of the regression you see in part of the MQ, where companies are moving to the left (and down) as they simply cannot keep up over the long-haul with the investment that is required.
  • In contrast, HP (HP Autonomy working with HP Labs and other internal centers of innovation) is investing heavily in its eDiscovery capabilities, which is why we placed the highest on the “completeness of vision” axis in this year’s MQ. 

SaaS models: We had the cloud already, now how about simple pricing? HP Autonomy has been fortunate in that we have had a strong cloud footprint for many years, both in the compliant archiving space and eDiscovery.  As a logical next step, earlier this year we announced a self-service/OnDemand model, focused on small- and mid-tier cases and regulatory inquires.  We were responding to both client and market demands to deliver our technology to corporate legal teams, law firms, and service providers without these organizations having to contract for full hosting services.  The market reception so far, as measured by inquiries and early project volume, has been significant—clearly reinforcing that the SaaS model is here to stay.  This ultimately suggests:

  •  Eventually software companies that rely solely on a traditional licensed model for revenue will be challenged by the reality of SaaS models, as most other industries have already made the shift.  It will also require that they invest in the infrastructure and expertise to deliver their software directly through a SaaS offering.  This will be no easy transition, especially if it is built to withstand the ups and downs over the long-term.
  • But one final hurdle remains to truly move the eDiscovery market forward into SaaS models: pricing.  Even as we have simplified our pricing models in recent years in eDiscovery, it has not been as simple as our cloud/archiving pricing (a set monthly charge for the entire service).  Finally someone said…well if we can make it work for cloud/archiving, why not eDiscovery?  So we have…
  • HP Autonomy has announced a simple, single price for eDiscovery SaaS in the OnDemand environment.  Clients will be charged a simple, monthly fee based on capacity and receive access to all parts of the software (no bolt-ons).  This means:
      • Clients can provision processing through ECA (and export) or a full environment (processing through review/production) for one flat fee, based on what is in the environment.
      • Clients can process data, move it all into a review platform, and use our embedded analytics and Technology Assisted Review—if they wish.
      • Clients can leverage ECA and move directly to quick productions—if they wish.  There is no limit. If you want to run 5 productions or 15 productions, fine.
      • Clients can do native exports or TIFF everything they have in production—if they want to
  • The point is that the pricing is simple, and is a true SaaS model with one price/month based on capacity.  No per unit fees for productions, or TIFF, or tiered pricing between processing, ECA, review, analytics etc.
  • And the best part is that you only pay for what is actually consumed, and you will know the second you load data how much everything will cost, through production.  No more guessing on what % of documents make it from one phase of a workflow to the next.  Or what part of the corpus gets pulled into TAR.
  • We believe this powerful combination of transparency and predictability materially moves the ball forward in simplifying pricing for eDiscovery and also delivers what clients are demanding as budgets are subject to greater scrutiny.

In it for the long-haul:  I was with our entire eDiscovery sales team a few weeks ago, and we were playing a game at dinner one night; going around the table and asking each person in turn to name an eDiscovery company that was no longer in business.  I think we made three full trips around the table…and while it was a fun exercise (and nostalgic for many of us); it is a really serious issue that has real-world implications for customers:

  • When a prominent data protection company went out of business in the recent past, they gave customers 10-days to get their data before they shut down.  We also know of an instance where a small eDiscovery service provider was in jeopardy of having assets taken in a credit dispute (with live customer data).
  • It is ironic in a sense that many companies (or law firms) that go through substantial due diligence for many cloud services have not—until recently—exercised similar levels of analysis for eDiscovery service providers.  We expect this trend to continue, which is another reason for smaller service providers to leverage cloud environments from a company like HP versus trying to setup their own.
  • But it is also important to consider where they are going more broadly with their information governance platforms that allow them to take a proactive approach to driving time and cost savings into eDiscovery.  Are they building a model that supports the broader set of requirements?  Or will they always remain a niche vendor focused on a subset of use cases associated with content?  At the very least, some elements of an enterprise’s information governance programs will touch eDiscovery; we should at least try and leverage both where possible.

    It has been another good year for our product portfolio, and we continue to make investments in areas that will make a real difference.  We are focused on innovating, taking great IP that is coming out of various HP R&D efforts, and delivering them through our solutions to customers. 

Be sure to download your copy of the following complimentary Gartner Magic Quadrant reports:

  • 2014 Gartner MQ for E-Discovery Software –click here
  • 2014 Gartner MQ for Structured Data Archiving & Application Retirement –click here

#HPIGB

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About the Author
George Tziahanas leads product management and strategy for HP Autonomy’s Legal and Compliance Portfolio, including its Compliant Archiving, ...
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