Saturday, January 09, 2010

Gartner MarketScope for E-Discovery Software Product Vendors

Excerpts from the December 2009 research report found on Gartner's site.

E-discovery is a maturing market with entrants from multiple categories, including storage and archiving, search and information access, content and records management, and workflow, as well as tools designed as end-user applications for legal professionals and forensic data collection tools aimed at security professionals, regulators and law enforcement agencies. All of these categories of software vendors have added e-discovery to existing suites or purport to cover various aspects of the e-discovery process. There are also pure-play e-discovery vendors to consider.

Enterprises purchasing e-discovery software can reduce the costs of litigation by improving their control over unstructured content, and semistructured content, most notably e-mail. Our client references consistently report that they have cut costs and risks by taking control of litigation hold, litigation-hold-tracking, file collection, file processing and legal review, instead of outsourcing these functions.

Market Growth and Trajectory
The e-discovery product market received a boost from the recession of 2008 to 2009. Because all costs began to be scrutinized, including previously immune legal budgets, corporate legal departments had to start looking for a way to cut their costs. In addition to the recession, awareness of the 2006 changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) in the United States (see Note 3) and parallel efforts on the part of the European Union, South Africa, Australia and Canada continued to grow among the legal profession, providing further growth stimulus. As a final impetus to growth, the Obama administration stimulated demand among government agencies, particularly regulators, by giving them a mandate to make government more transparent. In addition, in 2009, for the first time, our client inquiry showed accelerating interest and awareness of discovery and disclosure in Europe, particularly regarding privacy versus disclosure.

User Wants and Needs: E-Discovery Moves In-House
In 2009, enterprises became clearer about their actual needs and what part of the e-discovery process they wished to manage themselves. Enterprise demand began to coalesce around a set of features and functions. The consolidation in the market has been around a set of features and functions most desirable to in-house applications. As in previous years, we will use the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) to describe both the process of e-discovery and how the vendors fit their products into the model. Despite some credible argument that the model is "not detailed enough," it still makes a good starting point for vendor categorization. The EDRM is shown in Figure 1, so that clients can reference it for the purposes of vendor analysis. The main deficiency in the model has proved to be that it lacks a definition of "early case assessment," which many vendors discuss, and which is high on the list of functionality that corporate buyers want.

Market/Market Segment Description
The criteria for vendor inclusion in this year's MarketScope have changed because the market has changed. The emerging nature of the market justified inclusion of smaller vendors in 2008, but this year's revenue cutoff of $15 million reflects the growing maturity of the players, as well as their consolidation and growing revenue bases. With the amount of interest and activity in this market, smaller players with interesting technology are likely acquisition targets. Without major differentiating technology, the barrier to successful entry into the e-discovery market became higher this year, and vendors without the budget to create awareness or to develop the necessary channels to market will not be able to rise above the "noise" around e-discovery.

Changes in the Vendor Landscape
There have been a few significant acquisitions in 2009. Autonomy acquired Interwoven, and EMC acquired Kazeon. Clients can expect more changes in the market, including mergers, acquisitions, exits, entries and repositioning. The predicted level of activity in the market is based on the facts that it is fast-growing, and contains large, established players and smaller, technology-rich startups. In addition, the evidence continues to accumulate that corporations can save costs and reduce risks by adopting e-discovery technology in-house, and so the growth of the market will continue. In these fertile conditions, a high degree of movement and change is inevitable.

By the end of 2011, as the market moves from emerging to early-stage consolidation, and the early adopters continue to report their results, there will be 25% fewer vendors in the e-discovery market as a result of mergers and acquisitions and vendors exiting the market.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
To be included in this MarketScope, a vendor must meet the following criteria:

- Have a software product that can be licensed for implementation and use inside a company's firewall or by a third-party service provider.
- Cover at least three of the functional areas of the EDRM.
- Have e-discovery-related product and maintenance revenue of at least $15 million.

Added Vendors
We added EMC, CT Summation (Wolters Kluwer) and Concordance (LexisNexis) to this year's MarketScope. EMC's acquisition of Kazeon means that the two are now evaluated together.

Dropped Vendors
We dropped Nuix from this year's MarketScope as it did not meet the revenue criterion. We dropped i365 as the company has effectively exited the market.

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