March 21, 2009

Think Before You In-source

My latest InsideCounsel article, "Think Before You In-source" is now available online.  While there has certainly been a trend to bring eDiscovery in-house, lately I've been hearing from a number of corporate legal and enterprise IT professionals regarding their frustration in this area.  I'm not alone, having heard the same from colleagues at LegalTech NY and elsewhere.

As I shared in the article,

I have recently heard from a number of companies who have been dissatisfied that what they've brought in-house from software providers hasn't lived up to the hype, delivered the best results or integrated with all the necessary data systems to address their needs. Some of those acquisitions are even being shelved or curtailed prematurely, well before realizing their return on investment.

Thus I offer seven key factors and issues to consider before deciding to bring various e-discovery services and technology in-house.  In addition, often a number of difficulties can be addressed through better process design, since technology isn't a broad spectrum panacea.  It's a tool to support and automate those processes, not the other way around, and it's important to keep things in the proper perspective:

Keep in mind, this discussion isn't advocating that various aspects of e-Discovery shouldn't be brought in-house. Obviously, many companies are doing just that with the goal to reduce costs, improve consistency and gain better control over their processes to improve compliance. Thus a better statement is that the decision on whether to bring eDiscovery tasks in-house shouldn't be made lightly or because you heard another company in your industry has done so. It needs to make sense and fit well with your particular company's abilities, goals, resources, culture, business processes, risk management, and more.

Like most things worth doing, it's important to consider a number of critical factors and issues before jumping on the bandwagon and throwing technology at the problems, some of which aren't even technological issues.  The more you have done your homework, including having a good handle on the particular issues, gaps, costs, risks, and processes needing to be addressed, the better off you'll likely be when the smoke clears.

In addition, it's important that companies don't just explore the obvious if they want to make meaningful improvements and cost reductions.  There are a number of concurrent or alternate cost-saving measures than can offer significant benefits, which should also be explored or they may be otherwise overlooked in all the hype.

Topic(s):   Electronic Discovery  |  Feature Articles
Posted by Jeff Beard