Sun. Oct 1st, 2023

Content Assessment: A Case for Confidence? Opening Arguments from a First Look at the Summer 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey

Information - 93%
Insight - 92%
Relevance - 94%
Objectivity - 95%
Authority - 94%



A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the post highlighting the business confidence of cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery professionals in the summer of 2023.

Editor’s Note: The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a non-scientific quarterly survey that shares insight into the business confidence of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem. The survey consists of nine core questions on factors related to the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services purposed toward cyber, data, and legal discovery tasks. Additionally, the survey contains three optional questions focused on the business operational metrics of days sales outstanding (DSO), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and customer revenue distribution. 

Background Note: The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a well-established, quarterly research initiative designed to provide insights into the state of business confidence in the eDiscovery ecosystem. Since its inception, the survey has been administered 31 times, drawing an average of 100 respondents per survey and totaling 3,085 responses in aggregate. This consistent pulse check has played a pivotal role in understanding industry sentiment, capturing trends in revenue and profit, and identifying the key challenges faced by eDiscovery professionals.

The Summer 2023 edition of this quarterly survey was administered between June 22, 2023, and July 15, 2023. The promotion of the survey was primarily handled through direct emails* from ComplexDiscovery, with the support of survey advocates like the EDRM, eDiscovery Today, the Master’s Conference, the Legal Tech Talent Network, and other leading eDiscovery organizations. This inclusive promotion approach ensured a broad and diverse range of respondents, making the findings representative and insightful. The Summer 2023 survey saw participation from 71 industry professionals. 

Industry Survey

The Summer 2023 Survey: A First Look

ComplexDiscovery Staff

The Summer 2023 survey encapsulated a diverse range of organizational segments. The majority of the respondents were from Software and/or Services Providers (35.21%) and Law Firms (29.58%). Consultancies (15.49%) and Corporations (9.86%) followed, with Media/Research Organizations, Governmental Entities, and Others also being represented.

In terms of the level of support, the survey represents a balanced cross-section of the industry. Executive Leadership made up the largest group at 38.03%, closely followed by Tactical Execution and Operational Management, each representing 30.99% of respondents.

Key Insights from the Summer 2023 Survey

  • Business Conditions: Half of the respondents rated the current business conditions as Good, with 46.48% viewing them as Normal and a small minority of 2.82% rating them as Bad. Looking ahead, the majority (54.93%) believe that business conditions will be better six months from now.

  • Revenue and Profits: Respondents were slightly more optimistic about their segment’s revenue, with 43.66% expecting it to be higher in six months. However, the majority (56.34%) believe that profits will remain the same between now and the end of the year.

  • Key Challenges: The respondents identified ‘Increasing Types of Data’ (36.62%) and ‘Budgetary Constraints’ (19.72%) as the key challenges that will most impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months.

  • DSO, MRR, and Customer Base Distribution: Respondents characterized the trajectory of their organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter as primarily increasing or unfluctuating, with a significant number reporting that they do not know. Regarding the distribution of their organization’s revenue across their customer base during the last quarter, responses were almost equally distributed among those seeing it unfluctuating, those seeing it increasing, and those who do not know.

Implications for Industry Professionals

These results provide valuable insights that can guide decision-making for cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery professionals operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem:

  • Addressing Key Challenges: The survey identified ‘Increasing Types of Data’ and ‘Budgetary Constraints’ as the key challenges that are expected to impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months. Professionals should prioritize strategies and solutions to address these challenges, such as investing in advanced data management and analytics tools, and finding ways to optimize budget allocation.

  • Optimizing for Business Conditions: With half of the respondents rating current business conditions as Good and a majority expecting conditions to be better in six months, professionals should consider this as a positive signal to invest in growth opportunities. This might include expanding services, investing in new technologies, or scaling up teams.

  • Revenue and Profit Expectations: With a significant number of respondents expecting their segment’s revenue to be higher in six months, but the majority expecting profits to remain the same, professionals should focus on strategies that boost profitability. This might involve improving operational efficiencies, exploring new revenue streams, or managing costs more effectively.

  • Monitoring Financial Indicators: The survey results on Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), and Customer Base Distribution provide valuable insights into financial operations. Professionals should benchmark these metrics against their own organization’s performance and make financial decisions accordingly.

  • Strategic Planning: The aggregated insights from the survey can help professionals to validate their strategic planning, resource allocation, and decision-making processes. By aligning strategies with industry trends and challenges, professionals can enhance their organization’s resilience and competitiveness.

This first look at the Summer 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey provides a comprehensive snapshot of the current state and future expectations within the eDiscovery industry. As the industry continues to evolve, these insights will continue to be invaluable for professionals navigating this dynamic landscape. Future analyses will delve deeper into these trends, offering a more detailed understanding of the business of eDiscovery.

Summer Survey Questions (Required)

n = 71 Respondents
1. Which of the following segments best describes your business in eDiscovery?
Part of the eDiscovery ecosystem where your organization resides  
  • Software and/or Services Provider: 35.21%
  • Law Firm: 29.58%
  • Consultancy: 15.49%
  • Corporation: 9.86%
  • Media/Research Organization: 4.23%
  • Other: 4.23%
  • Governmental Entity: 1.41%
Survey Respondents by Organizational Segment – Summer 2023

2. How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment?
Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations  
  • Good: 50.70%
  • Normal: 46.48%
  • Bad: 2.82%
Current Business Climate Overview – Summer 2023

3. How do you think the business conditions will be in your segment six months from now?
Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations  
  • Better: 54.93%
  • Same: 45.07%
  • Worse – 0.0%
Business Climate Overview + Six Months – Summer 2023

4. How would you guess revenue in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
Revenue is income generated from eDiscovery-related business activities  
  • Higher: 43.66%
  • Same: 50.70%
  • Lower: 5.63%
Revenue Overview + Six Months – Summer 2023

5. How would you guess profits in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
Profit is the amount of income remaining after accounting for all expenses, debts, additional revenue streams, and operating costs  
  • Higher: 35.21%
  • Same: 56.34%
  • Lower: 8.45%
Profits Overview + Six Months – Summer 2023

6. Of the six items presented below, what is the issue that you feel will most impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months?
Challenges that may directly impact the business performance of your organization  
  • Increasing Types of Data: 36.62%
  • Budgetary Constraints: 19.72%
  • Increasing Volumes of Data: 18.31%
  • Lack of Personnel: 11.27%
  • Data Security: 9.86%
  • Inadequate Technology: 4.23%
Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance – Summer 2023

7. In which geographical region do you primarily conduct eDiscovery-related business?
The location from which you are basing your business assessments  
  • North America – United States: 92.96%
  • North America – Canada: 4.23%
  • Asia/Asia Pacific: 1.41%
  • Europe – United Kingdom: 1.41%
  • Europe (Non-UK) – 0.0%
  • Middle East/Africa – 0.0%
  • Central/South America – 0.0%
Survey Respondents by Geographic Region – Summer 2023

8. What area best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?  
  • Legal/Litigation Support: 71.83%
  • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions): 23.94%
  • IT/Product Development: 4.23%
Survey Respondents by Primary Function – Summer 2023

9. What area best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?  
  • Executive Leadership: 38.03%
  • Operational Management: 30.99%
  • Tactical Execution: 30.99%
Survey Respondents by Level of Support – Summer 2023

Business Metric Trajectory Questions (Optional)

10. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) during the last quarter?
n=65 Respondents  
  • Increasing: 29.23%
  • Unfluctuating: 29.23%
  • Decreasing: 13.85%
  • Do Not Know: 27.69%
eDiscovery Business Metric Trajectory – Days Sales Outstanding – Summer 2023

11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
n=65 Respondents
  • Increasing: 33.85%
  • Unfluctuating: 23.08%
  • Decreasing: 9.23%
  • Do Not Know: 33.85%
eDiscovery Business Metric Trajectory – Monthly Recurring Revenue – Summer 2023

12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?
n=65 Respondents  
  • Increasing: 29.23%
  • Unfluctuating: 29.23%
  • Decreasing: 12.31%
  • Do Not Know: 29.23%
eDiscovery Business Metric Trajectory – Distribution of Revenue Across Customer Base – Summer 2023

 *Survey methodology focuses on the achievement of at least 50 responses with the least number of emails sent to the ComplexDiscovery industry professional database. This approach seeks to minimize the number of requests for participation in surveys while ensuring a solid number of responses from which to generally assess market sentiment in survey areas of interest.
Respondent Backgrounder
Aggregate Surveys (Winter 2016 – Summer 2023)
Summer Surveys (Summer 2016 – Summer 2023)

Complete Presentation: Market Kinetics – eDiscovery Business Confidence – Summer 2023 (PDF) – Mouseover to Scroll

0 – Business Confidence – 071623

Additional Reading
Source: ComplexDiscovery


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ComplexDiscovery is a premier online publication renowned for providing essential insights and intelligence in the realms of cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery to professionals navigating these fields. As a leading source of information, the publication expertly combines original research with aggregated news to cater to a highly specialized audience. Committed to enhancing readers’ understanding of relevant topics, ComplexDiscovery stands as an impartial and comprehensive resource for exploring trends, technologies, and services associated with electronically stored information.

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