A New Era in eDiscovery? Framing Market Growth Through the Lens of Six Eras

There are many excellent resources for considering chronological and historiographical approaches to framing the eDiscovery market. This updated approach to framing eDiscovery market growth has been developed around six eras of eDiscovery and is only one of many ways to reflect on market growth over time. It is highlighted to serve as a potential starting point and a stimulus point for thoughtful research, descriptions, and discussions around this established segment of the legal technology market.

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Content Assessment: A New Era in eDiscovery? Framing Market Growth Through the Lens of Six Eras

Information - 95%
Insight - 90%
Relevance - 95%
Objectivity - 90%
Authority - 90%

92%

Excellent

A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent post highlighting market growth in eDiscovery through the lens of six eras.

Typically used to highlight a span of time for purposes of chronology or historiography, the word era (1) is defined by the Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary as a period identified by some prominent figure or characteristic feature. (2) In researching data points on the size of the eDiscovery market from its inception through the reasonably forecastable future, it appears to be clear that, at best, the market can generally be described as one that has experienced an initial accelerated growth period followed by periods of strong, steady, and controlled growth punctuated recently by what appears to be a temporary retraction. However, what seems less clear is how one might frame, describe, and delineate each of these growth periods, or eras, for study, comparison, and discussion.

Talking Points: A New Era in eDiscovery? Framing Market Growth Through the Lens of Six Eras

With the understanding that there are many ways to construct a framework for considering and conversing about market growth over time, provided below in a talking point format* is one era-based approach that may be helpful for deconstructing time frames, market size, growth rates, and investment pulse rates for the eDiscovery market from 2002 through 2025. This updated era-based approach also attempts to put a memorable “face” on each defined time frame by associating each era with a prominent platform, a technology trajectory, or market growth description.

Six Eras of eDiscovery: A General Chronological Overview 

  • The Concordance Era: 2002-2009
  • The Clearwell Era: 2009-2012
  • The Relativity Era: 2012-2018
  • The Next** Era: 2018-2019
  • The Retraction Era: 2019-2020
  • The Remote Era: 2020-2025

The Concordance Era: Characterized by accelerated growth of a new market.

  • General Time Frame: 2002-2009
  • Estimated Market Size in 2002: $0.3B (3)
  • Estimated Market Size in 2009: $3B (4)
  • Market Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR): 38.95%
  • Technologies adapted for eDiscovery (1st Generation Platforms) or designed for specific tasks in eDiscovery (2nd Generation Platforms). (5)
  • Estimated Merger, Acquisition, and Investment (M&A+I) Events in eDiscovery: 69 (2002 – 2009) (6)

Figure 1: Market Size in the Concordance Era

The eDiscovery Market – The Concordance Era (2002-2009)

The Clearwell Era: Characterized by the strong growth of an expanding market.

  • General Time Frame: 2009-2012
  • Estimated Market Size in 2009: $3B (7)
  • Estimated Market Size in 2012: $4.73B (8)
  • Market CAGR: 16.39%
  • Technologies designed for specific tasks in eDiscovery (2nd Generation Platforms) or designed to integrate multiple tasks in eDiscovery (3rd Generation Platforms). (9)
  • Estimated M&A+I Events in eDiscovery: 91 (2010-2012) (10)

Figure 2: Market Size in the Clearwell Era

The eDiscovery Market – The Clearwell Era (2009-2012)

The Relativity Era: Characterized by the steady growth of an established market.

  • General Time Frame: 2012-2018
  • Estimated Market Size in 2012: $4.73B (11)
  • Estimated Market Size in 2018: $10.11B (12)
  • Market CAGR: 13.5%
  • Technologies designed to integrate multiple tasks in eDiscovery (3rd Generation Platforms) and designed for task automation (4th Generation Platforms). (13)
  • Estimated M&A+I Events in eDiscovery: 210 (2013-2018) (14)

Figure 3: Market Size in the Relativity Era

The eDiscovery Market – The Relativity Era (2012-2018)

The Next** Era: Characterized by the controlled growth of an entrenched market.

  • General Time Frame 2018-2019
  • Estimated Market Size in 2018: $10.11B (15)
  • Estimated Market Size in 2019: $11.23B (16)
  • Market CAGR: 11.08% (Forecast)
  • Technologies designed for integration and automation of eDiscovery (4th Generation Platforms) and adopted to extend beyond traditional trigger-event initiated legal discovery to data-creation initiated data discovery (5th Generation Platforms). (17)(18)
  • Estimated M&A+I Events in eDiscovery: 46 (2019) (19)

Figure 4: Market Size in the Next Era

4 – The eDiscovery Market – The Next Era 2018-2019

The Retraction Era: Characterized by the abrupt deceleration and retraction of market growth.

  • General Time Frame 2019-2020
  • Estimated Market Size in 2019: $11.23B (20)
  • Estimated Market Size in 2020: $10.89B (21)
  • Market CAGR: -3.03% (Forecast)
  • Technologies designed for integration and automation of eDiscovery (4th Generation Platforms), adopted to extend beyond traditional trigger-event initiated legal discovery to data-creation initiated data discovery (5th Generation Platforms) and enhanced to support remote work environments. (22)(23)
  • Estimated M&A+I Events in eDiscovery: 32*** (2020) (24)

Figure 5 – Market Size in the Retraction Era

5 – The eDiscovery Market – The Retraction Era – 2019-2020

The Remote Era: Characterized by the increasing reliance on remote technologies to support market growth.

  • General Time Frame 2020-2025
  • Estimated Market Size in 2020: $10.89B (25)
  • Estimated Market Size in 2025: $15.12B (26)
  • Market CAGR: 6.79% (Forecast)
  • Technologies designed for integration and automation of eDiscovery (4th Generation Platforms), adopted to extend beyond traditional trigger-event initiated legal discovery to data-creation initiated data discovery (5th Generation Platforms) and to securely support remote work environments. Additionally characterized by the increasing acceptance and application of artificial intelligence in solving and securing eDiscovery challenges. (27)(28)
  • Estimated M&A+I Events in eDiscovery: 23*** (2021)(29)

Figure 6 – Market Size in the Remote Era

6 – The eDiscovery Market – The Remote Era – 2020-2025

Post Script: Framing the eDiscovery Market

There are many excellent resources for considering chronological and historiographical approaches to framing the eDiscovery market. This talking point approach developed around six eras of eDiscovery is only one of many ways to reflect on market growth over time. And it is highlighted only to serve as a potential starting point and a stimulus point for thoughtful research, descriptions, and discussions around this established segment of the legal technology market.


* A Talking Point Format is essentially an expanded outline that contains clear and easily remembered phrases and facts designed to help keep a presenter on topic.

** The Next Era serves as the designation of the pre-COVID time frame from 2018-2019 where innovation and internationalization were the key drivers of sustained industry growth. As no single platform or engine defined this era, the general term next was used to represent the era as many of the leading offerings began to enhance their offerings with next-generation technologies during this short time frame.

***As of June 6, 2021.


References

(1) En.wikipedia.org. (2020). Era. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Era [Accessed 12 Nov. 2020].

(2) Merriam-Webster.com. (2020). Definition of ERA. [online] Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/era [Accessed 12 Nov. 2020].

(3) Robinson, R. (2020). An eDiscovery Market Sizing Mashup: 2020-2025. [online] ComplexDiscovery. Available at: https://complexdiscovery.com/an-ediscovery-market-size-mashup-2020-2025-worldwide-software-and-services-overview/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2020].

(4) Ibid.

(5) Robinson, R. (2016). Considering Fourth Generation eDiscovery Technology Offerings: Two Approaches, Part One. [online] ComplexDiscovery. Available at: https://complexdiscovery.com/considering-fourth-generation-ediscovery-technology-offerings-two-approaches-part-one/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2020].

(6) Robinson, R. (2020). An Abridged Look at the Business of eDiscovery: Mergers, Acquisitions, and Investments. [online] ComplexDiscovery. Available at: https://complexdiscovery.com/an-abridged-look-at-ediscovery-investing/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2020]

(7) Robinson, An eDiscovery Market Sizing Mashup: 2020-2025.

(8) Ibid.

(9) Robinson, Considering Fourth Generation eDiscovery.

(10) Robinson, An Abridged Look at the Business of eDiscovery.

(11) Robinson, An eDiscovery Market Sizing Mashup: 2020-2025.

(12) Ibid.

(13) Robinson, Considering Fourth Generation eDiscovery.

(14) Robinson, An Abridged Look at the Business of eDiscovery.

(15) Robinson, An eDiscovery Market Sizing Mashup: 2020-2025.

(16) Ibid.

(17) Robinson, Considering Fourth Generation eDiscovery.

(18) Robinson, R. (2019). Automating eDiscovery: A Strategic Framework. [online] ComplexDiscovery. Available at https://complexdiscovery.com/integrating-and-automating-ediscovery/ [Accessed 12 Nov.2020].

(19) Robinson, An Abridged Look at the Business of eDiscovery.

(20) Robinson, An eDiscovery Market Sizing Mashup: 2020-2025.

(21) Ibid.

(22) Robinson, Considering Fourth Generation eDiscovery.

(23) Robinson. Automating eDiscovery: A Strategic Framework.

(24) Robinson, An Abridged Look at the Business of eDiscovery.

(25) Robinson, An eDiscovery Market Sizing Mashup: 2020-2025.

(26) Ibid.

(27) Robinson, Considering Fourth Generation eDiscovery.

(28) Robinson. Automating eDiscovery: A Strategic Framework.

(29) Robinson, An Abridged Look at the Business of eDiscovery.

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery

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ComplexDiscovery is an online publication that highlights cyber, data and legal discovery insight and intelligence ranging from original research to aggregated news for use by cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery professionals. The highly targeted publication seeks to increase the collective understanding of readers regarding cyber, data and legal discovery information and issues and to provide an objective resource for considering trends, technologies, and services related to electronically stored information.

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