An eDiscovery Challenge: Pricing Consistency and Transparency
eDiscovery continues to challenge law firms and legal departments with a lack of consistency and transparency in pricing. This lack of consistency1 and transparency appears to have many reasons with most originating from that fact that eDiscovery solutions (software and/or services) tend to be complex and require and understanding of need, volume, and duration before the configuration of a specific quote to assign a price to the value to be provided. However, with the advent of fourth generation2 eDiscovery solutions, it appears that some vendors are now comfortable enough with their understanding of the economics and capabilities of their solutions to publicly present pricing to current and potential customers. This public presentation of pricing or at least portions of pricing represents a shift in the “muscle memory” of eDiscovery providers schooled in the approach of extracting as much revenue from each individual customer with pricing that is hidden behind the veil of customization and obfuscated in quotes and on invoices. Two eDiscovery providers that represent this new approach to sharing pricing are CloudNine and Logikcull.
Published Pricing: Two eDiscovery Examples*
CloudNine and Logikcull are both eDiscovery providers with cloud-based, SaaS-delivered technology3. Recently both companies began publicly sharing the pricing of their technology solutions, providing an example of how consistent and transparent pricing can be highlighted leading eDiscovery vendors.
In April of 2017, Logikcull published an article4 that both highlighted its published pricing and presented an example of the pricing through the lens of Craig Ball’s EDna Challenge.5 The EDna challenge provides parameters for vendors to offer solutions that must support key eDiscovery tasks and includes a review of up to 90 days and case duration of up to two years. The challenge is for vendors to be able to deliver such a solution for under $5,000. In using the comparative challenge parameters presented by the EDna Challenge and restated by Logikcull, provided below is an example of the benefit of consistent and transparent pricing by both organizations, that being the ability to compare offerings against hypothetical situations to begin to compare and contrast pricing in the evaluation of offerings.
Comparative Challenge Parameters
+ Three Person Legal Team
+ Process, Search, Review, and Produce
+ 10 Custodians
+ 10-12 GB Total of Data
+ Up to 90 Day Review
+ Up to 21 Months Archiving
+ Automated Data Processing and Hosting for 12 GB: $35/GB eDiscovery Cost for First Three Months ($35x12x3) = $1,260
+ $5/GB Nearline Archiving Fee For Twenty-One Months ($5x12x21) = $1,260
+ Unlimited Users = $0
+ Unlimited Exports/Productions (Self Service) = $0
= Total Cost: ($1,260+$1,260) = $2,520
+ Automated Data Processing and Hosting for 12 GB: $40/GB eDiscovery Cost for First Three Months ($40x12x3) = $1,440
+ Archiving For Twenty-One Month = $2,016
+ Unlimited Users = $0
+ Unlimited Exports/Productions = $0
= Total Cost ($1,440 + $2,016) = $3,456
While the cost differential is minimal, and both offerings meet the technology and business challenges posed by the EDna Challenge, the real value of this comparison is to present how the consistency and transparency of publicly published pricing allows for these types of comparisons without the need for specific challenges and with legal professionals being able to make initial comparisons without special or one-off quotes.
Conclusion: Transparency Is Beneficial
As law firms and legal departments strive to select the best solutions for their particular eDiscovery challenges, it is important for them to be able to compare and contrast the pros and cons of different offerings. While many vendors publicly present detailed offering attributes regarding capability, flexibility, delivery model, and security approaches, many do not share public information on pricing and pricing models. Given the fact that budgetary constraints8 are one of the leading elements impacting the conduct of discovery, by publicly publishing pricing vendors can help simplify the eDiscovery decision-making process by removing one of the most common concerns early in the evaluation process. That concern being “how much is this going to cost.”
* These are only two examples of consistent and transparent pricing published publicly. They were selected given the availability of the comparison criteria (Logikcull EDna Parameters) and detailed public pricing presented by CloudNine and Logikcull. If you would like ComplexDiscovery to consider your public pricing, please email a link to the public pricing and an example of the pricing regarding the highlighted EDna Challenge parameters.
1. Eichenholz, Sean. “Pricing Processing In E-Discovery: Keep The Invoice From Being A Surprise”. Pretrial, Practice and Discovery 19.2 (2011): n. pag. Print.
2. Robinson, Rob. “Considering Fourth Generation eDiscovery Technology Offerings: Two Approaches“. ComplexDiscovery. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.
3. Zhang, Jie, and Garth Landers. Market Guide For E-Discovery Solutions. Gartner, 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.
4. Hilson, Robert. “Ediscovery For Everyone? The Pipe Dream Is Now A Reality”. Logikcull. N.p., 2017. Web. 16 May 2017.
5. Ball, Craig. “Edna: Still Cheap And Challenged“. Ball In Your Court. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.
6. “Simplified Pricing For Simplified Discovery“. CloudNine – The eDiscovery Automation Company. N.p., 2017. Web. 16 May 2017.
7. “Predictable Pricing. No Surprises.“. Logikcull. N.p., 2017. Web. 16 May 2017.
8. Robinson, Rob. “A Bump or Slump from Trump? eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey – Spring 2017 Results“. ComplexDiscovery. N.p., Web. 16 May 2017.
About the Author
Based in Austin, Texas, I [Rob Robinson] am a technology marketer who has held senior leadership positions with multiple top-tier data and legal technology providers and currently serves as the CMO of CloudNine. I write and post regularly on technology and marketing topics on the ComplexDiscovery(.com) blog, and publish a regular newsletter on data and legal discovery.
ComplexDiscovery is a personal website/blog. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not have an affiliation with at this time. My views and opinions may change from time to time as I come to learn more and develop a deeper understanding of the areas and issues highlighted on this website/blog. This website/blog also may include links to other sites/blogs operated by third parties. These links are provided as a means of convenient access to the information/opinion contained therein, and I am in no way responsible for the content of any other sites or any products or services that may be offered through linked sites.