Beautifully Dormant? eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results – Winter 2020

This is the seventeenth quarterly eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey conducted by ComplexDiscovery. More than 1,900 individual responses have been received from legal, business, and technology professionals across the eDiscovery ecosystem since the inception of the survey and 146 respondents shared their opinions as part of the winter 2020 survey.

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The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey

The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a non-scientific quarterly survey designed to provide insight into the business confidence level of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem. The survey consists of nine core multiple-choice questions focused on factors related to the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services. Additionally, the survey contains three optional questions focused on the business operational metrics of days sales outstanding (DSO), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and revenue distribution across customer bases.

Initiated in January 2016, to date the survey has been administered seventeen times with more than 1,900 individual responses. The survey is open to legal, business, and information technology professionals operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem and individuals are invited to participate primarily via direct email invitations.

Winter 2020 Survey Results

The winter 2020 survey response period was initiated on December 28, 2019, and continued until the registration of 146 responses (January 11, 2020). Thanks to the continued strong support of the leadership and marketing teams at both the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) and the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), this quarter’s survey experienced strong seasonal response rates within a short survey window and presents a strong picture of the current confidence levels of participants and practitioners in the eDiscovery ecosystem.

While individual answers to the survey are confidential, the aggregate and unfiltered results are published to highlight the business confidence of participants regarding economic factors impacting the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services during the winter of 2020.

Business Confidence Questions (Required)

n = 146 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 – 39.0% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Law Firm – 30.8% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Consultancy – 13.0%  (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Corporation – 8.9% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Other – 4.1% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Governmental Entity – 2.7% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Media/Research Organization – 1.4% (Up from Fall 2019)
1 Survey Respondents by Organizational Segment

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 – 50.0% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Normal – 41.1% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Bad – 8.9% (Up from Fall 2019)
2 Current Business Climate Overview

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 – 43.8.% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Same – 53.4% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Worse – 2.7% (Down from Fall 2019)
3 Business Climate Overview + Six Months

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 – 51.4% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Same – 44.5% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Lower – 4.1% (Down from Fall 2019)
4 Revenue Overview + Six Months

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 – 35.6% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Same – 54.1% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Lower – 10.3% (Up from Fall 2019)
5 Profits Overview + Six Months

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 – 25.3% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Budgetary Constraints – 23.3% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Increasing Volumes of Data – 18.5% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Lack of Personnel – 13.0% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Data Security – 12.3% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Inadequate Technology – 7.5% (Down from Fall 2019)
6 Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance

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) – 82.9% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Europe (UK) – 6.2% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • North America (Canada) – 3.4% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Europe (Non-UK) – 2.7% (Same as Fall 2019)
  • Middle East/Africa – 2.1% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Asia/Asia Pacific – 2.1% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Central/South America – 0.7% (Up from Fall 2019)
7 Survey Respondents by Geographic Region Update

8. What are best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

  • Legal/Litigation Support – 76.0% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions) – 17.1% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • IT/Product Development – 6.8% (Up from Fall 2019)
8 Survey Respondents by Primary Function

9. What are best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

  • Operational Management – 34.2% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Tactical Execution – 33.6% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Executive Leadership – 32.1% (Up from Fall 2019)
9 Survey Respondents by Level of Support

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=124 Respondents

  • Increasing – 19.4% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Unfluctuating – 34.7% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Decreasing – 6.5% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Do Not Know – 39.5% (Down from Fall 2019)
10 eDiscovery Business Metric Trajectory_ Days Sales Outstanding

11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
n=124 Respondents

  • Increasing – 34.7% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Unfluctuating – 25.0% (Down from Fall 2019)
  • Decreasing – 10.5% (Up From Fall 2019)
  • Do Not Know – 29.8% (Down from Fall 2019)
11 eDiscovery Business Metric Trajectory_ Monthly Recurring Revenue

12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?
n=124 Respondents

  • Increasing – 40.3% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Unfluctuating – 25.8% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Decreasing – 7.3% (Up from Fall 2019)
  • Do Not Know – 26.6% (Down from Fall 2019)
12 eDiscovery Business Metric Trajectory_ Distribution of Revenue Across Customer Base

 Past Survey Results

Source: ComplexDiscovery

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

ComplexDiscovery OÜ is a technology marketing firm providing strategic planning and tactical execution expertise in support of data and legal discovery organizations. Registered as a private limited company in the European Union country of Estonia, one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world, ComplexDiscovery OÜ operates virtually worldwide to deliver marketing consulting and services.

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