Content Assessment: Bludgeoned Budgets? Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance: A Winter 2023 Overview
Information - 94%
Insight - 92%
Relevance - 91%
Objectivity - 93%
Authority - 94%
A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent post highlighting issues impacting the business of eDiscovery as reported in the winter 2023 quarterly business confidence survey from ComplexDiscovery.
Editor’s Note: The results of the recent Winter 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey present the impact of key issues on the business of eDiscovery. However, for issues and their potential impact on the business of eDiscovery to be fully understood, they should be viewed through the contextual lens of the results of all the surveys administered to eDiscovery professionals since survey inception.
Initiated in January 2016, the survey has been administered twenty-nine times with 2,939 individual responses. The latest survey was administered in the winter of 2023 and had 65 respondents.
Background Note: The results of the 2023 Winter eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey and, specifically, the responses related to potential business performance challenges provide valuable insights into the concerns and challenges facing cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery professionals. By identifying the top concerns, such as increasing budgetary constraints, data volume challenges, and data security issues, professionals in these fields can allocate resources effectively, prioritize investments in technology and personnel, and make informed decisions to address these challenges and improve their business performance in the next six months.
The 2023 Winter eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey found that 32.3% of respondents viewed increasing budgetary constraints as the greatest concern, making it the highest of all concerns and the fifth-highest rating since the survey’s inception in 2016. The concern for increasing data volumes was relatively consistent with 20.0% of respondents viewing it as potentially having a significant impact on business in the next six months, which was an increase from the previous survey. Additionally, the concern for the impact of data security on eDiscovery business performance increased and continues to be the top concern for 15.4% of those surveyed. On the other hand, the concern for increasing types of data decreased significantly and was viewed as the greatest impact on business by only 13.8% of respondents, which was the lowest percentage of concern in this area since 2020. The concern for lack of personnel decreased to 9.2% in the winter 2023 survey, which was a continuation of the drop from the winter of 2022. Finally, the impact of inadequate technology as a top business issue increased to 9.2% in the winter of 2023, which was the highest concern in this specific area since the winter of 2019.
Budgetary Constraints: A Returning Challenge for the Business of eDiscovery
The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a nonscientific 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.
The latest survey was administered in the winter of 2023 and had 65 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (27.7%), operational management (30.8%), and tactical execution (41.5%). Industry segments represented in the survey included law firms (33.8%), software and service providers (18.5%), others (16.9%), consultancies (13.8%), corporations (12.3%), and media and research professionals (4.6%). No government entities responded to the survey.
One of the questions in the quarterly survey asks participants to select from a listing of six choices the issue they view as potentially having the most impact on their eDiscovery business during the next six months. The issues presented include:
- Budgetary Constraints
- Data Security
- Inadequate Technology
- Increasing Types of Data
- Increasing Volumes of Data
- Lack of Personnel
While not all-inclusive, the listing of issues provides a realistic overview of potential areas that appear to have a direct and ongoing impact on the business of eDiscovery.
Based on the aggregate results of past surveys, the following findings and charted overviews of responses to the question of issues impacting business may be helpful in understanding the collective mindset of many industry experts regarding these issues and their impact on the business of eDiscovery.
Six Key Findings in the Winter of 2023
- In the winter of 2023, 32.3% of respondents viewed increasing budgetary constraints as potentially having the greatest impact on their business in the next six months. This percentage is the highest of all concerns in the winter 2023 survey. This percentage is also the fifth-highest rating in the area of budgetary constraint concerns since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016. (Charts 1,2, and 3)
- Increasing volumes of data continued to be a reasonably consistent concern for eDiscovery professionals with 20.0% of winter 2023 survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial impact on business in the next six months. This was a solid increase in this area from the 16.0% response rate in the fall 2022 survey. (Chart 4)
- Respondent’s concern for the impact of data security on eDiscovery business performance increased solidly (4.4%) during the last quarter and continues to be the top concern for 15.4% of those surveyed. (Chart 5)
- In the winter of 2023, 13.8% of respondents viewed increasing types of data as potentially having the greatest impact on their business in the next six months. This percentage is a significant decrease from 28.0% in this area in the fall of 2022. This is also the lowest percentage of concern for respondents in this area since the spring of 2020. (Charts 6)
- The percentage of respondents that viewed lack of personnel as a top business concern decreased in the last quarter from 16.0% in the fall of 2022 to 9.2% in the winter of 2023. This is a continued drop from the winter of 2022 when the percentage of respondents expressing their concern of lack of personnel as their top business performance concern was the highest in this area since the inception of the survey. (Chart 7)
- In the winter of 2023, the impact of inadequate technology as the top business issue increased by 5.2% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 9.2% of survey respondents. While the lowest overall concern in the winter 2023 survey, this is also the highest concern in this specific area since the winter 2019 survey. (Chart 8)
Considering Twenty-Nine Quarters of Results from 2016 to 2023
From a top-issue perspective, the following potential issues and the number of quarterly times they have been considered the top concern by survey respondents are shared to create context as to the continuing concerns of eDiscovery professionals.
- Budgetary Constraints: 15*
- Increasing Types of Data: 7
- Increasing Volumes of Data: 6*
- Lack of Personnel: 2
- Data Security: 0
- Inadequate Technology: 0
* Top concern tied between Budgetary Constraints and Increasing Volumes of Data in the Winter of 2017.
(Charts Can Be Expanded for Detailed Viewing)
Chart 1: An Aggregate Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business PerformanceIssues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance - Aggregate - Winter 2023
Chart 2: An Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance in the Winter of 2023Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance - Winter 2023
Chart 3: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Budgetary Constraints as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Budgetary Constraints on eDiscovery Business - Winter 2023
Chart 4: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Volumes of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Increasing Volumes of Data on eDiscovery Business - Winter 2023
Chart 5: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Data Security as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Data Security on eDiscovery Business - Winter 2023
Chart 6: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Types of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Increasing Types of Data on eDiscovery Business - Winter 2023
Chart 7: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Lack of Personnel as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Lack of Personnel on eDiscovery Business - Winter 2023
Chart 8: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Inadequate Technology as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Inadequate Technology on eDiscovery Business - Winter 2023
Chart 9: Survey Participant OverviewSurvey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview) - Winter 2023
Past Survey Results
- Winter 2023 Survey (22 January – 27 January 2023)
- Fall 2022 Survey (11 September – 22 September 2022)
- Summer 2022 Survey (10 June – 27 June 2022)
- Spring 2022 Survey (18 March – 23 March 2022)
- Winter 2022 Survey (6 January – 12 January 2022)
- Fall 2021 Survey (5 October – 12 October 2021)
- Summer 2021 Survey (22 June – 6 July 2021)
- Spring 2021 Survey (28 March – 11 April 2021)
- Winter 2021 Survey (3 January – 12 January 2021)
- Fall 2020 Survey (21 September – 1 October 2020)
- Summer 2020 Survey (26 June – 10 July 2020)
- Spring 2020 Survey (2 April – 15 April 2020)
- Winter 2020 Survey (28 December 2019 – 11 January 2020)
- Fall 2019 Survey (29 September – 17 October 2019)
- Summer 2019 Survey (1 July – 17 July 2019)
- Spring 2019 Survey (1 April – 18 April 2019)
- Winter 2019 Survey (27 December 2018 – January 10, 2019)
- Fall 2018 Survey (14 October – 26 October 2018)
- Summer 2018 Survey (4 July – 24 July 2018)
- Spring 2018 Survey (7 April – 20 April 2018)
- Winter 2018 Survey (24 December 17 – 15 January 2018)
- Fall 2017 Survey (5 October – 17 October 2017)
- Summer 2017 Survey (6 July – 31 July 2017)
- Spring 2017 Survey (14 April – 1 May 2017)
- Winter 2017 Survey (20 January – 6 February 2017)
- Fall 2016 Survey (11 October – 1 December 2016)
- Summer 2016 Survey (1 August – 31 August 2016)
- Spring 2016 Survey (1 May – 31 May 2016)
- Winter 2016 Survey (15 February – 29 February 2016)
- An eDiscovery Market Size Mashup: 2022-2027 Worldwide Software and Services Overview
- Defining Cyber Discovery? A Definition and Framework
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