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    Content Assessment: Cold Front Concerns? Eighteen Observations on eDiscovery Business Confidence in the Fall of 2022

    Information - 94%
    Insight - 93%
    Relevance - 95%
    Objectivity - 94%
    Authority - 96%

    94%

    Excellent

    A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent post highlighting aggregate observations of ongoing industry confidence in the eDiscovery business.

    Editor’s Note: The results of the recent Fall 2022 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 that have been administered to eDiscovery professionals since survey inception.

    Initiated in January 2016, the survey has been administered twenty-eight times with 2,874 individual responses. The latest survey was administered in the fall of 2022 and had 100 respondents.


    Industry Survey

    The Business of Discovery in the Fall of 2022 Aggregate Results

    Overview and Charts

    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.

    Specific survey questions include:

    • Which of the following segments best describes your business in eDiscovery?
    • How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment?
    • How do you think the business conditions will be in your segment six months from now?
    • How would you guess revenue in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
    • How would you guess profits in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
    • 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?
    • In which geographical region do you primarily conduct eDiscovery-related business?
    • What area best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
    • What area best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
    • How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) during the last quarter?
    • How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
    • Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?

    The latest survey was administered in the fall of 2022 and had 100 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (37.0%), operational management (34.0%), and tactical execution (29.0%). Industry segments represented in the survey included software and service providers (33.0%), law firms (33.0%), corporations (16.0%), consultancies (6.0%), governmental entities (5.0%), others (4.0%), and media and research professionals (3.0%).

    Based on the aggregate results of twenty-eight surveys, the following findings and charted overviews of responses to survey questions may help in understanding the collective mindset of many industry experts regarding the business of eDiscovery.

    Eighteen Survey Observations

    Observations on Business Conditions (Charts 1-4)

    Business Climate (Charts 1 and 2)

    • In the fall of 2022, 97.0% of eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey respondents felt the current business conditions are good or normal. This combined confidence level represents a 1.1% increase in these same feelings when compared to the summer of 2022, when 95.9% felt the conditions were good or normal.
    • Exactly 56.0% of survey respondents characterized the current business climate as good. This represents a slight decrease from 57.5% of respondents who viewed the business climate as good in the summer of 2022. This decrease from the summer of 2022 may represent a continued shrinking of optimism in the current general business climate for eDiscovery.
    • Only 3.0% of respondents classified the current business condition as bad. This represents a decrease of 1.1% in this area from the last quarter. This is also the lowest percentage of respondents viewing the current business conditions as bad since the beginning of the survey in the winter of 2016.
    • In the fall of 2022, 37.0% of eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey respondents felt that business climate conditions will be better in six months. This is a 9.6% decrease from sentiment in the summer of 2022, when 46.6% of survey respondents felt that the business conditions would be better in six months.
    • The number of survey respondents that felt the business conditions will remain the same in six months increased significantly by 11.4% from the previous quarter to 58.0%. 58.0% is also the highest number of survey respondents who felt that the business conditions would remain the same in six months since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016.
    • The number of respondents expecting the business climate of eDiscovery to be worse in six months decreased in the fall of 2022 to 5.0%, down from 6.8% in the summer of 2022. 

    Revenue Expectations (Chart 3)

    • In the fall of 2022, 49.0% of survey respondents felt that revenue in the next sixth months will be higher than today. This percentage is lower than the sentiment on this metric in the summer of 2022 (54.8%) and may represent a continued decrease of optimism toward positive revenue expectations for the fourth quarter of 2022.
    • 45.0% of the survey respondents felt that revenue in the next six months would not change. This represents a 6.6% increase quarter over quarter from 38.4% in the summer of 2022.
    • The percentage of respondents who felt that revenue in six months will be lower than today decreased to 6.o% in the fall of 2022, 0.8% lower than in the summer of 2022.

    Profit Expectations (Chart 4)

    • 30.0% of survey respondents felt that profits will be higher in six months than they are today. This is a solid decrease from the summer of 2022, when 38.4% of respondents estimated profits to be higher in six months.
    • The percentage of respondents who felt that profits will be the same in six months increased strongly quarter over quarter from 47.9% in the summer of 2022 to 58.0% in the fall of 2022.
    • The percentage of respondents who felt that profits in six months will be lower than today increased quarter over quarter, with 12.0% expressing this sentiment in the fall of 2022, as opposed to 13.7% in the summer of 2022.

    Observations on Business Impact Factors (Chart 5)

    • In the fall of 2022, 28.0% of respondents viewed increasing types of data as potentially having the greatest impact on their business in the next six months. This percentage is the highest of all concerns represented in the fall 2022 survey. This percentage is also the third-highest rating in the area of increasing types of data concerns since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016. 
    • The percentage of respondents that viewed budgetary constraints as a top business issue increased slightly by 0.3% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 25.0% of survey respondents.
    • The percentage of respondents that viewed lack of personnel as a top business concern decreased slightly in the last quarter from 16.4% in the summer of 2022 to 16.0% in the fall of 2022. This is a continued drop from the winter of 2022 when the percentage of respondents expressing their concern about the lack of personnel as their top business performance concern was the highest in this area since the inception of the survey.
    • Increasing volumes of data continued to be a reasonably consistent concern for eDiscovery professionals, with 16.0% of fall 2022 survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial impact on business in the next six months. This was a slight increase in this area from the 15.1% response rate in the summer 2022 survey. 
    • Respondent’s concern for the impact of data security on eDiscovery business performance increased slightly (1.4%) during the last quarter and continues to be the top concern for 11.0% of those surveyed. 
    • In the fall of 2022, the impact of inadequate technology as the top business issue decreased by 1.5% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by only 4.0% of survey respondents. This is also the lowest concern of any issue in the fall 2022 survey.

    Survey Charts

    (Charts Can Be Expanded for Detailed Viewing)


    Chart 1: How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment?
    Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations.

    1 - General Climate Overview - Aggregate - Fall 2022

    Chart 2: 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.

    2 - General Climate Overview + Six Months - Aggregate - Fall 2022

    Chart 3: 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.

    3 - Revenue Overview + Six Months - Aggregate - Fall 2022

    Chart 4: 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.

    4 - Profits Overview + Six Months - Aggregate - Fall 2022

    Chart 5: An Aggregate Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance Challenges that may directly impact the business performance of your organization.

    5 - Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance - Aggregate - Fall 2022

    Chart 6: Survey Participant Overview

    6 - Survey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview) - Fall 2022

    Chart 7: Survey Participant Level of Support Overview

    7 - Survey Respondents by Level of Support - Aggregate - Fall 2022

    Chart 8: Survey Participant Industry Segment Overview

    8 - Survey Respondents by Industry Segment - Aggregate - Fall 2022 - Update

    Past Survey Results

    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.

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

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