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%
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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 Overview6 - Survey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview) - Fall 2022
Chart 7: Survey Participant Level of Support Overview7 - Survey Respondents by Level of Support - Aggregate - Fall 2022
Chart 8: Survey Participant Industry Segment Overview8 - Survey Respondents by Industry Segment - Aggregate - Fall 2022 - Update
Past Survey Results
- 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: 2021-2026 Worldwide Software and Services Overview
- A Running List: Top 100+ eDiscovery Providers
Complete Presentation – Market Kinetics – eDiscovery Business Confidence – An Aggregate Overview (PDF) – Mouseover to Scroll0 - Business Confidence - Aggregate Results - 101522
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