Based on the complexity of data and legal discovery, it is a continual challenge to understand the relationships, opportunities, and costs of specific eDiscovery tasks. With this challenge in mind and to provide information and context to discussions around the eDiscovery task of processing, the following processing-centric task, spend, and cost data points may be beneficial to legal, business, and IT professionals considering the economics of eDiscovery.
The Task: Processing
Within the context of data discovery and legal discovery, the task of processing consists of reducing the volume of collected electronically stored information (ESI) through automated processing techniques and modifying it, if necessary, to forms more suitable for other eDiscovery tasks including review and analysis. It is one of three tasks, that along with collection and review, make up the core tasks typically associated with the process of eDiscovery.
In considering the relative costs of the three core eDiscovery tasks of collection, processing, and review, in 2012, processing represented approximately 19% of the total expenditure for eDiscovery tasks, with collection representing 8% of expenditures and review representing 73% of expenditures.(1) Based on market modeling since 2012, the current relative cost of the eDiscovery task of processing remains the same and is estimated to be 19% of expenditures in 2019. In 2019, the core eDiscovery task of collection is currently estimated to represent 12% of expenditures, and the core eDiscovery task of review is estimated to represent 69% of expenditures.(2)
Chart 1: Relative Task Expenditures for eDiscoveryRelative Task Expenditures for Core eDiscovery Tasks (PRO)
The Spend: Market Opportunity for Processing
In evaluating the market spend for the eDiscovery task of processing through the lens of relative task expenditures and modeled market estimations, spending on processing-related software and services is estimated to constitute approximately 19% ($2.17B) of worldwide eDiscovery software and services spending in 2019. While the percentage of spending for the eDiscovery task of processing is estimated to continue to be approximately 19% of overall eDiscovery spending through 2023, the spend in dollars for eDiscovery processing is estimated to grow to $3.55B by 2023.(3)
Chart 2: eDiscovery Market for ProcessingeDiscovery Market for Processing (2018-2023)
The Cost: Processing Pricing Data Points
While many individual elements contribute to the cost of processing, results from the semi-annual eDiscovery Pricing Survey (4) may provide insight into six key costs and cost trends related to the eDiscovery task of processing. These costs include the per GB cost to process ESI based on volume at ingestion, the per GB cost to process ESI based on volume at completion of processing, the per GB per month cost to host ESI without analytics, the per GB per month cost to host ESI with analytics, the user license fee per month for access to hosted data, and the per hour cost of project management support for eDiscovery.
Responses from the winter 2019 and the summer 2019 eDiscovery Pricing Survey regarding these six processing-related cost questions posed to data and legal discovery professionals are provided below for your consideration.
Chart 3: What is the per GB cost to process electronically stored information based on volume at ingestion?Processing Pricing_ Per GB Cost to Process ESI Based on Volume at Ingestion
Chart 4: What is the per GB cost to process electronically stored information based on volume at completion of processing?Processing Pricing_ Per GB Cost to Process ESI Based on Volume at Completion of Processing
Chart 5: What is the per GB per month cost to host electronically stored information without analytics?Processing Pricing_ Per GB Cost Per Month to Host ESI without Analytics
Chart 6: What is the per GB per month cost to host electronically stored information with analytics?Processing Pricing_ Per GB Cost Per Month to Host ESI with Analytics
Chart 7: What is the user license fee per month for access to hosted data?Processing Pricing_ User License Fee Per Month for Access to Hosted Data
Chart 8: What is the per hour cost of project management support for eDiscovery?Processing Pricing_ Per Hour Cost of Project Management Support for eDiscovery
(1) Pace, N., & Zakaras, L. (2012). Where the Money Goes: Understanding Litigant Expenditures for Producing Electronic Discovery (p. xiv, xv). RAND Institute for Civil Justice.
(2) Robinson, R. (2018). eDiscovery Market Size Mashup: Worldwide Software and Services Overview – 2018-2023. Retrieved from https://complexdiscovery.com/an-ediscovery-market-size-mashup-worldwide-software-and-services-overview-2018-2023/
(4) Robinson, R. (2019). What is the Price of Admission? Summer 2019 eDiscovery Pricing Survey Results. Retrieved from https://complexdiscovery.com/what-is-the-price-of-admission-summer-2019-ediscovery-pricing-survey-results/
- Considering eDiscovery Collection? Task, Spend, and Cost Data Points
- eDiscovery Market Sizing
- eDiscovery Surveys