Article by Rob Robinson
eDiscovery Professionals Concerned with Budgetary Constraints
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 responder sentiment regarding the business operational metrics of days sales outstanding (DSO), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and revenue distribution across customer bases. The survey is open to legal, business, and information technology professionals operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem and individuals are invited to participate by ComplexDiscovery primarily via direct email invitations.
Initiated in January 2016, to date the survey has been administered thirteen times with 1,268 individual responses.
The latest survey was administered in the winter of 2019 and had 75 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (33.3%), operational management (33.3%), and tactical execution (33.3%).
One of the questions in the quarterly survey asks participants to select from a listing of six issues 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
- Increasing Types of Data
- Data Security
- Increasing Volumes of Data
- Lack of Personnel
- Inadequate Technology
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 over time on the business of eDiscovery.
Seven Key Findings in the Winter of 2019
- In the winter of 2019, 22.7% of respondents viewed budgetary constraints as potentially having the greatest business impact on their business in the next six months. This percentage is the highest of all concerns represented in the survey. (Chart 1)
- Significantly increasing since last quarter, budgetary constraints continue to be one of the top concerns for eDiscovery professionals. This challenge has been ranked as the top concern amongst presented issue choices in seven of the thirteen quarters of the survey. (Chart 2)
- The percentage of respondents viewing the impact of increasing types of data as a top business issue decreased slightly for the second quarter in a row and is now viewed as the top concern by 18.7% of winter 2019 survey respondents. (Chart 3)
- The percentage of respondents viewing the impact of data security as a top business issue decreased for the second quarter in a row and is now viewed as the top concern by 12% of survey respondents. (Chart 4)
- Increasing data volumes continue to be a strong concern for eDiscovery professionals with 21.3% of survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial potential impact on business in the next six months. This is the second quarter in a row this concern has increased, and it continues to represent a critical concern for survey participants. (Chart 5)
- The impact of a lack of personnel on eDiscovery business performance decreased during the last quarter and is the top concern for 12% of survey respondents. (Chart 6)
- In the winter of 2019, the impact of inadequate technology on eDiscovery business performance reached its second-highest level of reported concern since the inception of the survey in 2016 with 13.3% of survey respondents listing it as the top potential issue impacting eDiscovery business. (Chart 7)
Considering Thirteen Quarters of Results from 2016 to 2019
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 is shared to create context as to the cyclical concerns of eDiscovery professionals.
- Budgetary Constraints: The top concern seven times in thirteen quarters (3x Winter*, 2x Spring, 1x Summer, 1x Fall).
- Increasing Volumes of Data: The top concern five times in thirteen quarters (2x Winter*, 1x Spring, 1x Summer, 1x Fall).
- Data Security: Never ranked as the top concern.
- Increasing Types of Data: The top concern two times in thirteen quarters (1x Summer, 1x Fall).
- Lack of Personnel: Never ranked as the top concern.
- Inadequate Technology: Never ranked as the top concern.
* Top concern tie 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
Chart 2: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Budgetary Constraints as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Budgetary Constraints on eDiscovery Business
Chart 3: 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
Chart 4: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Data Security as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Data Security on eDiscovery Business
Chart 5: 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
Chart 6: 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
Chart 7: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Inadequate Technology as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessImpact of Inadequate Technology on eDiscovery Business
Running Listing of Survey Results
- Winter 2019 Survey (27 December 18 – 10 January 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)
Chart 8: Survey Participant OverviewSurvey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview)
Source: Original Research