Article by Rob Robinson
Budget Constraints Continue to Concern eDiscovery Professionals
Initiated in January of 2016, 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 multiple choice questions focused on factors related to the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services. 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. The survey has been administered eleven times since January 2016 with 1,108 individuals responses. The latest survey was administered in the Summer of 2018 and had 66 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (45.4%), operational management (27.3%), and tactical execution (27.3%).
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 Volumes of Data
- Data Security
- Increasing Types 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 Summer of 2018
- In the Summer of 2018, 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)
- Increasing slightly since last quarter, budgetary constraints continue to be one of the top concerns for eDiscovery professionals and this challenge has been ranked as the top concern amongst presented issue choices in six of the last eleven quarters of the survey. (Chart 2)
- The percentage of respondents viewing the impact of increasing types of data as a top business issue increased significantly during the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 21.2% of survey respondents. (Chart 3)
- The percentage of respondents viewing the impact of data security as a top business issue slightly increased during the last quarter and is viewed as the top concern by 19.7% of survey respondents. (Chart 4)
- Increasing volumes of data continue to be a strong concern with 16.7% of survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial potential impact on business in the next six months. This is a drop over last quarter’s survey results, but still represents a critical concern for survey participants. (Chart 5)
- The impact of lack of personnel on eDiscovery business performance appears to be viewed as slightly more of an issue now than it was in the previous quarter. (Chart 6)
- In the Summer of 2018, the impact of inadequate technology on eDiscovery business performance continued to be one of the least concerning issues amongst presented issue choices. (Chart 7)
Considering Eleven Quarters of Results from 2016 to 2018
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. (Table Overview)
- Budgetary Constraints: The top concern six times in eleven quarters (2x Winter*, 2x Spring, 1x Summer, 1x Fall).
- Increasing Volumes of Data: The top concern five times in eleven quarters (2x Winter*, 1x Spring, 1x Summer, 1x Fall).
- Data Security: Never ranked as the top concern.
- Increasing Types of Data: The top concern one time in eleven quarters (1x Summer).
- 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 Business Performance - Summer 2018
Chart 2: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Budgetary Constraints as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessBudgetary Constraints - Summer 2018
Chart 3: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Types of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessTypes of Data - Summer 2018
Chart 4: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Data Security as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessData Security - Summer 2018
Chart 5: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Volumes of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessVolumes of Data - Summer 2018
Chart 6: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Lack of Personnel as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessLack of Personnel - Summer 2018
Chart 7: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Inadequate Technology as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery BusinessInadequate Technology - Summer 2018
Running Listing of Survey Results
- 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 Overview - Participants 2016-2018
Source: Original Research