The Glass is Half Full | eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results – Fall 2018

This is the twelfth quarterly eDiscovery business confidence survey conducted by ComplexDiscovery. More than 1,100 individual responses have been received from legal, business, and technology professionals across the eDiscovery ecosystem in the course of the last three years and 85 respondents shared their opinions as part of the fall 2018 survey.

The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey

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. Additionally, in the fall of 2018 three new questions were added to determine 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 twelve times with 1,193 individual responses.

Fall 2018 Survey Results

The fall 2018 survey response period was initiated on October 14, 2018, and continued until registration of 85 responses (October 26, 2018). This limiting of responders is reflective of an adjusted survey participant listing based on GDPR implementation by ComplexDiscovery and sensitivity to the increasing number of industry surveys.

While individual answers to the survey are confidential, the aggregate results are published without commentary below to highlight the business confidence level of participants regarding economic factors impacting the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services during the fall of 2018.

Business Confidence Questions (Required)

n = 85 Respondents

1. Which of the following segments best describes your business in eDiscovery?
Part of the eDiscovery ecosystem where your organization resides.

  • Consultancy – 17.6%
  • Software and/or Services Provider – 37.6%
  • Law Firm – 35.3%
  • Corporation – 1.2%
  • Other – 3.5%
  • Governmental Entity – 4.7%
  • Media/Research Organization – 0%
Fall 2018 Survey Respondents by Organization

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

  • Good – 62.4%
  • Normal – 34.1%
  • Bad – 3.5%
Current Business Climate Overview

3. 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.

  • Better – 44.7%
  • Same – 51.8%
  • Worse – 3.5%
Business Climate Overview + Six Months

4. 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.

  • Higher – 57.6%
  • Same – 36.5%
  • Lower – 5.9%
Revenue Overview + Six Months

5. 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.

  • Higher – 41.2%
  • Same – 45.9%
  • Lower – 12.9%
Profits Overview + Six Months

6. 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?
Challenges that may directly impact the business performance of your organization.

  • Budgetary Constraints – 14.1%
  • Increasing Volumes of Data – 18.8%
  • Data Security – 15.3%
  • Increasing Types of Data – 20%
  • Lack of Personnel – 17.6%
  • Inadequate Technology – 14.1%
Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance

7. In which geographical region do you primarily conduct eDiscovery-related business?
The location from which you are basing your business assessments.

  • North America (United States) – 80%
  • Asia/Asia Pacific – 4.7%
  • Europe (UK) – 4.7%
  • North America (Canada) – 8.2%
  • Europe (Non-UK) – 2.4%
  • Central/South America – 0%
  • Middle East/Africa – 0%
Survey Respondents by Geographic Region

8. What are best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

  • Legal/Litigation Support – 76.5%
  • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions) – 17.6%
  • IT/Product Development – 5.9%
Fall 2018 Survey Respondent Function

9. What are best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

  • Executive Leadership – 41.2%
  • Operational Management – 30.6%
  • Tactical Execution – 28.2%
Survey Respondents by Level of Support

Business Metric Trajectory Questions (Optional)

10. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) during the last quarter?
n=78 Respondents

  • Increasing – 17.9%
  • Unfluctuating – 33.3%
  • Decreasing – 7.7%
  • Do Not Know – 41%
Fall 2018 Survey DSO

11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
n=77 Respondents

  • Increasing – 39%
  • Unfluctuating – 23.4%
  • Decreasing – 3.9%
  • Do Not Know – 33.8%
Fall 2018 Survey MRR

12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?
n=77 Respondents

  • Increasing – 42.9%
  • Unfluctuating – 24.7%
  • Decreasing – 5.2%
  • Do Not Know – 27.3%
Fall 2018 Survey Revenue Distribution

eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Meta Results

Provided below for review and download is a high-level PDF highlighting all previous survey responses since the initiation of the survey in January of 2016.


 Past Survey Results

Source: Original Research

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ComplexDiscovery is an online publication that highlights data and legal discovery insight and intelligence ranging from original research to aggregated news for use by business, information technology, and legal professionals. The highly targeted publication seeks to increase the collective understanding of readers regarding data and legal discovery information and issues and to provide an objective resource for considering trends, technologies, and services related to electronically stored information.

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