An Unusually Warm Summer? eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results – Summer 2019

This is the fifteenth quarterly eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey conducted by ComplexDiscovery. More than 1,621 individual responses have been received from legal, business, and technology professionals across the eDiscovery ecosystem since the inception of the survey and 173 respondents shared their opinions as part of the summer 2019 survey.

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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 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.

Initiated in January 2016, to date the survey has been administered fifteen times with 1,621 individual responses. The survey is open to legal, business, and information technology professionals operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem and individuals are invited to participate primarily via direct email invitations.

Summer 2019 Survey Results

The summer 2019 survey response period was initiated on July 1, 2019, and continued until registration of 173 responses (July 17, 2019). Thanks to the strong support of the leadership and marketing team at the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), this quarter’s survey experienced the highest number of responders in a summer survey and the second-highest number of responders in any survey since the inception of the survey in January of 2016.

While individual answers to the survey are confidential, the aggregate and unfiltered results are published to highlight the business confidence of participants regarding economic factors impacting the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services during the summer of 2019.


Business Confidence Questions (Required)

n = 173 Respondents

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

  • Software and/or Services Provider – 31.8% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Law Firm – 30.6% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Corporation – 15.6% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Consultancy – 12.7% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Governmental Entity – 5.8% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Other – 2.3% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Media/Research Organization – 1.2% (Up from Spring 2019)
1 – Survey Respondents by Organizational Segment

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 – 50.9% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Normal – 41.6% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Bad – 7.5% (Up from Spring 2019)
2 – 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 – 39.9% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Same – 56.1% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Worse – 4.0% (Up from Spring 2019)
3 – 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 – 41.6% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Same – 51.4% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Lower – 6.9% (Up from Spring 2019)
4 – 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 – 31.2% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Same – 57.2% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Lower – 11.6% (Up from Spring 2019)
5 – 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 – 27.2% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Increasing Volumes of Data – 22.5% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Increasing Types of Data – 20.8% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Lack of Personnel – 12.7% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Data Security – 11.6% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Inadequate Technology – 5.2% (Down from Spring 2019)
6 – 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) – 90.2% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Europe (UK) – 4.0% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • North America (Canada) – 2.3% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Europe (Non-UK) – 1.7% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Asia/Asia Pacific – 0.6% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Middle East/Africa – 0.6% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Central/South America – 0.6% (Up from Spring 2019)
7 – 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 – 80.3% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions) – 16.2% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • IT/Product Development – 3.5% (Down from Spring 2019)
8 – Survey Respondents by Primary Function

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

  • Operational Management – 37.6% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Tactical Execution – 35.3% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Executive Leadership – 27.2% (Up from Spring 2019)
9 – 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=156 Respondents

  • Increasing – 18.6% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Unfluctuating – 23.7% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Decreasing – 5.8% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Do Not Know – 51.9% (Down from Spring 2019)
10 – Survey DSO Trajectory

11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
n=156 Respondents

  • Increasing – 32.7% (Increasing from Spring 2019)
  • Unfluctuating – 16.0% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Decreasing – 7.7% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Do Not Know – 43.6% (Up from Spring 2019)
11 – Survey MRR Trajectory

12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?
n=156 Respondents

  • Increasing – 30.8% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Unfluctuating – 22.4% (Up from Spring 2019)
  • Decreasing – 4.5% (Down from Spring 2019)
  • Do Not Know – 42.3% (Down from Spring 2019)
12 – Survey Revenue Distribution Trajectory

 Past Survey Results

Source: ComplexDiscovery

Business as Unusual? Eighteen Observations on eDiscovery Business Confidence in the Summer of 2020

The results of the recent Summer 2020 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey present the unfortunate and continuing impact of COVID-19 on the business of eDiscovery. However, for these pandemic-driven results to be fully understood, they should be viewed through the contextual lens of the results of all nineteen surveys that have been administered to eDiscovery professionals since the inception of the eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey in early 2016.



Check Out the Observations Now!

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