The Issue That Currently Concerns eDiscovery Professionals The Most: Budgetary Constraints (Summer 2019)

In the summer of 2019, 27.2% of respondents viewed increasing 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 and also is the eighth time in fifteen surveys that this issue has been rated as the top concern.

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An Article by Rob Robinson

Budgetary Constraints: A Current Concern for eDiscovery Professionals

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.

The latest survey was administered in the summer of 2019 and had 173 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (27.2%), operational management (37.6%), and tactical execution (35.3%).

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 on the business of eDiscovery.

Seven Key Findings in the Summer of 2019

  • In the summer of 2019, 27.2% of respondents viewed increasing 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 and also is the eighth time in fifteen surveys that this issue has been rated as the top concern. (Charts 1 and 2)
  • The percentage of respondents viewing budgetary constraints as a top business concern increased substantially in the last quarter, increasing as a concern by 6.6% from 20.6% in the spring of 2019 to 27.2% in the summer of 2019. (Chart 3)
  • Increasing data volumes continue to be a great concern for eDiscovery professionals with 22.5% of summer survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial impact on business in the next six months. This is a slight decrease from the previous quarter when this concern was viewed as the highest concern for potentially impacting business in the next six months. (Chart 4)
  • The percentage of respondents viewing the impact of increasing types of data as a top business issue increased slightly in the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 20.8% of summer 2019 survey respondents. This is the third 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 increased slightly during the last quarter and is the top concern for 12.7% of survey respondents. This is also the third quarter in a row this issue has increased as a concern for survey respondents. (Chart 6)
  • The percentage of respondents viewing the impact of data security as a top business issue decreased 3.4% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 11.6% of survey respondents. (Chart 7)
  • In the summer of 2019, the impact of inadequate technology as the top business issue decreased 3.1% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by only 5.2% of survey respondents. This is the lowest rating of this issue as a concern by survey respondents since the inception of the survey and the lowest rating of any concern since the inception of the survey. (Chart 8)

Considering Fifteen 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 eight times in fifteen quarters (3x Winter*, 2x Spring, 2x Summer, 1x Fall).
  • Increasing Volumes of Data: The top concern six times in fifteen quarters (2x Winter*, 2x Spring, 1x Summer, 1x Fall).
  • Data Security: Never ranked as the top concern.
  • Increasing Types of Data: The top concern two times in fifteen 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.

Survey Charts

(Charts Can Be Expanded for Detailed Viewing)


Chart 1: An Aggregate Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance

1 – Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance

 


Chart 2: An Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance in Summer 2019

2 – Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance

 


Chart 3: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Budgetary Constraints as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business

3 – Impact of Budgetary Constraints on eDiscovery Business

 


Chart 4: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Volumes of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business

7 – Impact of Increasing Volumes of Data on eDiscovery Business

 


Chart 5: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Types of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business

6 – Impact of Increasing Types of Data on eDiscovery Business

 


Chart 6: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Lack of Personnel as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business

8 – Impact of Lack of Personnel on eDiscovery Business

 


Chart 7: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Data Security as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business

4 – Impact of Data Security on eDiscovery Business

 


Chart 8: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Inadequate Technology as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business

5 – Impact of Inadequate Technology on eDiscovery Business

 


Running Listing of Survey Results


Chart 9: Survey Participant Overview

9 – Survey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview)

Source: ComplexDiscovery

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