Article by Rob Robinson
eDiscovery Professionals Concerned with Increasing Volumes of Data
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 fourteen times with 1,448 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 spring of 2019 and had 180 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (24.4%), operational management (36.1%), and tactical execution (39.4%).
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 Spring of 2019
- In the spring of 2019, 25% of respondents viewed increasing volumes of data 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)
- Decreasing slightly as a concern since last quarter, budgetary constraints continue to be one of the top concerns for eDiscovery professionals with 20.6% of survey respondents noting it as their top challenge in the spring of 2019. This challenge has been ranked as the top concern amongst presented issue choices in seven of the fourteen quarters of the survey. (Chart 2)
- 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 18.9% of spring 2019 survey respondents. (Chart 3)
- The percentage of respondents viewing the impact of data security as a top business issue increased 3% in the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 15% of survey respondents. (Chart 4)
- Increasing data volumes continue to be a great concern for eDiscovery professionals with 25% of spring survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial impact on business in the next six months. This is the third quarter in a row this concern has increased, and it continues to represent a critical concern for survey participants. This quarter is also the sixth time in fourteen surveys that increasing data volumes has been rated as the top quarterly concern amongst presented issues. (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 12.2% of survey respondents. (Chart 6)
- In the spring of 2019, the impact of inadequate technology as the top business issue decreased 5% in the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 8.3% of survey respondents. (Chart 7)
Considering Fourteen 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 fourteen quarters (3x Winter*, 2x Spring, 1x Summer, 1x Fall).
- Increasing Volumes of Data: The top concern six times in fourteen 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 fourteen 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
- Spring 2019 Survey (1 April – 18 April 2019)
- 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)