The Issue That Currently Concerns eDiscovery Professionals The Most: Increasing Volumes of Data (Spring 2019)

In the Spring 2019 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey, 25% of respondents viewed increasing volumes of data as potentially having the greatest impact on their business in the next six months. This percentage is the highest of all concerns represented in the survey. Budgetary constraints were also viewed as a considerable issue with 20.6% of survey respondents noting it as their greatest business concern.

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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.

Survey Charts

(Charts Can Be Expanded for Detailed Viewing)


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

Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance

 


Chart 2: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Budgetary Constraints as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business

Impact 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 Business

Impact 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 Business

Impact 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 Business

Impact 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 Business

Impact 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 Business

Impact of Inadequate Technology on eDiscovery Business

 


Running Listing of Survey Results


Chart 8: Survey Participant Overview

Survey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview)

Source: ComplexDiscovery