Help Wanted? Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance: A Fall 2021 Overview

In the fall of 2021, 27.4% of respondents viewed lack of personnel 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 fall 2021 survey. This percentage is also the highest concern rating in the area of lack of personnel since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016.

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Content Assessment: Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance: A Fall 2021 Overview

Information - 95%
Insight - 100%
Relevance - 95%
Objectivity - 95%
Authority - 100%

97%

Excellent

A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent post highlighting issues impacting the business of eDiscovery.

Editor’s Note: The results of the recent Fall 2021 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey present the impact of key issues on the business of eDiscovery. However, for issues and their potential impact on the business of eDiscovery to be fully understood, they should be viewed through the contextual lens of the results of all twenty-four surveys that have been administered to eDiscovery professionals since the inception of the eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey in early 2016.

Initiated in January 2016, the survey has been administered twenty-four times with 2,595 individual responses. The latest survey was administered in the fall of 2021 and had 73 respondents.

Lack of Personnel: An Accelerating Challenge to eDiscovery Business

The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a nonscientific 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, the survey has been administered twenty-four times with 2,595 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 fall of 2021 and had 73 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (45.2%), operational management (37.0%), and tactical execution (17.8%). Industry segments represented in the survey included software and service providers (42.5%), law firms (24.7%), consultancies (17.8%), corporations (6.8%), governmental entities (0.0%), media and research professionals (4.1%), and others (4.1%).

One of the questions in the quarterly survey asks participants to select from a listing of six choices 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
  • Data Security
  • Inadequate Technology
  • Increasing Types of Data
  • Increasing Volumes of Data
  • Lack of Personnel

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.

Six Key Findings in the Fall of 2021

  • In the fall of 2021, 27.4% of respondents viewed lack of personnel 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 fall 2021 survey. This percentage is also the highest rating in the area of lack of personnel concerns since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016. This is also the first time in twenty-four surveys that the issue of lack of personnel has been the top concern of survey respondents. (Charts 1,2, and 3)
  • The percentage of respondents that viewed increasing types of data as a top business concern increased in the last quarter from 24.4% in the summer of 2021 to 26.0% in the fall of 2021. This is the highest rating in the area of types of data concerns since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016 (Chart 4)
  • Increasing volumes of data continued to be a consistent concern for eDiscovery professionals with 16.4% of fall 2021 survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial impact on business in the next six months. This was a decrease in this area from the 20.0% response rate in the summer 2021 survey. (Chart 5)
  • The percentage of respondents that viewed budgetary constraints as a top business issue decreased 2.7% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 15.1% of survey respondents. This is also the second-lowest rate of concern in this area since the inception of the survey. (Chart 6)
  • In the fall of 2021, the impact of inadequate technology as the top business issue decreased slightly by 0.7% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 8.2% of survey respondents. (Chart 7)
  • The impact of data security on eDiscovery business performance decreased slightly during the last quarter and is now the top concern for 6.8% of respondents, down from 8.9% in the summer of 2021. This is the lowest rating of any business performance impact concern in the fall 2021 survey. It is also is the lowest concern rate in this area since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016. (Chart 8)

Considering Twenty-Four Quarters of Results from 2016 to 2021

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 continuing concerns of eDiscovery professionals.

  • Budgetary Constraints: 14* 
  • Increasing Volumes of Data: 6*
  • Increasing Types of Data: 4
  • Data Security: 0
  • Lack of Personnel: 1
  • Inadequate Technology: 0

* 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 - Fall 2021

 


Chart 2: An Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance in the Fall of 2021

2 - Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance - Fall 2021 - Overview

 


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

3 - Impact of Lack of Personnel on eDiscovery Business - Fall 2021

 


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

4 - Impact of Increasing Types of Data on eDiscovery Business - Fall 2021

 


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

5 - Impact of Increasing Volumes of Data on eDiscovery Business - Fall 2021

 


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

6 - Impact of Budgetary Constraints on eDiscovery Business - Fall 2021

 


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

7 - Impact of Inadequate Technology on eDiscovery Business - Fall 2021

 


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

8 - Impact of Data Security on eDiscovery Business - 2021

 


Chart 9: Survey Participant Overview

9 - Survey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview) Fall 2021

Past Survey Results

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery

 

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

ComplexDiscovery OÜ is a technology marketing firm providing strategic planning and tactical execution expertise in support of cyber, data and legal discovery organizations. Focused primarily on supporting the ComplexDiscovery publication, the company is registered as a private limited company in the European Union country of Estonia, one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world. The company operates virtually worldwide to deliver marketing consulting and services.

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