Much Ado About Something? The Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies (2020)

The information and insight highlighted by Marko Sillanpaa of Gartner in the recently published Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies, 2020, may be useful for legal, business, and information technology professionals as they consider the positioning and potential for emerging data and legal discovery technologies.

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Research Overview

Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies, 2020 

Published on July 20, 2020, by the research and analyst firm Gartner, the new Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies, 2020 research (G00465146) is designed, according to Gartner, to help application leaders responsible for legal and compliance technologies anticipate and evaluate the impact of emerging legal technology and other business innovations. This information and insight may be useful for legal, business, and information technology professionals as they consider the positioning and potential for data and legal discovery technologies.

Authored by industry analyst Marko Sillanpaa, the Hype Cycle research is available for purchase from the Gartner website ($1,995.00). Complimentary copies and commentary of the research typically can also be viewed from the websites of vendors who routinely purchase rights to distribute Gartner reports or by industry publishers and commentators highlighting the research in their education efforts.

Content Assessment: Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies

Information - 85%
Insight - 85%
Relevance - 95%
Objectivity - 85%
Authority - 90%



A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent post highlighting the Legal and Compliance Technologies Hype Cycle from Gartner.

Considering the Hype Cycle Model

Introduced in 1995 by Gartner, Inc. the hype cycle model explains a generally applicable path a technology takes in terms of expectations or visibility of the value of the technology (y-axis) and time (x-axis). According to the Gartner Glossary, Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a graphical depiction of a common pattern that arises with each new technology or other innovation.

Descriptions of the five phases of the Hype Cycle as noted in the 2010 research paper, Scrutinizing Gartner’s Hype Cycle Approach (Martin Steinert and Larry John Leifer), include:

  • Technology (Innovation) Trigger: A public announcement or demonstration triggers the cycle. Awareness about the technology starts to spread and attracts the first media coverage. Venture capitalists and adopting companies are aiming to capitalize on possible first-mover advantages.
  • Peak of Inflated Expectations: This phase is characterized by high expectations boosted or hyped further by media coverage. Following a bandwagon effect, companies invest without having a clear strategy or sound business case.
  • Trough of Disillusionment: The over-enthusiasm and hyped investments result in commercial adoptions that fail to meet performance and/or revenue expectations. Public disappointments spreads and are again hyped by media, this time negatively.
  • Slope of Enlightenment: Some early adopters who continued working with the technology begin to experience net benefits and regain motivation. With more investments, the contextual understanding of the technology grows, resulting in increasing performance. The technology begins to be socialized.
  • Plateau of Productivity: The technology is realistically valued. Following successful market place demonstrations, the adoption accelerates.

Graphical Depiction of Hype Cycle


Image by Jeremy Camp via English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Additionally, the 20 August 2018 research report from Gartner, Understanding Gartner’s Hype Cycles (G00370163), provides a detailed overview and graphical depiction of the Hype Cycle model.

Applying the Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies

Per the publicly published table of contents of Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies, 2020, key technologies and innovations represented in the recent (July 2020) research include:

On the Rise (Innovation Trigger)

  • Subject Rights Requests
  • Legal Chatbots
  • Third-Party Risk Management
  • AI in Corporate Legal Practice
  • AI Governance
  • Blockchain for Data Security

At the Peak (Peak of Inflated Expectations)

  • Legal Spend Management
  • Data Breach Response
  • Consent and Preference Management
  • Smart Contracts
  • Digital Ethics
  • Explainable AI
  • Alternative Legal Service Providers
  • Legal and Compliance Analytics
  • Advanced Contract Analytics
  • Prescriptive Analytics
  • Privacy Impact Assessments

Sliding Into the Trough (Trough of Disillusionment)

  • Integrated Risk Management
  • Natural Language Query
  • Data and Analytics Governance
  • Digital Business Transformation
  • Blockchain
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  • Privacy Management Tools

Climbing the Slope (Plateau of Productivity)

  • Corporate Legal Matter Management
  • E-Discovery Software
  • Contract Life Cycle Management
  • Enterprise Legal Management
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Text Analytics
  • Ethics and Compliance Management

About the Author of the 2020 Hype Cycle for Legal and Compliance Technologies

Marko Sillanpaa is a Research Director at Gartner. He works with both the Content Insights and Legal groups. In the legal arena, he has a strong knowledge of legal document management (LDM) and contract life cycle management (CLM). His primary focus is on the overlapping technology spaces of purpose-built LDMS or CLM solutions developed on content services platforms.

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery

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