Content Assessment: Surge or Splurge? Eighteen Observations on eDiscovery Business Confidence in the Spring of 2022
Information - 95%
Insight - 94%
Relevance - 97%
Objectivity - 93%
Authority - 96%
A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent post highlighting observations on eDiscovery business confidence.
Editor’s Note: The results of the recent Spring 2022 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 the surveys that have been administered to eDiscovery professionals since survey inception.
Initiated in January 2016, the survey has been administered twenty-six times with 2,701 individual responses. The latest survey was administered in the spring of 2022 and had 52 respondents.
The Business of Discovery in the Spring of 2022
Spring 2022 Survey
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.
Specific survey questions include:
- Which of the following segments best describes your business in eDiscovery?
- How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment?
- How do you think the business conditions will be in your segment six months from now?
- How would you guess revenue in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
- How would you guess profits in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
- Of the six items presented below, what is the issue that you feel will most impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months?
- In which geographical region do you primarily conduct eDiscovery-related business?
- What area best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
- What area best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
- How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) during the last quarter?
- How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
- Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?
The latest survey was administered in the spring of 2022 and had 52 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (57.7%), operational management (26.9%), and tactical execution (15.4%). Industry segments represented in the survey included law firms (36.5%), software and service providers (30.8%), consultancies (15.4%), corporations (3.8%), media and research professionals (3.8%), governmental entities (1.9%), and others (7.7%).
Based on the aggregate results of twenty-six surveys, the following findings and charted overviews of responses to survey questions may help in understanding the collective mindset of many industry experts regarding the business of eDiscovery.
Eighteen Survey Observations
Observations on Business Conditions (Charts 1-4)
Business Climate (Charts 1 and 2)
- In the spring of 2022, 94.3% of eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey respondents felt the current business conditions are good or normal. This combined confidence level represents a 2.0% decrease in these same feelings when compared to the winter of 2022 when 96.3% felt the conditions were good or normal.
- Exactly 71.2% of survey respondents characterized the current business climate as good. This represents an increase from 63.0% of respondents who viewed the business climate as good in the winter of 2022. This increase from the winter of 2022 may represent continued optimism in the current general business climate for eDiscovery. This is also the highest percentage of respondents viewing current business conditions as good since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016.
- Only 5.8% of respondents classified the current business condition as bad. This represents an increase of 2.1% in this area from the last quarter. This is also the second-lowest percentage of respondents viewing the current business conditions as bad since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.
- In the spring of 2022, 53.8% of eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey respondents felt that business climate conditions will be better in six months. This is a 5.7% increase from sentiment in the winter of 2022 when 48.1% of survey respondents felt that the business conditions would be better in six months.
- The number of survey respondents that felt the business conditions will remain the same in six months decreased strongly to 44.2%.
- The number of respondents expecting the business climate of eDiscovery to be worse in six months remained the same in the spring of 2022 as in the winter of 2022, stabilizing at 1.9%. This percentage is also tied for the lowest percentage of respondents who felt the business climate will be worse in six months since the inception of the survey.
Revenue Expectations (Chart 3)
- In the spring of 2022, 63.5% of survey respondents felt that revenue in the next sixth months will be higher than today. This percentage is slightly higher than sentiment on this metric in the winter of 2022 (59.3%) and represents continued optimism toward positive revenue expectations for the first half of 2022.
- 30.8% of the survey respondents felt that revenue in the next six months would not change. This represents an 8.1% decrease quarter over quarter from 38.9% in the winter of 2022.
- The percentage of respondents who felt that revenue in six months will be lower than today increased to 5.8% in the spring of 2022, 3.9% higher than in the winter of 2022.
Profit Expectations (Chart 4)
- 44.2% of survey respondents felt that profits will be higher in six months than they are today. This is a marked increase from the winter of 2022 when 40.7% of respondents estimated profits to be higher in six months.
- The percentage of respondents who felt that profits will be the same in six months decreased slightly quarter over quarter from 50.0% in the winter of 2022 to 46.2% in the spring of 2022.
- The percentage of respondents who felt that profits in six months will be lower than today increased minimally quarter over quarter, with 9.6% expressing this sentiment in the spring of 2022, as opposed to 9.3% in the winter of 2022.
Observations on Business Impact Factors (Chart 5)
- In the spring of 2022, 36.5% of respondents viewed increasing types 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 spring 2022 survey. This percentage is also the highest rating in the area of increasing types of data concerns since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016.
- The percentage of respondents that viewed lack of personnel as a top business concern decreased significantly in the last quarter from 35.2% in the winter of 2022 to 21.2% in the spring of 2022. This is a drop from the previous quarter when the percentage of respondents expressing their concern of lack of personnel as their top business performance concern was the highest in this area since the inception of the survey.
- Increasing volumes of data continued to be a consistent concern for eDiscovery professionals with 19.2% of spring 2022 survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial impact on business in the next six months. This was a slight increase in this area from the 18.5% response rate in the winter 2022 survey.
- Respondent’s concern for the impact of data security on eDiscovery business performance increased solidly during the last quarter and is now the top concern for 9.6% of those surveyed, up from 7.4% in the winter of 2022.
- In the spring of 2022, the impact of inadequate technology as the top business issue increased by 5.8% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 7.7% of survey respondents.
- The percentage of respondents that viewed budgetary constraints as a top business issue decreased by 12.7% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by only 5.8% of survey respondents. This is also the lowest percentage of concern in this area since the inception of the survey.
(Charts Can Be Expanded for Detailed Viewing)
Chart 1: How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment?
Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations.
Chart 2: How do you think the business conditions will be in your segment six months from now?
Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations.
Chart 3: How would you guess revenue in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now? Revenue is income generated from eDiscovery-related business activities.3 - Revenue Overview + Six Months - Aggregate - Spring 2022
Chart 4: How would you guess profits in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now? Profit is the amount of income remaining after accounting for all expenses, debts, additional revenue streams, and operating costs.4 - Profits Overview + Six Months - Aggregate - Spring 2022
Chart 5: An Aggregate Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance Challenges that may directly impact the business performance of your organization.5 - Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance - Aggregate - Spring 2022
Chart 6: Survey Participant Overview6 - Survey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview) Spring 2022
Chart 7: Survey Participant Level of Support Overview7 - Survey Respondents by Level of Support - Aggregate - Spring 2022
Chart 8: Survey Participant Industry Segment Overview8 - Survey Respondents by Industry Segment - Aggregate - Update - Spring 2022
Past Survey Results
- Spring 2022 Survey (18 March – 23 March 2022)
- Winter 2022 Survey (6 January – 12 January 2022)
- Fall 2021 Survey (5 October – 12 October 2021)
- Summer 2021 Survey (22 June – 6 July 2021)
- Spring 2021 Survey (28 March – 11 April 2021)
- Winter 2021 Survey (3 January – 12 January 2021)
- Fall 2020 Survey (21 September – 1 October 2020)
- Summer 2020 Survey (26 June – 10 July 2020)
- Spring 2020 Survey (2 April – 15 April 2020)
- Winter 2020 Survey (28 December 2019 – 11 January 2020)
- Fall 2019 Survey (29 September – 17 October 2019)
- Summer 2019 Survey (1 July – 17 July 2019)
- Spring 2019 Survey (1 April – 18 April 2019)
- Winter 2019 Survey (27 December 2018 – January 10, 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)
- An eDiscovery Market Size Mashup: 2021-2026 Worldwide Software and Services Overview
- Defining Cyber Discovery? A Definition and Framework
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