Bobby Balachandran, Exterro's president and CEO, began last week's inFusion12 conference by addressing the challenges associated with big data. He talked about the four Vs – volume, velocity, veracity and variety – to help describe a new e-discovery reality being shaped by the expanding and evolving nature of electronically stored information (ESI). It is the job of companies like Exterro, he said, to continually innovate and create software that empowers greater e-discovery command and control. It was a theme that resounded throughout the two-day conference held outside Portland, Oregon, at the Resort at the Mountain near Mt. Hood. Conference participants, representing mainly corporate legal and IT teams, shared their collective frustration with the big data explosion and a desire to get to key data sooner in the e-discovery cycle.
Greg Buckles, analyst with eDJ Group, served as moderator for two of the conference panel discussions. I had a chance to speak with him in between sessions and he observed, “One of the pain points that we saw today where people really got interactive on the sessions was around the need to reduce the data volumes before they're sent out. They want visibility upstream, with the ability to see the ESI in the wild and connect into principle data sources, such as email platforms, native file shares and SharePoint."
In addition to the educational sessions, attendees were also treated to a showcase of some of the newest features and capabilities in the Exterro Fusion® e-discovery suite. Attendees seemed particularly interested in new features that deliver greater visibility into e-discovery activities, including Fusion's new Matter 360 Dashboard, which provides a high-level summary and chronological view of the e-discovery matter life cycle by phase, and a new email threading feature, which offers insight into potentially missing emails during in-place ECA and later stage review analysis.
Bennett Borden, chair of the e-discovery and information governance practice group at Williams Mullen, made his third trip to inFusion, participating in sessions on defensible data reduction and the emergence of platform technology to manage the e-discovery process. He explained that since review accounts for 80% of e-discovery expenses, practitioners are definitely turning to technology to help reduce the amount of data that goes to outside counsel. “Getting more visibility into your data and doing more analysis and culling on the inside before sending it outside is definitely where clients are going to find the most cost savings," he said.
More so than at previous inFusion conferences, participants seemed especially interested in the role single, integrated e-discovery platforms can play in managing the e-discovery process as a whole. I asked Buckles if that signaled a potential shift in the market. “We've seen a definite shift in the purchasing model, not just on allocation of funding to buy e-discovery technology for in house. Most importantly, it's the development of an e-discovery process, having the right people to run it and recognizing that e-discovery is a part of business that they need to invest in," Buckles said.
One company represented at inFusion12 that appears to have made excellent strides in that area is The Hanover Insurance Group. The company's corporate legal department was awarded the Fusion Implementation of the Year. In the award presentation, David Hartmann, Exterro's director of client success, noted The Hanover Insurance Group's commitment to improving e-discovery efficiency and bringing in stakeholders from different professional disciplines. Linda Luperchio, the company's director of information lifecycle governance, credited collaboration with the Exterro team as one of the things that made the Fusion implementation project so successful. “When we brought (Exterro) the issues that we had, I told them we needed to put (the project) together really quickly – within a week – they did it. They saw our need, understood the problem and everyone worked with our team to make it happen."
It was a fitting end to what was indeed a very collaborative two days at the mountain.