Is the eDiscovery world ready to adopt evolving technology?

The Electronic Discovery Reference Model also known as EDRM model in the world of legal eDiscovery is a SIX step process that defines the process of managing the electronically stored information for legal requirements was launched by Tom Gelbmann and George Socha in May 2005. Ever since numerous vendors have launched various products to address different steps of the EDRM model and have been successful at addressing one or more steps of the model.

However the piecemeal approach of adoption of EDRM by vendors was quickly perceived as a limitation of the EDRM model as CIOs failed to recognize which product best serves their need in the EDRM model. As quoted by CIO of a NYC based law firm regarding EDRM model – “It’s very useful, except it doesn’t name tools. For example, an archiving tool from the information management area will also perform search, making it useful for identification.” – in an article published in Storage Technology information, news and tips in April 2009.

The decision-makers for implementing one of these products overlooked the challenges posed by using disjointed products for different steps.

The increased volume of net new electronic data generated by users and their relevance in court proceedings highlighted the real essence of the EDRM model – the model that was perceived to be a six steps to eDiscovery was actually a six phase process in which all the phases has to work in tandem for a complete and reliable eDiscovery project. Thus EDRM model demanded one unified solution that can meet the needs of every phase of this model and provide an end-to-end eDiscovery solution rather than point solutions.

Though the technology has the ability to provide such solution and the industry recognizes the need for such solution the question that arises is if users of the solution are prepared to take advantage. The Senior Manager, Legal Operation of a California based leading lifesciences company that deployed an end-to-end eDiscovery solution, ZL Unified Archive®, to enhance their eDiscovery process said “I am surprised that even top notch candidates for paralegal position doesn’t know end-to-end eDiscovery process.” She added that candidates know disparate steps of the EDRM model but not the end-to-end eDiscovery model.

Thus it is important not just for the technology to evolve and create better products but for users of technology to adapt alongside. At times audience can get so used to current state of affairs that they might not even know the pain points with existing process. Thus technology leaders will be able to better serve the market if they focus not only on delivering better products but also in creating awareness of evolving requirements and trends in the industry. By doing so they can serve their target market better and in turn they could help themselves by creating awareness among its audience. However if they fail to raise the awareness no matter how much technology may advance target market might not realize its need and continue to treat EDRM as a six steps to eDiscovery instead of a six phase process.

This article was first published on February 10, 2014

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