eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Business Confidence Takes a Major Spring Forward: eDiscovery Trends

Get it?  The Complex Discovery eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is into its third year and the results are in for the Spring 2018 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey!  As was the case for the 2016 Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall surveys, the 2017 Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall surveys and the 2018 Winter survey, the results for the Spring survey are published on Rob Robinson’s terrific Complex Discovery site.  How confident are individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem in the business of eDiscovery?  Let’s see.

As always, Rob provides a complete breakdown of the latest survey results, which you can check out here.  As I’ve done for the past few surveys, I will provide some analysis and, this year, I’ll take a look at all surveys conducted to look at trends over time.  So, this time, I will look at the results for all ten surveys.

The Spring 2018 Survey response period was initiated in March, and continued until registration of exactly 100 responses by last week.  Rob notes that this limiting of responders to 100 (or so) individuals is designed to create linearity in the number of responses for each quarterly survey.  So, in the future, if you want your voice heard, respond early!

This Survey is Consultant Heavy: For the first time ever, those who identified themselves as Consultants lead the way.  Of the types of respondents, 33% were Consultants, followed by Software and/or Services Provider (30%) and Law Firm (29%).  As always, if you count law firms as providers (they’re technically both providers and consumers), this is a very provider heavy survey (which makes perfect sense as they would be most interested in eDiscovery business confidence).  Here’s a graphical representation of the trend over the ten surveys to date:

This is the most provider heavy survey yet at 92% of total respondents!  So, how confident are providers in eDiscovery business confidence?  See below.

More Than Two Thirds of Respondents Consider Business to Be Good: Yowza!  Over two third (68%, to be exact) of respondents rated the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in their segment to be good, with 7% rating business conditions as bad.  That’s a record percentage of “good” votes.  Last quarter, those numbers were 58% and 7% respectively.  Will the positive sentiment continue?  We’ll see.  Here is the trend over the ten surveys to date:

This survey shows the highest percentage of “business is good” respondents ever by 6.2%! Spring 2016 was the previous high.  But, do respondents expect that to continue?  See below.

Revenue and Profit Expectations Six Months From Now Are Strong: Almost all respondents (94%) expect business conditions will be in their segment to be the same or better six months from now (one tick lower than last quarter’s 95%), and the percentage expecting business to be better fell six points to 50%.  Revenue (at combined 96% for the same or better) is three points higher than the last quarter.  Profit expectations (combined 86%) also rose three points from last quarter, with those expecting higher profits at an all-time high of 53%!  Here is the profits trend over the ten surveys to date:

Perhaps the weirdest results this time as both revenue and profits scored higher than general business conditions did.  Go figure.

It’s Budgetary Constraints’ Turn to Be Most Impactful to eDiscovery Business: Budgetary Constraints was the top impactful factor to the business of eDiscovery over the next six months at 22%, with Increasing Volumes of Data next up at 21%.  Data Security was close behind in third at 19% and Increasing Types of Data (16%) was fourth.  Inadequate Technology and Lack of Personnel brought up the rear at 11% each.  The graph below illustrates the distribution over the ten surveys to date:

Once again, Budgetary Constraints and Increasing Volumes of Data are the top two, but for the first time, all six factors were over 10%.  That’s a fairly even distribution.

Even Distribution Between Management and “Rank and File”: For the first time since Summer 2016, the Executive Leadership respondents (35%), Operational Management (34%) and Tactical Execution respondents (31%) were virtually even.  So, this survey reflects even input from execs, managers and “doers”.  Here’s the breakdown over the ten surveys to date:

Clearly, the variance in distribution shows that the respondents for this survey vary from quarter to quarter, so it’s not the same people giving the same answers each time.

Again, Rob has published the results on his site here, which shows responses to additional questions not referenced here.  Check them out.

So, what do you think?  What’s your state of confidence in the business of eDiscovery?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.