eDiscovery Daily Blog

Here’s Some Useful Criteria for Evaluating Information Governance Vendors: eDiscovery Best Practices

Rob Robinson’s excellent Complex Discovery blog has been a terrific resource for eDiscovery information for several years now, covering everything from a “mashup” of eDiscovery market estimates to mergers, acquisitions and investments in the eDiscovery industry. His article from last week provides some useful information to organizations looking to select the right information governance vendor for their needs.

Rob’s article, 9 Subjective Considerations for Assessing Information Governance Vendors, considers more than just the hardware and software “nuts and bolts” to select the right information governance vendor. Rob notes that “just as there is much more to the utility of a knife than its edge (especially if you want to use it more than once), there are additional areas worthy of consideration in vendor selection if one is considering the long term strategic utility and viability of a vendor.” Rob uses the Free Dictionary’s definition of “viable” as “capable of success or continuing effectiveness”.

While he acknowledges that these nine criteria are not “all-inclusive”, Rob observes that they “may have an impact on {your} organization for many years to come”. Here are the criteria, along with questions that Rob asks for each (in italics):

  1. Technology = Demonstrated ability of product/service offering’s technical contribution to solving specific information governance challenges. Does the vendor’s technology appear to do what you need it to do? Can the technology be validated by some entity other than the vendor?
  2. Domain Knowledge = Demonstrated ability of an organization to utilize technology to solve specific information governance challenges. Does the vendor understand the domain you are operating in or do they just understand their technology?
  3. Awareness = An organization’s mindshare in the eyes of the client in relation to other organizations seeking to solve similar information governance challenges. Is the vendor known by information governance analysts, thought leaders, influencers, and information governance experts?
  4. Reputation = The confidence level customers have in the actual or perceived ability of an organization to solve information governance challenges viewed in relation to other organizations. Does the vendor have a reputation for being able to deliver on the expectations they set in a timely and accurate manner?
  5. Free Cash Flow = Net Income + Depreciation/Amortization – Changes In Working Capital – Capital Expenditure. Is the vendor able to meet financial commitments to support client needs and internal/external commitments?
  6. Clients = The number of active entities that have paid for information governance products/services in the current calendar year. Does the vendor have clients who have moved beyond the partner, master services agreement, and/or pilot phase of an engagement and are actually using the product/service in a production environment on a regular basis?
  7. Motive = The stimulus causing an organization to determine product/service strategies and tactics. Are vendor decisions made for the greater good of clients and vendor support staff or are they personality driven completely based on the personal objectives of the vendor ownership?
  8. Sincerity = Congruence or lack thereof between an organization’s stated market desires and actual leadership actions. Does the vendor do what they say they are going to do for both clients (external sincerity) and internal support staff (internal sincerity)?
  9. Employee Turnover = The rate at which an organization gains or loses staff. Is the vendor committed to its employees/contractors? Are vendor employees/contractors committed to the vendor?

Regardless how good an information governance vendor’s technology may be, if the vendor can’t demonstrate a knowledge of the industry and doesn’t have a proven track record for meeting client deadlines, an established client base or financial or organizational stability, they may not be the right choice for your organization for the long term.

Rob’s article has other key points and additional useful information, you can check it out here.

So, what do you think? Does your organization use one or more information governance vendors? If so, what criteria did you use to select them? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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.