Pricing

Are Cloud Companies Moving Away from Pricing Transparency?: eDiscovery Trends

Last May, I wrote a post asking if pricing transparency is finally happening in eDiscovery.  Here’s an article where the trend seems to be reversing – at least for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS, aka cloud) companies in general.  And, what the heck is a SaaS “unicorn”?

In his article on OpenViewWhy SaaS Companies Are Moving Away From Pricing Transparency (And Why That’s a Bad Thing), by Kyle Poyar (hat tip to Rob Robinson’s Complex Discovery blog for initial coverage of the article), the author compared his findings from June 2016 to his findings from November 2017 for private SaaS “unicorns” regarding price transparency.

What Poyar found was that more than half of private SaaS unicorns (55%) were publishing their pricing online for the world to see in June 2016 (as opposed to only 28% of public SaaS companies).  However, in November 2017, he revisited the private SaaS unicorns that he had previously analyzed and found that only 47% publish their pricing, an 8% drop over a year and a half.  Poyar took a look at one of those sites at three different intervals – June 2014 (when their pricing was not published), May 2016 (when it was) and January 2018 (when it wasn’t again).  When looking at data for new SaaS unicorns, Poyar found that only “a measly” 21% of those publish pricing.  So, taken together, just 33% of SaaS unicorns of the 66 he studied currently publish their pricing.

Poyar discusses potential reasons for the shift away from pricing transparency (which Rob covers on his blog).  He also identifies three reasons why they should publish pricing, as follows:

  1. SaaS companies can’t hide anymore: Buyers are almost always going to search “insert category” and “cost” or “price.” If they can’t find that information on a company’s site, they will go elsewhere. The emergence of third party review sites like G2 Crowd, Capterra, Quora and Siftery increasingly put pricing information into the public domain. Wouldn’t you rather showcase that information on your own terms as opposed to being cut out of the buyer journey?
  2. SaaS companies need to reorient their brands around transparency: Buyers are doing more and more research about vendors before they get in touch with a sales rep. The role of the modern sales rep is going to be more similar to that of an expert or consultant, rather than someone “selling” their products at all costs. To win in this environment, SaaS companies need to establish brands that emphasize trust, helpfulness, and, you guessed it, transparency.
  3. SaaS companies need to accelerate their sales cycles: Most SaaS startups with an inside sales model can’t waste precious resources on less serious, unqualified prospects or those only looking to be educated on the market. Wasted sales and marketing resources leads to poor unit economics, making it hard for a company to attract future funding. Transparent pricing acts as an important qualification gate that allows sales reps to focus their time on serious buyers.

All excellent points.  From an eDiscovery perspective, I noted in last year’s post how Craig Ball’s EDna challenge from 2016 promoted an “apples to apples” comparison on pricing and that’s key.  But, do eDiscovery cloud solution providers as a general rule publish their pricing?  Feel free to check for yourself – I can only speak to how CloudNine (shameless plug warning!) does it.  We do publish our pricing and what our pricing covers and that info is available here.  Hopefully, we’ll see a trend toward more price transparency in our industry as I certainly think it’s what the clients would like to see.

BTW, a SaaS “unicorn” is a SaaS company with a billion dollar valuation.  Now you know!  CloudNine isn’t quite there – yet.  :o)

So, what do you think?  How important is pricing transparency to you when considering solution alternatives?  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.

In the Market for an eDiscovery Solution? Check Out this Buyers Guide: eDiscovery Trends

If you’re a small to medium sized law firm and you have yet to “dip your toe” into the water of selecting an eDiscovery solution (or are unhappy with the one you have selected), a couple of legal technologists have created a terrific new 2018 eDiscovery Buyers Guide to provide education about the alternatives to help you select a solution that’s right for you.

Brett Burney of Burney Consultants and Chelsey Lambert of Lex Tech Review have reviewed twenty different products in the guide, which is contained in a comprehensive (but easy to read) 89 page PDF document.  As noted in the Introduction, their eDiscovery Buyers Guide has two primary goals:

First, it is a literal “Buyers Guide” to “provide you with options available to you and your firm so you can avoid the manual, time-wasting, and ineffective processes you’re currently using”. Each review is written to explain exactly what features and capabilities each tool offers to facilitate an informed decision.

Second, the eDiscovery Buyers Guide “empowers you to be a more knowledgeable, competent, and trusted counselor. While you personally won’t use all of the products featured in this Guide, your clients might benefit from them in their own data collection efforts based on your recommendation. Plus having some knowledge about other products means you can talk intelligently with opposing counsel on the products they’re using so you don’t look ignorant or uninformed.”

Knowledge is power, right?

Anyway, the key differentiator between this guide and others that have been written over the years is that this one is tailored to the small to mid-size firm audience, so it’s written with the idea that you’re at a firm that doesn’t have a huge budget for eDiscovery.  Fortunately, there are still solutions for you.

The guide includes reviews for products in several categories, including Case Analysis & Chronologies, Social Media Collection & Web Capture, Data Identification & Collection and three categories of Processing & Review applications: Desktop Software, Hosted Solutions and Cloud-Based SaaS Platforms.  A.I. & Data Analysis in eDiscovery, eDiscovery Managed Services and Utilities for Litigators reviews are included as well.  Each review includes a “Why You Should Consider” the product section that sums up several key benefits of the offering and succinctly describes differentiation points.

CloudNine is included in the largest category – Cloud-Based SaaS Platforms for Processing & Review (seven total applications reviewed), which maybe means that this is a good area to be in, right?  :o)  Regardless, we appreciate the opportunity to be included and Brett’s review of our platform covers a number of key functional areas and their benefits to the user of the product, as well as addressing pricing info.

However, the Buyer’s Guide doesn’t just include reviews, it also includes articles from several key thought leaders in the industry, including Amy Bowser Rollins, Craig Ball, Tom O’Connor and Rob Robinson.  Chelsey also wrote a terrific article on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Innovation in eDiscovery.  And, they were also nice enough to include an article from me on cloud automation and how it has made eDiscovery more affordable than ever.

All of the reviews and articles can serve to educate you to make a more informed decision when you decide to consider selecting the eDiscovery solution for your firm.

You can download the guide – for free! – here.

So, what do you think?  Do you have an eDiscovery solution in house?  As always, 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.

Is the eDiscovery Market Growing or Shrinking? Or Maybe SHIFTING?: eDiscovery Trends

If you look at the number of eDiscovery companies that have been merged or acquired over the past couple of years, you might think that the market is shrinking.  On the other hand, if you look at the number of venture capital firms investing in the industry and the number of new startups, you might think that the market is growing.  So, which is it?

According to the ABA Journal (Market to manage electronic documents in a state of flux, written by Jason Krause), more than 30 major eDiscovery companies were acquired or merged, or they disappeared.  But at the same time, venture capital firms poured millions of dollars into startups and upstart companies offering technology to manage electronic documents in litigation.  So, with regard to whether the eDiscovery market is growing or shrinking, maybe it’s a bit of both.

Jason’s article observes that “Large corporate clients are resistant to paying millions for litigation support services when a lawsuit arises. Rather, large organizations are investing in tools to manage electronic records before litigation ever happens.” “E-discovery revenue streams and technology are opening up opportunities for companies with a focus on data from the point of creation, rather than just from the point of a legal trigger event,” says (my colleague) Rob Robinson, who (if you read our blog regularly, you already know this) tracks industry investment activity and conducts a quarterly eDiscovery business confidence survey on his excellent website Complex Discovery.

So, maybe it’s not so much that the market is shrinking or growing, as much as it’s shifting.  Hmmm…

Jason points to industry estimates as an example that the eDiscovery market isn’t as lucrative, noting that “analysts at IDC Research claimed the e-discovery industry earned $9.7 billion in revenues in 2006 and predicted they would explode and hit $21.8 billion by 2011. But last year, IDC published a new set of figures. It said the industry had only just surpassed $10 billion in revenues, making a much more modest prediction of $14.7 billion in revenue by 2019.”

Jason points to the revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as one potential cause for weakened demand from clients, particularly Rule 37(e) and the reduced likelihood for significant sanctions – due in large part to the new “intent to deprive” standard to be met for significant sanctions to be administered.  He notes that, because of the rule change, clients “are less terrified of sanctions and less willing to spend big bucks on a service provider who will collect and process massive data sets.”  That, in turn, is leading to consolidating of “old-line e-discovery vendors”, like the LDiscovery $410 million acquisition of Kroll Ontrack in October of last year and the $240 million merger of OpenText and Guidance Software in July of this year.

To me, the other factor of change in that equation is automation – we’re seeing automation technology increasingly being applied to both collection and processing, reducing the requirement for the professionals that used to perform those services.  At least to a degree, eDiscovery revenue is shifting from services to software (though there is still a need for certain services) and automation and cloud technologies are continuing to make those services more affordable.

However, given the fact that data within organizations is doubling every 1.2 years (but budgets aren’t) and also given how many sources of data there are to manage these days, organizations still have a challenge – how to manage the growing volume and variety of data within the organization to meet the information needs for that organization.  As a result, I think we’re seeing a shift (there’s that word again) in focus to the left side of the EDRM model and Information Governance.  The need to gain insight into an organization’s data will continue to be strong, regardless of current sanctions rules regarding data spoliation.  Maybe that’s one reason why all those venture capital firms are investing – not just for the growth in the eDiscovery market, but also the growth in the InfoGov market as well where many of the same software and services can be applied.  When you put both of them together, the future (in my opinion) is still bright.  I shift you not.  :o)

So, what do you think?  Is the eDiscovery market growing or shrinking?  As always, 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.

Avoiding Glittering Generalities in Selecting eDiscovery Software – Considering Cost: eDiscovery Best Practices

Editor’s Note: If you read our blog regularly, you know that we frequently reference my friend and CloudNine colleague Rob Robinson’s excellent blog, Complex Discovery for various industry information, including quarterly business confidence surveys, eDiscovery software and service market “mashups” and information about industry mergers and acquisitions (among other things).  We’ve been discussing aspects of on-premise and off-premise eDiscovery offerings quite a bit lately (including this recent webcast conducted by Tom O’Connor and me a few weeks ago) and Rob has written a terrific article on the subject which he has graciously allowed me to publish here.  This is the fifth part of his multi-part article (parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 here, here, here and here) – we have published it in a series over the past couple of weeks.  Enjoy! – Doug

Considering Cost

“In economics, one of the most important concepts is ‘opportunity cost’ – the idea that once you spend your money on something, you can’t spend it again on something else.” Malcom Turnbull

Budgetary constraints are a common hurdle for law firms and legal departments seeking to address the legal, technological, and business elements of eDiscovery. This economic constraint is compounded by the lack of consistency, predictability, and transparency in the pricing of many software offerings, regardless of whether they are on-premise or off-premise, or based on emerging or mature technologies.

As law firms and legal departments strive to select the best solutions for their particular eDiscovery challenges, it is important for them to be able to compare and contrast the pros and cons of different offerings. While many vendors publicly present detailed offering attributes regarding security, capability, and complexity, many do not share public information on pricing and pricing models. Given the fact that budgetary constraints continue to be one of the leading elements impacting the conduct of discovery, by publicly publishing pricing, vendors can help simplify the eDiscovery decision-making process by removing one of the most common concerns early in the evaluation process. That concern being “how much is this going to cost.”

Additionally, just as many software providers seek to integrate the technology in their offerings to simplify discovery, prudent providers are now combining on-premise and off-premise pricing elements within their overall offering to simplify the software procurement process. An example of this pricing integration is the packaging of an overall solution that contains elements of both on-premise and off-premise offerings available for a prescribed timeframe at a single, understandable, and predictable cost.

Quick Takeaway: Given the fact that most eDiscovery software providers understand the cost of delivering their solutions to the market, it seems reasonable for those in the eDiscovery ecosystem to be able to request and expect to receive simplified pricing from providers. This simplified pricing should account for all elements of a software offering, regardless of whether it is on-premise, off-premise, or a combination of the two. Pricing should also be able to be provided for individual projects or time and volume defined subscriptions, trading length of user commitment for user cost benefits.

So, what do you think?  What factors do you consider when evaluating and selecting eDiscovery software?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Also, I’m excited to report that eDiscovery Daily has been nominated to participate in The Expert Institute’s Best Legal Blog Contest in the Legal Tech category!  Thanks to whoever nominated us!  If you enjoy our blog, you can vote for it and help it win a spot in their Best Legal Blogs Hall of Fame.  You can cast a vote for the blog here.  Thanks!

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.

CloudNine Highlights eDiscovery Ecosystem Expertise and Offerings

Discovery Automation Software and Services Provider Details Product, Partner, and Pricing Benefits for Data and Legal Discovery

CloudNine, the eDiscovery Company (cloudnine.com) which provides data and legal discovery automation technology and services that bring insight and intelligence to business and legal decisions, today highlighted its software and service offerings and benefits for the information and legal technology communities. This highlighting provides potential solutions to many of the challenges information and legal professionals seek to solve as they engage in litigation, investigations, and audits.

About the CloudNine Discovery Ecosystem

Founded in 2002 and based in Houston, Texas, CloudNine is a technology company with deep expertise in the analysis, processing, and review of electronically stored information (ESI). This expertise has enabled CloudNine to develop technology and processes to address the discovery of data from the point of data creation to the execution of data destruction. This Simplified Discovery Automation process provides information, business, and legal professionals with an integrated solution that automates eight core tasks that help organizations translate data discovery into insight and insight into legal intelligence.

The company’s flagship offering is its cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivered, simplified eDiscovery automation software, also known as CloudNine. This eDiscovery automation software streamlines the discovery, investigation, and audit process for attorneys and compliance managers and is currently used by more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms as well as extensively used in many of the world’s leading corporations.

The company also offers a complete portfolio of eDiscovery professional services including computer forensics, managed services, managed review, and eDiscovery consulting. These software and professional services enable CloudNine clients to experience the simplicity of self-service supported by the power of a full-service eDiscovery provider.

Additionally, CloudNine has been recognized by analysts and end users in reports and surveys by Gartner, 451 Research, Blue Hill Research, Corporate Counsel Magazine, the New York Law Journal, and Texas Lawyer.

“Many of our clients, partners, and industry advocates have actively shared that when they initially engaged with CloudNine, they were unaware of the breadth and depth of our offerings, programs, and industry recognition,” noted Brad Jenkins, CEO of CloudNine. “From software to services and from pricing to industry affirmation, CloudNine continues to grow in acceptance as a leading discovery provider with innovative technology.  As we continue our accelerated growth, we look forward to the challenge of ensuring law firms, corporations, and service providers are increasingly aware of how our approach to software, pricing, and partnerships can simplify their discovery efforts and help them with both the technological and business challenges of eDiscovery.”

Top Challenges for Legal and Business Professionals

The top concerns for managing discovery requests as highlighted by legal and information technologists who conduct support, investigations, and audits for corporations and law firms, include:

+ The volume of data is continuing to increase. (Data Constraints)
+ Earlier generations of software have reached their limits. (Software Constraints)
+ Departments are charged with doing more with less. (Personnel Constraints)
+ Organizations need to be able to better predict spend. (Budgetary Constraints)
+ Concern for security in eDiscovery remains high. (Security Concerns)

Top Challenges for eDiscovery Providers

The top concerns for eDiscovery providers seeking to accelerate and expand business and support efforts in a constantly changing legal discovery ecosystem include:

+ Shifting business models for leading providers. (New Competitors)
+ Consolidation of companies and technologies. (Contraction of Available Offerings)
+ Changing landscape of offerings and providers. (Diversification of Revenue Streams)
+ Need for expanding revenue opportunities and new markets. (Revenue Growth Requirements)

How CloudNine Helps Address These Challenges

Spearheaded by the company’s proprietary eDiscovery platform and experienced information and legal technology professionals, CloudNine’s combination of technology and talent is differentiated from other discovery providers in five key areas:

+ Speed: Fastest eDiscovery automation initiation and access available.
+ Simplicity: Fewest management and technology integration points.
+ Security: Most secure SaaS implementation with a private and protected cloud environment.
+ Services: Automation provider with a full professional services portfolio.
+ Savings: Saves you time and money in deploying, supporting, and servicing users.

CloudNine Software That Addresses These Challenges

CloudNine eDiscovery Automation (Legal Discovery)
Legal Hold Notifications from CloudNine
Outpost for Relativity from CloudNine
CloudNine Data Discovery Automation (Data Discovery)

CloudNine Professional Services That Address These Challenges

+ Computer Forensics
+ Data Collections
+ Discovery Consulting
+ Managed Discovery
+ Project Management
+ Technology-Assisted Review
+ Managed Review
+ Online Hosting
+ Information Governance
+ Litigation Support

Example CloudNine Use Cases

+ Electronic Discovery and Review (Legal Discovery)
+ ESI Ingestion and Processing for Relativity (Legal Discovery)
+ Legal Hold Notifications and Tracking (Legal Discovery)
+ Corporate Compliance Audits and Investigations (Legal Discovery)
+ FOIA Investigations (Legal Discovery)
+ FCPA and AML Investigations (Data Discovery and Legal Discovery)
+ Exploratory Data Analysis (Data Discovery)

Benefits of Being Supported by CloudNine

+ Do more with less by automating key data and legal discovery tasks with advanced technology.
+ Streamline technology stack by using CloudNine for audits, investigations, and litigation.
+ Augment or complement current discovery tools to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
+ Decrease risk through the use of a fully automated and integrated discovery platform.
+ Achieve the technology and economic benefits of the cloud with a security of a protected environment.
+ Streamline cost structure with a simplified pricing model.

Simplified Pricing for Simplified eDiscovery

With its simplified pricing, CloudNine offers two models to support customer and partner legal discovery efforts. These models are Pay-Per-Use and Volume-Based Subscriptions. From these two models, CloudNine offers four pricing plans ranging from $35/GB/Month under the Pay-Per-Use model to as little as $12/GB/Month under the Volume-Based Subscription model.

Core Services are available for $35/GB/Month with no minimum commitment under the Pay-Per-Use pricing model. CloudNine also offers Core Service subscription-based pricing beginning at the equivalent of $17.50/GB/Month at the minimum commitment level of six months and decreasing to $12/GB/Month at higher volumes. Additional discounts may be available for multi-year commitments.

Advanced Services are available for $40/GB/Month with no minimum commitment under the Pay-Per-Use pricing model. The $40/GB/Month fee includes ALL Core Services as well as CloudNine Managed Productions and access to Relativity Hosting through CloudNine. Additional per seat user fees may apply for individual users of Relativity. CloudNine also offers Advanced Service subscription-based pricing beginning at the equivalent of $22.50/GB/Month at the minimum commitment level of six months decreasing to $16/GB/Month at higher volumes.

In addition to its Core Services and Advanced Services, CloudNine recently introduced a Legal Hold Notification Service that is included in all subscription agreements and available on the Pay-Per-Use plan starting at $500 per hold for up to 10 custodians. CloudNine also offers a complete portfolio of professional services, making it one of the only advanced generation technology providers with a full professional services team available to help customers simplify their discovery efforts.

Additional Resources

In addition to delivering a complete portfolio of advanced discovery technology and professional services, CloudNine provides customers with one of the strongest packages of educational resources available. Key resources available at no additional charge to customers include but are not limited to:

+ Live and On-Demand Professional Education and Information Webcasts
+ On-Demand Instructional Presentations on CloudNine + Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Approved Presentations and Webcasts
The eDiscovery Daily Blog: The industry’s leading daily blog with latest case law, and trend updates.
+ CloudNine Website: cloudnine.com provides information on CloudNine offerings, news, and resources.

Learn More 

To schedule a discussion or request a demonstration to learn more about how CloudNine may be able to help increase organizational effectiveness, decrease discovery costs, and decrease data discovery and transfer risks in the conduct or audits, investigations, and litigation, contact us at 713-462-3885, info[at]cloudnine.com, or at cloudnine.com.

For More Information

Rob Robinson, CMO, CloudNine
PR[at]cloudnine.com
512.934.7531

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New Partner Program Offers eDiscovery Service Providers Growth and Differentiation Opportunities

CloudNine Alliance Partner Program expanded to meet the changing business dynamics and technology requirements of the data and legal discovery ecosystem.

CloudNine, the eDiscovery Company (cloudnine.com) providing eDiscovery automation software and services for litigation, investigations, and audits, today announced its newly expanded CloudNine Alliance Partner Program.

Designed to help partners who are looking to augment and complement their offering portfolio to meet the rapidly changing business dynamics and customer requirements of the eDiscovery ecosystem, the program is available immediately to qualified organizations.

The CloudNine Alliance Partner Program allows qualified and approved organizations to enrich the business value and technology competitiveness of their eDiscovery solutions through the integration, referral, and resell of CloudNine software and services.

“As a leader in the development and delivery of data and legal discovery software and services, CloudNine understands the importance of being able to provide customers with offerings that help them solve the most difficult of discovery challenges in a secure and affordable manner,” shared Clint Lehew, Vice President of Channel Sales at CloudNine. “CloudNine also understands that developers, consultants, and service providers play a crucial role in the trusted recommendation, delivery, and support of discovery-centric solutions to law firms and corporations. With that problem-solving and trusted support in mind, our CloudNine Alliance Partner Program empowers partners by allowing them to integrate, refer, and resell our software and services and gain the business, competitive, and security benefits that come from working with CloudNine.”

The CloudNine Alliance Partner Program consists of three categories of partners, each with a unique business relationship with CloudNine. The categories include:

  1. Technology Partners: Data and legal discovery developers who work with CloudNine to develop, integrate, and deploy solutions leveraging CloudNine technology. The business benefit for technology partners is the extension of their capability to access new customers and new markets.
  2. Referral Partners: Data and legal discovery consultants and providers who recommend CloudNine software and services to their customers. The business benefit for referral partners is direct compensation for the introduction and acceptance of CloudNine by end users.
  3. Channel Partners: Data and legal discovery service providers who sell CloudNine software and services to their customers as part of their portfolio of offerings. The business benefit for channel partners is the ability to resell CloudNine software and services as part of their solutions.

Key benefits, offerings, and attributes of the CloudNine Alliance Partner Program include:

Benefits

  • Platform: Access to an automated self-service eDiscovery platform provides a capability that can immediately augment and complement current workflows and offerings. This offering provides partners increased competitiveness from increased capability and flexibility.
  • Pricing: Economical and transparent pricing model provides the best balance of affordability and predictability for partners and customers. This model allows partners to increase their opportunity for profitability.
  • Professional Services: CloudNine provides a full portfolio of professional services that can be leveraged to augment and complement partner service offerings. This capability allows partners to increase their value to customers by delivering an increased depth and breadth of data and legal discovery services.
  • Protection: CloudNine’s private and protected cloud environment provides a secure infrastructure to partners without requiring an upfront investment in software, hardware, and support. This security allows partners to differentiate their security capability from those of pure public cloud approaches.

Offerings

Attributes

  • Executive Sponsorship From CloudNine
  • Dedicated Account Manager
  • Marketing Support (Awareness and Lead Generation)
  • Platform Developer Access
  • Pre-Sales and Post-Sales Support
  • Software and Services Training
  • Technology and Competitive Updates

“Our unyielding commitment to helping clients solve eDiscovery challenges with the best combination of software, services, and support, drives us to seek technology partnerships that help us deliver quality service with superior results,” shared Jeff Dreiling, co-founder of Complete Legal Services, a CloudNine Channel Partner. “Through our long-term collaboration with CloudNine, we have been the beneficiaries of the evolution of their nationally recognized, fully integrated eDiscovery platform. Their technology has allowed us to increase revenues 50% year-over-year for the last two years and to compete with well-known national providers by combining their technology and our services to deliver exceptional service with excellent results. The consistency of the partnership, based on a mutual loyalty to each other and our customers, has also allowed us to expand our portfolio of professional services with full confidence in the underlying technology and supporting business relationship.”

“Founded as a litigation support service provider, we uniquely understand how important trusted partnerships are to the success of providers in the field of eDiscovery,” shared Brad Jenkins, CEO of CloudNine. “With the expansion of our CloudNine Alliance Partner Program, we are excited to be able to deliver to our partners the benefits we have realized with our ongoing software development, pricing actions, and security initiatives. We also look forward to helping our partner community accelerate their revenue growth and capability to solve customer problems and are grateful to those organizations that chose to partner with us.”

Learn More About CloudNine and the CloudNine Alliance Partner Program

To schedule a discussion about the CloudNine Alliance Partner Program or to sign up for a free trial of CloudNine’s eDiscovery Platform, contact us at 713.462.3885, info@cloudnine.com, or at cloudnine.com.

About CloudNine

Founded in 2002 and based in Houston, Texas, CloudNine is a legal intelligence technology company with deep expertise in the analysis, processing, and review of electronically stored information (ESI). Currently used by more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms as well as in many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine has been recognized in reports and surveys by Gartner, 451 Research, Blue Hill Research, Corporate Counsel Magazine, the New York Journal, and Texas Lawyer. CloudNine also publishes the eDiscovery Daily Blog, a trusted source of information for the legal industry. A leader in eDiscovery automation, you can learn more about CloudNine at 713.462.3885, info@cloudnine.com, or at cloudnine.com.

For More Information

Rob Robinson, CMO, CloudNine
PR@cloudnine.com
512.934.7531

 

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Is Pricing Transparency Finally Happening in eDiscovery?: eDiscovery Trends

An age old issue in eDiscovery has been understanding and comparing pricing between various vendors and service providers.  It’s the old “apples vs. oranges” comparison when considering pricing.  A new article, which references a terrific benchmark test, may show that pricing transparency by at least two eDiscovery providers may be finally helping put eDiscovery pricing on common ground.

Rob Robinson’s article on his Complex Discovery blog (An eDiscovery Challenge: Pricing Consistency and Transparency) discusses how eDiscovery continues to challenge law firms and legal departments with a lack of consistency and transparency in pricing. Rob notes that this “lack of consistency and transparency appears to have many reasons with most originating from that fact that eDiscovery solutions (software and/or services) tend to be complex and require and understanding of need, volume, and duration before the configuration of a specific quote to assign a price to the value to be provided. However, with the advent of fourth generation eDiscovery solutions, it appears that some vendors are now comfortable enough with their understanding of the economics and capabilities of their solutions to publicly present pricing to current and potential customers.”

Rob shows how two eDiscovery providers (one of them happens to be CloudNine) have begun “publicly sharing the pricing of their technology solutions, providing an example of how consistent and transparent pricing can be highlighted leading eDiscovery vendors.”  He also references Craig Ball’s updated EDna Challenge from last year (which we covered here) that provides a hypothetical scenario where an eDiscovery solution needs to be provided for less than $5,000 under the following parameters:

  • Three Person Legal Team
  • Process, Search, Review, and Produce
  • 10 Custodians
  • 10-12 GB Total of Data
  • Up to 90 Day Review
  • Up to 21 Months Archiving

Under that framework, both solutions provide a cost estimate to address the hypothetical scenario.  Rob notes that “both offerings meet the technology and business challenges posed by the EDna Challenge”, but “the real value of this comparison is to present how the consistency and transparency of publicly published pricing allows for these types of comparisons without the need for specific challenges and with legal professionals being able to make initial comparisons without special or one-off quotes.”

Last year, for a presentation that I did for the State Bar of Texas, I wrote a white paper titled How SaaS Automation Has Revolutionized eDiscovery for Solo and Small Firms and the comparison of Craig’s 2009 EDna challenge (and the lack of full-featured solutions that could meet that challenge within the ascribed budget) to his 2016 EDna challenge (where several SaaS automation solutions could do so, albeit on a larger budget) was discussed in that white paper.  If anyone would like a copy, feel free to email me at daustin@cloudnine.com.  Hopefully, the trend toward pricing transparency continues and, thanks to Craig, we have a framework for truly comparing apples to apples.

So, what do you think?  Is comparing pricing from multiple eDiscovery vendors a challenge in your organization? 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.

Is a Blended Document Review Rate of $466 Per Hour Excessive?: Best of eDiscovery Daily

Even those of us at eDiscovery Daily have to take an occasional vacation (which, as you can see by the picture above, means taking the kids to their favorite water park); however, instead of “going dark” for a few days, we thought we would take a look back at some topics that we’ve covered in the past.  Today’s post is our all-time most viewed post ever.  I guess it struck a nerve with our readers!  Enjoy!

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Remember when we raised the question as to whether it is time to ditch the per hour model for document review?  One of the cases we highlighted for perceived overbilling was ruled upon here.

In the case In re Citigroup Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 09 MD 2070 (SHS), 07 Civ. 9901 (SHS) (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 1, 2013), New York District Judge Sidney H. Stein rejected as unreasonable the plaintiffs’ lead counsel’s proffered blended rate of more than $400 for contract attorneys—more than the blended rate charged for associate attorneys—most of whom were tasked with routine document review work.

In this securities fraud matter, a class of plaintiffs claimed Citigroup understated the risks of assets backed by subprime mortgages. After the parties settled the matter for $590 million, Judge Stein had to evaluate whether the settlement was “fair, reasonable, and adequate and what a reasonable fee for plaintiffs’ attorneys should be.” The court issued a preliminary approval of the settlement and certified the class. In his opinion, Judge Stein considered the plaintiffs’ motion for final approval of the settlement and allocation and the plaintiffs’ lead counsel’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs of $97.5 million. After approving the settlement and allocation, Judge Stein decided that the plaintiffs’ counsel was entitled to a fee award and reimbursement of expenses but in an amount less than the lead counsel proposed.

One shareholder objected to the lead counsel’s billing practices, claiming the contract attorneys’ rates were exorbitant.

Judge Stein carefully scrutinized the contract attorneys’ proposed hourly rates “not only because those rates are overstated, but also because the total proposed lodestar for contract attorneys dwarfs that of the firm associates, counsel, and partners: $28.6 million for contract attorneys compared to a combined $17 million for all other attorneys.” The proposed blended hourly rate was $402 for firm associates and $632 for firm partners. However, the firm asked for contract attorney hourly rates as high as $550 with a blended rate of $466. The plaintiff explained that these “contract attorneys performed the work of, and have the qualifications of, law firm associates and so should be billed at rates commensurate with the rates of associates of similar experience levels.” In response, the complaining shareholder suggested that a more appropriate rate for contract attorneys would be significantly lower: “no reasonable paying client would accept a rate above $100 per hour.” (emphasis added)

Judge Stein rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the contract attorneys should be billed at rates comparable to firm attorneys, citing authority that “clients generally pay less for the work of contract attorneys than for that of firm associates”:

“There is little excuse in this day and age for delegating document review (particularly primary review or first pass review) to anyone other than extremely low-cost, low-overhead temporary employees (read, contract attorneys)—and there is absolutely no excuse for paying those temporary, low-overhead employees $40 or $50 an hour and then marking up their pay ten times for billing purposes.”

Furthermore, “[o]nly a very few of the scores of contract attorneys here participated in depositions or supervised others’ work, while the vast majority spent their time reviewing documents.” Accordingly, the court decided the appropriate rate would be $200, taking into account the attorneys’ qualifications, work performed, and market rates.

For this and other reasons, the court found the lead counsel’s proposed lodestar “significantly overstated” and made a number of reductions. The reductions included the following amounts:

  • $7.5 million for document review by contract attorneys that happened after the parties agreed to settle; 20 of the contract attorneys were hired on or about the day of the settlement.
  • $12 million for reducing the blended hourly rate of contract attorneys from $466 to $200 for 45,300 hours, particularly where the bills reflected that these attorneys performed document review—not higher-level work—all day.
  • 10% off the “remaining balance to account for waste and inefficiency which, the Court concludes, a reasonable hypothetical client would not accept.”

As a result, the court awarded a reduced amount of $70.8 million in attorneys’ fees, or 12% of the $590 million common fund.

So, what do you think?  Was the requested amount excessive?   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.

George Socha of Socha Consulting LLC: eDiscovery Trends

This is the second of the 2016 LegalTech New York (LTNY) Thought Leader Interview series.  eDiscovery Daily interviewed several thought leaders at LTNY this year to get their observations regarding trends at the show and generally within the eDiscovery industry.  Unlike previous years, some of the questions posed to each thought leader were tailored to their position in the industry, so we have dispensed with the standard questions we normally ask all thought leaders.

Today’s thought leader is George Socha.  A litigator for 16 years, George is President of Socha Consulting LLC, offering services as an electronic discovery expert witness, special master and advisor to corporations, law firms and their clients, and legal vertical market software and service providers in the areas of electronic discovery and automated litigation support. George has also been co-author of the leading survey on the electronic discovery market, The Socha-Gelbmann Electronic Discovery Survey; in 2011, he and Tom Gelbmann converted the Survey into Apersee, an online system for selecting eDiscovery providers and their offerings.  In 2005, he and Tom Gelbmann launched the Electronic Discovery Reference Model project to establish standards within the eDiscovery industry – today, the EDRM model has become a standard in the industry for the eDiscovery life cycle and there are nine active projects with over 300 members from 81 participating organizations.  George has a J.D. for Cornell Law School and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

What are your general observations about LTNY this year and about emerging eDiscovery trends overall?

{Interviewed the first morning of LTNY, so the focus of the question to George was more about his expectations for the show and also about general industry trends}.

This is the largest legal technology trade show of the year so it’s going to be a “who’s who” of people in the hallways.  It will be an opportunity for service and software providers to roll out their new “fill in the blank”.  It will be great to catch up with folks that I only get to see once a year as well as folks that I get to see a lot more than that.  And, yet again, I don’t expect any dramatic revelations on the exhibit floor or in any of the sessions.

We continue to hear two recurring themes:  the market is consolidating and eDiscovery has become a commodity. I still don’t see either of these actually happening.  Consolidation would be if some providers were acquiring others and no new providers were coming along to fill in the gaps, or if a small number of providers was taking over a huge share of the market.  Instead, as quickly as one provider acquires another, two, three or more new providers pop up and often with new ideas they hope will gain traction.  In terms of dominating the market, there has been some consolidation on the software side but as to services provider the market continues to look more like law firms than like accounting firms.

In terms of commoditization, I think we still have a market where people want to pay “K-mart, off the rack” prices for “Bespoke” suits.  That reflects continued intense downward pressure on prices.  It does not suggest, however, that the e-discovery market has begun to approximate, for example, the markets for corn, oil or generic goods.  E-discovery services and software are not yet fungible – with little meaningful difference between them other than price.  I have heard no discussion of “e-discovery futures.”  And providers and consumers alike still seem to think that brand, levels of project management, and variations in depth and breadth of offerings matter considerably.

Given that analytics happens at various places throughout the eDiscovery life cycle, is it time to consider tweaking the EDRM model to reflect a broader scope of analysis?

The question always is, “what should the tweak look like?”  The questions I ask in return are “What’s there that should not be there?”, “What should be there that is not?” and “What should be re-arranged?”  One common category of suggested tweaks are the ones meant to change the EDRM model to look more like one particular person’s or organization’s workflow.  This keeps coming up even though the model was never meant to be a workflow – it is a conceptual framework to help break one unitary item into a set of more discrete components that you can examine in comparison to each other and also in isolation.

A second set of tweaks focuses on adding more boxes to the diagram.  Why, we get asked, don’t we have a box called Early Case Assessment, and another called Legal Hold, and another called Predictive Coding, and so on. With activities like analytics, you can take the entire EDRM diagram and drop it inside any one of those boxes or in that circle.  Those concepts already are present in the current diagram.  If, for example, you took the entire EDRM diagram and dropped it inside the Identification box, you could call that Early Case Assessment or Early Data Assessment.  There was discussion early on about whether there should be a box for “Search”, but Search is really an Analysis function – there’s a home for it there.

A third set of suggested tweaks centers on eliminating elements from the diagram.  Some have proposed that we combine the processing and review boxes into a single box – but the rationale they offer is that because they offer both those capabilities there no longer is a need to show separate boxes for the separate functions.

What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

First, we would like to invite current and prospective members to join us on April 18 for our Spring meeting which will be at the ACEDS conference this year.  The conference is from April 18 through April 20, with the educational portion of the conference slated for the 19th and 20th.

For several years at the conference, ACEDS has given out awards honoring eDiscovery professionals.  To congratulate this year’s winners we will be giving them one-year individual EDRM memberships.

On the project side, one of the undertakings we are working on is “SEAT-1,” a follow up to our eMSAT-1 (eDiscovery Maturity Self-Assessment Test).  SEAT-1 will be a self-assessment test specifically for litigation groups and law firms.  The test is intended to enable them to better assess where they are at, how they are doing and where they want to be.  We are also working on different ways to deliver our budget calculators.  It’s too early to provide details on that, but we’re hoping to be able to provide more information soon.

Finally, in the past year we have begun to develop and deliver member-only resources. We published a data set for members only and we put a new section of EDRM site with information about the changes to the Federal rules, including a comprehensive collection of information about the changes to the rules.  This year, we will be working on additional resources to be available to just our members.

Thanks, George, for participating in the interview!

And to the readers, as always, 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. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

If You Ever Have to Compare RFP Vendors, EDRM Has a New Calculator for You: eDiscovery Best Practices

Let’s face it, comparing bids from different eDiscovery vendors on an “apples to apples” basis can be difficult as each vendor seems to have its own unique pricing structure.  However, a new calculator from EDRM can help simplify the comparison process to identify the low cost provider.

The designer of the latest calculator is Casey Flaherty, former in-house counsel for Kia Motors America and founder of Procertas, a company offering training to corporate legal teams on improving efficiency and reducing costs.  This is the sixth budget calculator available from EDRM (we covered the previous five here, here, here, here and here).

Flaherty’s budget calculator is three sets of calculators in one. The Baseline Calculator sheet contains the client’s current pricing model. The Standard Calculator sheets compare vendors against each other and a baseline. The Proposed Calculator sheets – identified by a “(P)” in the sheet name – enable you to track additional savings vendors present that they believe they will be able to achieve. Each spreadsheet provides sample numbers to better understand how the workbook performs calculations, but Flaherty recommends that each user replace those with their own figures.

The current workbook provides several sample sheets, with the Standard Calculator and Proposed Calculator sheets named from #1 to #5 (add a “(P)” in the sheet name of the Proposed Calculator sheets and you get the idea.  Obviously, those sheets could be easily renamed to identify the vendors being considered in the RFP process and sheets can be easily added (and copied) or deleted as needed to reflect the total comparison.

Each sheet contains sections for Collection, Processing, Review and Production, with Assumptions, Pricing and Alternative Pricing sub-sections for each:

  • Collection: includes assumption options for tracking collection at the custodian, share drive, event, days, travel hours and/or GB basis;
  • Processing: includes assumption parameters for tracking initial ingested volume, filter rates for pre-process and ECA, tech/PM hours and tracking hosting for near-line data;
  • Review: is the most comprehensive section and tracks metrics for everything from reviewer and user licenses (not all providers charge those, so shop around) to consultation hours to support for tracking Technology Assisted Review (TAR) and even machine translation and bilingual review(!);
  • Production: includes tracking docs and GBs produced and provides options for tracking both native and TIFF productions.

The workbook is completely customizable, so if you’re good with Excel, you can add or remove categories as needed.  The workbook is not locked, so calculation cells are editable (either by design or accidentally) – again, if you’re good with Excel, you can lock down individual sheets or the entire workbook to lock down editing of calculation cells.  A terrific resource if you need to compare quotes from eDiscovery vendors for your project!

To download this calculator (or any or all of the previous five EDRM calculators), click here.

So, what do you think?  How do you handle evaluating bids from multiple eDiscovery vendors?   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.