Shifting-Gears

Shifting Gears? eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results – Summer 2020

Editor’s Note: The results of this summer eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey present the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the business of eDiscovery. The results also portray the concern and considerations of the people and providers of the eDiscovery ecosystem as shared by 100 legal, business, and technology professionals.

The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey

The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a non-scientific quarterly survey designed to provide insight into the business confidence level of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem. The survey consists of nine core multiple-choice questions focused on factors related to the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services. Additionally, the survey contains three optional questions focused on the business operational metrics of days sales outstanding (DSO), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and revenue distribution across customer bases.

Initiated in early 2016, to date the survey has been administered nineteen times with 2,189 individual responses. The survey is open to legal, business, and information technology professionals operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem. Quarterly individuals are invited to participate primarily via direct email invitations.

Summer 2020 Survey Results

The summer 2020 survey response period was initiated on June 26, 2020, and continued until the registration of 100 responses (July 10, 2020). Thanks to the support of organizations such as the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), this quarter’s survey experienced solid response rates despite being adjusted to a maximum of 100 responders to balance against the recent proliferation of new industry surveys and communications initiated during the current pandemic. While individual answers to the survey are confidential, the aggregate and unfiltered results are published to highlight the business confidence of participants regarding economic factors impacting the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services during the summer of 2020.

Business Confidence Questions (Required)

n = 100 Respondents 1. Which of the following segments best describes your business in eDiscovery? Part of the eDiscovery ecosystem where your organization resides
  • Software or Services Provider – 31% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Law Firm – 28% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Consultancy – 22% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Corporation – 12% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Governmental Entity – 4% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Other – 2% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Media/Research Organization – 1% (Down from Spring 2020)
1-Survey-Respondents-by-Organizational-Segment-Summer-2020

2. How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment? Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations
  • Good – 40% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Normal – 36% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Bad – 24% (Down from Spring 2020)
2-Current-Business-Climate-Overview-Summer-2020

3. How do you think the business conditions will be in your segment six months from now? Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations
  • Better – 48% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Same – 48% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Worse – 4% (Down from Spring 2020)
3-Business-Climate-Overview+Six-Months-Summer-2020

4. How would you guess revenue in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now? Revenue is income generated from eDiscovery-related business activities
  • Higher – 41% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Same – 47% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Lower – 12% (Down from Spring 2020)
4-Revenue-Overview+Six-Months-Summer-2020

5. How would you guess profits in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now? Profit is the amount of income remaining after accounting for all expenses, debts, additional revenue streams, and operating costs
  • Higher – 35% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Same – 48% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Lower – 17% (Down from Spring 2020)
5-Profits-Overview+Six-Months-Summer-2020

6. Of the six items presented below, what is the issue that you feel will most impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months? Challenges that may directly impact the business performance of your organization
  • Budgetary Constraints – 56% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Increasing Types of Data – 14% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Increasing Volumes of Data – 14% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Data Security – 7% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Lack of Personnel – 6% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Inadequate Technology – 3% (Down from Spring 2020)
6-Issues-Impacting-eDiscovery-Business-Performance-Summer-2020

7. In which geographical region do you primarily conduct eDiscovery-related business? The location from which you are basing your business assessments
  • North America (United States) – 88% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • North America (Canada) – 6% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Europe (UK) – 4% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Asia/Asia Pacific – 1% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Central/South America – 1% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Europe (Non-UK) – 0% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Middle East/Africa – 0% (Down from Spring 2020)
7-Survey-Respondents-by-Geographic-Region-Summer-2020

8. What are best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
  • Legal/Litigation Support – 85% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions) – 12% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • IT/Product Development – 3% (Down from Spring 2020)
8-Survey-Respondents-by-Primary-Function-Summer-2020

9. What are best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
  • Operational Management – 30% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Tactical Execution – 40% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Executive Leadership – 30% (Up from Spring 2020)
9-Survey-Respondents-by-Level-of-Support-Summer-2020

Business Metric Trajectory Questions (Optional)

10. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) during the last quarter? n=91 Respondents
  • Increasing – 20.9% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Unfluctuating – 23.1% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Decreasing – 16.5% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Do Not Know – 39.6% (Down from Spring 2020)
10-eDiscovery-Business-Metric-Trajectory-Days-Sales-Outstanding-Summer-2020

11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter? n=90 Respondents
  • Increasing – 26.7% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Unfluctuating – 18.9% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Decreasing – 25.6% (Down From Spring 2020)
  • Do Not Know – 28.9% (Down from Spring 2020)
11-eDiscovery-Business Metric-Trajectory-Monthly-Recurring-Revenue-Summer-2020

12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter? n=89 Respondents
  • Increasing – 20.2% (Up from Spring 2020)
  • Unfluctuating – 27% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Decreasing – 18% (Down from Spring 2020)
  • Do Not Know – 34.8% (Down from Spring 2020)
12-eDiscovery-Business-Metric-Trajectory-Distribution-of-Revenue-Across-Customer-Base-Summer-2020

Past Survey Results

Source: ComplexDiscovery

About the Author

Rob Robinson
Based in Austin, Texas, Rob is a technology marketer who has held senior leadership positions with multiple top-tier data and legal technology providers and writes regularly on technology and marketing topics on the ComplexDiscovery(.com) blog.

Rob holds a Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS) designation from ACEDS, a Certificate of eDiscovery from the Electronic Discovery and Evidence Training Institute, and has held leadership roles (VP of Marketing, CMO, and COO) in legal technology organizations to include ONSITE3 (Acquired), Orange Legal Technologies (Acquired), CloudNine (Acquired LexisNexis eDiscovery Product Line), and currently with HaystackID (Acquired Envision Discovery, Inspired Review, and eTERA Consulting). Rob also has held leadership positions in technology-centric organizations to include Crossroads Systems (Director of Marketing – Storage Area Networking) and Compaq Computer Corporation (Product Marketing Manager – Deskpro and Prosignia Product Lines). A former US Army Captain and Helicopter Pilot (AH-1, OH-58, and UH-1), Rob is an alumnus and Distinguished Military Graduate of the University of Mississippi.