There are a number of ways to understand the “cost” of something, and most definitions of the term begin with money as the chief factor. For example: Cost is “the amount is money needed to buy, do, or make something.” But business leaders know that money is only one factor in calculating the total cost of something needed for the business to run as planned. Time, energy, and labor – in other words, “efficiency” – are just as important in understanding cost.
All that may seem obvious to you. But when it comes to eDiscovery solutions, the overall efficiency of the solutions and services is too often overlooked. Vendors may offer attractive sounding discounts for hourly review rates or data hosting fees , but when eDiscovery review and service teams are not aligned with client efficiency goals (e.g., they are incented to process, host, and review more documents than are necessary, or they do not know how to leverage advanced technology-assisted review (TAR) to achieve maximum defensibility and efficiency) those inefficiencies obliterate the discount, and can dramatically add to the total cost of review.
For legal teams to increase their effectiveness and overall value as strategic players in partnership with the C-suite, they need to understand and avoid the traps as they evaluate eDiscovery technology and services to ensure they are getting maximum value for their eDiscovery dollar.
Here are a few tips and best practices for choosing an eDiscovery vendor.
The many forms of time inefficiency
It can be tricky to uncover inefficiencies within service providers’ approaches to eDiscovery document review. To avoid inefficiencies leading to higher cost (and risk) consider the following forms of time inefficiencies.
Does your service provider offer transparent pricing on how services time will be spent? Do they perform simple tasks that could be self-served or are they using inefficient methods or technology?
Efficient service providers typically charge one dollar in services for every three dollars in access to technology. Many service providers do not use optimal methods or technology; using large review teams to conduct linear review rather than leveraging advanced conceptual and textual analytics and TAR, and charge five to ten times as much in services time and risk parameters of your project to maximize efficiency without compromising review quality or defensibility. (See how to maximize document review efficiency with rapid analytics.)
Time to assess vendors
If you regularly conduct vendor assessments from scratch for each project, it may be time to consider a strategic partnership with a single vendor who has deep expertise in maximizing the value of their own proprietary technology. Costs associated with vetting multiple vendors to each new project can add up, which negates the efficiencies associated with using a single vendor already familiar with your organization’s data and its business.
There are many more questions related to time-cost-risk evaluation, which you can explore in the eBook “Time is Money.”
Other factors to consider in choosing an eDiscovery provider
Many vendors rely on third-party software that they try adapting to their clients’ needs. Your results will improve if you choose a vendor who has developed their own technology and demonstrate a track record of success in using it. Capable vendors have methods for tailoring their processes to your specific needs and can help you find facts faster through skilled use of TAR techniques.
Choose a vendor that offers defensible workflows that will hold up in court, and who set metrical goals at the beginning of a project and provide progress reports along the way.
If you would like to learn more about document review best practices and eDiscovery capabilities for your corporate legal department, see the resources available from OpenText here.