Daegis.pngIt’s that time of year when we start looking back to identify the trends of the future. e-Discovery is no stranger to predictions, but it’s still been an interesting year for the search and discovery market. Daegis, a leading provider of eDiscovery solutions, is fortunately here to help us make sense of it all.

Kurt Jensen, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Daegis, offered five predictions for e-Discovery in 2012 based on insights gathered from legal industry thought leaders, ongoing cases and emerging trends among enterprise and law firm customers. To help catch you up on what you may have missed, here’s a brief summary of what we covered in the past year about e-Discovery:

January 2011

February 2011

May 2011

June 2011

September 2011

With that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that much of what has challenged the industry since January is what will continue in 2012 -- only with more progress. 

Daegis Top Five Electronic Discovery Predictions for 2012 include:

1. Leveraging Knowledge Gained In Prior Reviews Saves Time, Brings Consistency

Jensen says that 2012 will bring changes for how law firms utilize knowledge gained during reviews. Such changes include bringing more consistency across platforms (what is redacted in one document, should be redacted in another, etc), as well as new ways to “repurpose and leverage attorney intellectual capital across multiple matters” which will help cut costs and save time. To make these changes possible, companies will need to use purpose-built repositories and master databases so that review decisions made in one matter can be leveraged in subsequent matters any number of ways.

2. Bigger Data Give Way to Flexible Pricing Models

eDiscovery has evolved over the years to ensure more functionality and flexibility is built into the process. The amount of electronically stored information has continued to increase exponentially, and with it, the cost of eDiscovery under the industry-standard per-gigabyte pricing model. In order to accommodate large amounts of data, eDiscovery vendors will have to offer more flexible and attractive pricing options. Jensen says that while some vendors are already experimenting by offering 12, 24 or 36-month contracts or alternative fee arrangements, more will follow suit in 2012 with flexible pricing structures.

3. Cloud and Social Media Continue to Challenge Privacy, Security Issues

The cloud and social media are not strangers to the predictions list. And in 2012 they will continue to blur the lines, as more social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and offshore cloud servers are called into litigation. Unlike previous years, however, 2012 could be a landmark year for these two challenging mediums. As a result, companies are behooved to set up protocols for allowing or prohibiting access to social networks and understanding where data will physically reside before choosing a cloud vendor.

4. People, Process and Technology

It’s no secret that even the best technology can’t make your business processes better. Yet before many companies had to tighten their purse strings, they were more willing to ignore the necessary manual processes needed to make information better organized. Now that staffs have dwindled, Jensen says that companies have a renewed focus on the role that people play in the eDiscovery process. Thanks to hybrid solutions that take into consideration both the intelligent application of technology to automate and create consistency and transparency of process, and combine seamlessly with human expertise and judgment to ensure defensibility –- all within a single solution –- will make it easier for enterprises to strike a balance between predicting, controlling and decreasing costs and reducing risks associated with eDiscovery.

5. An Increased Focus on eDiscovery Rules Saves Time, Money and Reputations

When was the last time regulators and legislative authorities were included during Meet & Confer? It seems that the times are a-changing. So much so that Jensen says we can expect to see more courts take an aggressive stance on managing electronic discovery. The increased focus will hopefully help eDiscovery efficiency, as it will be about getting the best data, not just the most data. By including authorities earlier in the process, failures to produce ESI or other process errors can be avoided.

Lest you think these are the last predictions we'll be covering, we assure you that the new year is not here yet. In the meantime, please let us know what you think. Tell us in the comments.