Gartner's e-Discovery MQ.jpgFor anyone that had doubts about the volatility of the e-discovery market, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for e-Discovery should put those doubts to bed. In the coming two years the number of firms claiming to offer e-discovery products or services will plunge by 25%, while the market will be characterized by consolidation, with the emergence of a handful of large vendors.

Gartner’s e-Discovery Leaders

If that sounds dramatic, then a quick look at how the Leader’s Quadrant has evolved over the past 12 months will confirm this. While we will take a deeper look at the Leaders tomorrow, suffice it to say for now that there are nine Leaders, including four new entrants.

If it is difficult to get into any of the Gartner Magic Quadrants (MQ), this is even more difficult again by virtue of the fact that it is one of the oldest and, as a result, most mature of the MQs. The competition, as a result, is very, very stiff.

In all there are 23 companies across the entire Quadrant, many of whom will be familiar to those working in the information management space as e-discovery is becoming an increasingly important element of enterprise data management.

The Leaders are as follows (in alphabetical order): AccessData, Exterro, FTI Technology, Guidance Software, HP-Autonomy, kCura,  Kroll Ontrack, Recommind and Symantec.

In other Quadrants the move from one quadrant into the Leaders’ Quadrant can sometime take years, but over the past 12 months alone, in this space, four vendors have made it as Leaders.

Three vendors have moved from the Challengers quadrant to the Leaders quadrant, including FTI Technology, kCura and Kroll Ontrack, while Exterro has made it from the Visionaries’ Quadrant.

Gartner’s usual note of caution is worth keeping in mind here, particularly given that that some vendors cover one, or one set of functions very well. Gartner advises those looking to invest in e-discovery tools to take a look at all the vendors before deciding where to invest. This includes a list of vendors that Gartner is tracking, but which didn’t make it into the Quadrant at all.

Electronic Discovery Reference Model Criteria

At a very basic level, to be included a vendor needs to sell enterprise software licenses, a software application or e-discovery SaaS, and while some of them also provide e-discovery services, the provision of services on their own is not enough to make the grade.

Vendors also have to cover at least two out of three broad functional areas relating to the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM).

The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) was developed in 2005 and consists of a highly detailed reference model that is used as a standard for the discovery and recovery of digital data. The three broad areas for the sake of the MQ consist of:

  • Left-hand side of the EDRM: Identification, collection, preservation and processing vendors that have either a workflow-based system or a search and information access system for IT and legal departments to use.
  • Right-hand side of the EDRM: Vendors focused on processing, reviewing, analyzing and producing documents, either in early case management or at a later stage of review, whose products include features such as document categorization and redaction.
  • Information management: Vendors offering information management or repository functionality plus e-discovery functions.

Of course vendors that cover the entire end-to-end process are also included as, according to Gartner, more and more enterprises are looking for products that provide end-to-end functionality. They also must demonstrate the following:

  • That they generate at least US$ 20 million in revenue per year from the sale of e-discovery software
  • Own the intellectual property and copyright to the software
  • Have at least 50 customers in production

E-Discovery Market Context

The e-discovery market at this stage is one of the more developed markets in the information management space. Enterprises and legal firms now depend on digital information management for accuracy and efficiencies, and increasingly require software that can deal with the growing amount of information that needs to be processed in legal and compliance-based actions.