Since we published our e-Discovery predictions for 2011, one more industry vendor has added their predictions to the mix. With only a few days left until 2011, there isn’t much longer until the future is now. Yet, from early case assessment to GRC, it’s apparent that the future of e-Discovery holds many opportunities.

ECA Moves Left

Let’s start with early case assessment. While it wasn’t addressed specifically in our previous list, Steve d’Alencon, Chief Marketing Officer of CaseCentral thinks that in 2011

Software on the “left-side” of the EDRM, concerned with information management, continues to get smarter, meaning that analysis of data can now occur ‘in the wild’ and with this increased intelligence, subsequent collections are getting smaller.

Until now, the primary application of ECA has been to quickly analyze collected data sets to provide insight before moving to full-scale review. According to d’Alencon, early case assessment is better than that and can be expanded to include more analysis and a more narrowed collection of data.

e-Discovery + GRC

In 2011, companies will continue to bring the e-Discovery process in-house, resulting in the integration of e-Discovery within their governance, risk management and compliance processes. d’Alencon says that in order for it be integrated successfully, data and process that feeds downstream business applications, such as eDiscovery, must be centralized. By doing such, d’Alencon says

…it will in turn save significant costs and reduce risks associated with litigation exposure, compliance and internal investigations as a standardized, repeatable and defensible process is put into place.

While combining e-Discovery and GRC is practical, it can also be economical.

A Complete Process

Incorporating software into business processes can do more than just save time and money, it also proves to be increasingly effective and efficient. According to d’Alencon, such efficiency means that

…the programmatic integration of the “left side” of the EDRM, historically an IT-driven endeavor and the “right side” of the EDRM, historically a legal-driven endeavor, create and end-to-end process.

By viewing the EDRM as a whole process, rather than as segments of a process, companies will understand all elements involved in e-Discovery, leading to more than just electronic discoveries.