As part of the Summer School Webinar Series, eDPM Advisory Services recently teamed up with ACEDS to review the project management landscape. Our objective: to categorize and identify some of the project management tools on the market that may be used to help automate e-discovery processes. Although we identified several potential tools, the central message is that organizations need to first identify their process and then seek out a tool that may automate those processes. Two interesting data points arose based on poll questions asked during the presentation.
First, we asked how many in the audience had developed written processes for each stage of an e-discovery project. The results of the poll question look like this:
The results demonstrate that roughly 65% of attendees had some formal written process across the e-discovery spectrum. This is good news because I think if this question had been asked 3 or 5 years ago the numbers would have been much lower. Interestingly, the stage in which formal processes were least prevalent (at 41%) was Identification and Preservation. This is troubling only because Identification and Preservation in the stage in which we identify the custodians and data sources, implement a litigation hold, and ensure we have preserved ESI in a defensible manner.
Second, we asked attendees what if any tools they were using to manage their e-discovery projects. The results of that question look like this:
The good news is that the overwhelming majority are using some form of project management tool. It remains troubling, however, that spreadsheets appear to remain the tool of choice for the majority of people. This could reflect a lack of awareness of the other available tools or an indication that the other tools are not meeting the market need, or perhaps that the tools are not affordable or difficult to use. But the thing that is perhaps even more troubling is that over 5% of attendees indicate that they are using nothing at all.
One goal of the recent webinar was to introduce attendees to some of the project management tools that are available. In an effort to build on these results and get a sample from a wider audience, we are going to begin polling the e-discovery industry to gain more insight. We are going to share these results once we have them.