DCIG* has launched the inaugural issue of its eDiscovery Early Case Assessment Software Buyers Guide, which provides an objective ranking of the leading ECA software products.

The data explosion is taxing IT systems for more reasons than just storage.  In 2012 to date, there have been more than 89 billion business emails received and sent. The number of worldwide Instant Message (IM) accounts totals more than 2.7 billion. And in DCIG’s estimate, the amount of Electronic Stored Information (ESI) is in the range of 2.8 zettabytes, or in layman’s terms, five thousand times the number of all words ever spoken by human beings, and growing at a healthy clip of 50 percent annually.

As if the avalanche of ESI is not placing a strain on IT resources, the world’s legal system is struggling to provide a cost-effective process to help litigators present ESI as evidence in legal proceedings. This process, more commonly known as eDiscovery that includes identification, collection, integration, normalization, culling, analysis and review of ESI, is integral to the growing practice of Early Case Assessment (ECA). At its heart, ECA software helps to reduce the amount of ESI that must be reviewed before an incident is prosecuted.

With the rise of ESI, and need for ECA software to adapt to Enterprise IT needs, end users must find a way to best understand established and emerging requirements, and develop a set of clear and distinct criteria for selecting ECA software.  It is with this intent that DCIG embarked on the industry’s first and most comprehensive ECA Buyer’s Guide.

“It should come as no surprise that there are many, many choices available to end users for ECA software, and the task of finding, let alone evaluating one, can be daunting,” said Joshua Konkle, Vice President, at DCIG, LLC. “As with all of our Buyer’s Guides, we look to provide an extensive and objective analysis of the commercially available options shipping today. We fully anticipate this to be as well received as our other Guides, and to be an annual benchmark in evaluating ECA Software options for years to come.”

The Guide is not intended to be a substitute for internal testing or to tell IT managers which solution to buy but is designed to help in the identification of and be used as an aid in coming up with a list of competitive products that have comparable features that may meet an end users’ specific needs. DCIG recommends that end users supplement the selection of ECA software products with in-house testing to ensure a solution best meets an IT organizations’ particular business processes.

For the DCIG 2012 ECA Software Buyer’s Guide, DCIG looked at more than 60 key features in 29 ECA software products from 23 of the leading ECA software products providers, and then created a survey, which was shared with each provider included in the Buyer’s Guide. To ensure the information provided in the Buyer’s Guide was accurate and up-to-date, DCIG provided each vendor with a copy of their respective data sheets without the scores or rankings to validate what features their ECA Software solution supported.

After the surveys and data sheets were completed and returned, each vendor’s responses and updates were checked against publicly available data. Features were then weighted, scored and ranked either Recommended – getting an over 70% rating, Excellent – over 60%,  Good – over 45% and Basic. The highest ranked product scored 79.1% – the lowest just 24.9%. The features were then compiled into individual product data sheets that reflect how each product supports these features.

“There are many market factors driving the need for comprehensive and flexible ECA Software products that are putting ECA software into a much larger footprint within the entire eDiscovery life cycle,” added Konkle. “Based on our research and end user feedback received during the compilation of this Buyer’s Guide, buyers require a single-holistic-platform addressing information governance, improved search and support. We are looking forward to the industry’s reaction to this Buyer’s Guide, and fully expect this to eliminate time, energy and effort for end users looking to shortlist ECA Software products to help them support their entire eDiscovery life cycle management efforts.”

For inclusion in the DCIG 2012 ECA Software Buyer’s Guide, each solution must have met the following criteria:

·         Marketed as a stand-alone ECA software
·         Provide functionality through original proprietary software as opposed to licensed software and services
·         Support requested features through software and not just services
·         Sufficient information available for DCIG to make meaningful decisions
·         Products had to be shipping as of March 1, 2012

Of the evaluated ECA software products, the three ECA software products that DCIG ranked as Recommended were

Guidance Software EnCase eDiscovery

Exterro Fusion eDiscovery

Zylab eDiscovery Bundle.

Highlights of the Recommended ranking included:

·         Single holistic solution across the entire ECA life cycle
·         Native Data Mapping
·         Native Legal Hold Management
·         Native Workflow Management
·         Native Project Management
·         Analysis of enterprise ESI before collections
·         Real-time collection of enterprise ESI
·         Integration with enterprise archiving systems
·         Ability to process social media ESI
·         Next generation search
·         First Pass Review
·         Next generation user interface
·         Information dashboard
·         SaaS delivery option

The other systems in the DCIG top ten – which all rated as Excellent – were (in alphabetical order):

Autonomy Investigator & Early Case Assessment (ECA)

Gallivan Gallivan & O’Melia LLC DigitalWarRoom

NextPoint Discovery Cloud

NUIX Nuix Enterprise Discover

Orcatec Document Decisioning Suite

StoredIQ DiscoveryIQ

Symantec Clearwell

Disclosure and Methodology
DCIG identified 20 plus companies that provide ECA software products. Each provider was given the opportunity to complete a survey that examined how its solution delivered on the inclusion criteria and supported data mapping, analysis of enterprise ESI before collections, integration with enterprise archiving systems, ability to process social media ESI, legal hold workflow and project management, next-generation search, first pass review, information dashboards and cloud computing. In every case every vendor had the opportunity to review and respond to the survey and the information regarding their product displayed on the data sheets included in this Buyer’s Guide.

DCIG also spoke to a number of end-users to get a sense of how they would weight their needs in various areas. DCIG then evaluated the vendors’ capabilities by applying weighting indicated from our conversations with these end-users. No vendors, whether clients or not, were afforded preferential treatment in the Buyer’s Guide. All research was based upon information provided directly by vendors, research and analysis by DCIG and other publicly available information.

Availability
The 90-page DCIG 2012 Early Case Assessment Buyer’s Guide is available immediately and may be downloaded for no charge with registration at the following link: www.dcig.com/buyersguides

* DCIG is an analyst firm with headquarters in Texas, focusing on archive, backup, retrieval and storage systems. DCIG’s analysts blend analysis, journalism, advertising and marketing into compelling blog entries at www.dciginc.com