How to get the jump on eDiscovery costs

In our latest series of articles, we unpacked the benefits of Early Data Assessment (“EDA”) with a particular focus on how in-place EDA, coupled with a proactive outlook, can help drive down the cost of this part of the EDRM lifecycle – particularly for corporates.

If you’ve been following us for a while now, you’ll have noticed that this isn’t an unusual focus for us. In fact, reducing the costs associated with eDiscovery is a core part of our Salient mission. It influences every aspect of our business, from our right-shored model (leveraging the expertise, language, aligned time zone and cost benefits of our South African delivery hub into the UK market) to our mantra of actionable insights and learning from each matter to improve the next.

One thing we’ve most certainly learnt in our years searching for the most cost-effective approaches to eDiscovery, is the power of adopting a proactive methodology. The advantages of proactivity extend well beyond the elements covered in our EDA series to deliver tangible benefits across the full eDiscovery model.

Of course, there are challenges to getting proactive eDiscovery projects off the ground in corporate environments. Securing budget can be particularly thorny since future spend and future savings (and therefore ROI) is often nearly impossible to accurately predict.

There are ways to address these challenges, and rest assured that we’ll touch on them in future articles. For now, however, let’s take a quick look at three proactive techniques to get more bang for your eDiscovery buck.

Prepare a response strategy

There is extraordinary time-saving value in having a litigation response strategy ready and waiting. The easiest way to achieve this is to document your eDiscovery processes in the same way you would any other business workflow.

Important elements to consider are clear hand-offs between teams, clarity on timescales and defined expectations for each role. Don’t forget to take a step back from the individual elements, either. Formulating an end-to-end strategy is equally important, with clarity on overall ownership of the process essential.

Pro tip: The ideal response strategy will always be a work in progress. Every matter is an opportunity to identify areas for strategic improvement that will deliver increased advantage in future.

Use information governance to streamline eDiscovery

In the digital age, and with the explosion in the data being generated daily, good information governance should always be a priority. Storing everything for ever is simply no longer a defensible strategy! Thanks to the evolutionary nature of technology and the Cloud, the barriers to improved information governance are falling, however, most organisations are still battling at least a few challenges in this regard.

Common hurdles include complex data estates with a mix of on-premises and Cloud data sources, mobile data and BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) considerations, file and email archives residing outside the standard corporate environment, and unsanctioned, uncontrolled communication networks, amongst others.

Finding a solution to these challenges in order to implement appropriate information governance has often been considered a “nice-to-have” rather an urgent requirement. But once you look at the problem through an eDiscovery lens, the sheer cost, time and risks associated with unmanaged growth in discoverable data should provide the wake up call to significantly boost the urgency associated with information governance projects. It’s hard to deny the very tangible effect good information management can have on reducing these risks, and the scope and cost of any future eDiscovery exercise.

Use eDiscovery tools to nip emerging issues in the bud

Perhaps the greatest untapped potential for eDiscovery tooling is their use in proactive supervision. The same eDiscovery processes and techniques can be surprisingly effective at identifying emerging internal issues and nipping them in the bud before they escalate into potentially damaging (and costly) legal matters.

That’s not the only proactive use for eDiscovery technology, either. Re-using historical searches and Machine Learning models to re-apply them to new situations, can assist in rapidly identifying similar patterns in litigation, thereby providing actionable insights that can be transformed into cost- and time-saving advantages.

eDiscovery technology has evolved drastically in recent years. Taking full advantage of its potential – particularly around cost minimisation – now requires an equally significant shift in mindset from the reactive to the proactive.

Join us as we explore what that shift looks like in our upcoming article series taking a deeper dive into proactive eDiscovery strategies.