EDRM Blog

A Splash of Optimism? Spring 2021 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results

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[Editor’s Note: EDRM is grateful to ComplexDiscovery for sharing an early look at the Spring 2021 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results. Thank you to our EDRM community for participating so we can get a collective perspective on our economic headwinds, or in this case, tail winds. The results, compared to the previous quarter’s results, follow, and a graphical treatment can be found here. Of note: budget constraints are down, concerns about adequate personnel have doubled and there is a distinct optimistic take on conditions.]

Survey Analyst Editor’s Note: The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a non-scientific quarterly survey that shares insight into the business confidence of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem. The survey consists of nine core questions on factors related to the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services. Additionally, the survey contains three optional questions focused on the business operational metrics of days sales outstanding (DSO), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and customer revenue distribution. Administered for the twenty-second time in the spring of 2021, the survey has been conducted five times during the current COVID-19 crisis.

The Spring 2021 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results

The spring 2021 survey response period was initiated on March 28, 2021, and continued until April 11, 2021. This quarter’s survey experienced a solid response rate with 100 eDiscovery professionals sharing their opinions on the business of eDiscovery.

While individual answers to the survey are confidential, the aggregate and unfiltered results are published to highlight the business confidence of participants regarding economic factors impacting the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services during the spring of 2021. These results may be useful to legal, information technology, and business professionals seeking to better understand current and potential future business conditions as shared by survey participants.


Business Confidence Questions (Required)

n = 100 Respondents

1. Which of the following segments best describes your business in eDiscovery?
Part of the eDiscovery ecosystem where your organization resides

  • Software or Services Provider – 37.0% (28.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Law Firm – 25.0% (41.7% in Winter 2021)
  • Consultancy – 16.0% (13.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Corporation – 9.0% (5.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Governmental Entity – 8.0% (5.0% in Winter 2021))
  • Media/Research Organization – 3.0% (5.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Other – 2.0% (1.7% in Winter 2021)

2. How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment?
Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations

  • Good – 57.0% (43.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Normal – 35.0% (41.7% in Winter 2021)
  • Bad – 8.0% (15.0% in Winter 2021)

3. How do you think the business conditions will be in your segment six months from now?
Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations

  • Better – 60.0% (50.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Same – 37.0% (45.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Worse – 3.0% (5.0% in Winter 2021)

4. How would you guess revenue in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
Revenue is income generated from eDiscovery-related business activities

  • Higher – 52.0% (51.7% in Winter 2021)
  • Same – 40.0% (35.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Lower – 8.0% (13.3% in Winter 2021)

5. How would you guess profits in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
Profit is the amount of income remaining after accounting for all expenses, debts, additional revenue streams, and operating costs

  • Higher – 44.0% (41.7% in Winter 2021)
  • Same – 43.0% (43.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Lower – 13.0% (15.0% in Winter 2021)

6. Of the six items presented below, what is the issue that you feel will most impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months?
Challenges that may directly impact the business performance of your organization

  • Budgetary Constraints – 25.0% (43.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Increasing Types of Data – 22.0% (16.7% in Winter 2021)
  • Increasing Volumes of Data – 19.0% (18.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Data Security – 14.0% (13.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Lack of Personnel – 11.0% (5.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Inadequate Technology – 9.0% (3.3% in Winter 2021)

7. In which geographical region do you primarily conduct eDiscovery-related business?
The location from which you are basing your business assessments

  • North America (United States) – 94.0% (86.7% in Winter 2021)
  • North America (Canada) – 2.0% (5.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Europe (UK) – 2.0% (3.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Europe (Non-UK) – 1.0% (3.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Middle East/Africa – 1.0% (0.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Asia/Asia Pacific – 0.0% (1.7% in Winter 2021)
  • Central/South America – 0.0% (0.0% in Winter 2021)

8. What are best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

  • Legal/Litigation Support – 72.0% (75.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions) – 22.0% (21.7% in Winter 2021)
  • IT/Product Development – 6.0% (3.3% in Winter 2021)

9. What are best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

  • Executive Leadership – 31.0% (45.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Operational Management – 39.0% (36.7% in Winter 2021)
  • Tactical Execution – 30.0% (18.3% in Winter 2021)

Business Metric Trajectory Questions (Optional)

10. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) during the last quarter?
n=93 Respondents

  • Increasing – 22.6% (31.5% in Winter 2021)
  • Unfluctuating – 22.6% (29.6% in Winter 2021)
  • Decreasing – 9.7% (9.3% in Winter 2021)
  • Do Not Know – 45.2% (29.6% in Winter 2021)

11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
n=93 Respondents

  • Increasing – 33.3% (29.6% in Winter 2021)
  • Unfluctuating – 23.7% (31.5% in Winter 2021)
  • Decreasing – 10.8% (11.1% in Winter 2021)
  • Do Not Know – 32.3% (27.8% in Winter 2021)

12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?
n=93 Respondents

  • Increasing – 33.3% (31.5% in Winter 2021)
  • Unfluctuating – 25.8% (31.5% in Winter 2021)
  • Decreasing – 6.5% (13.0% in Winter 2021)
  • Do Not Know – 34.4% (24.1% in Winter 2021)

Past Survey Results

Source: ComplexDiscovery

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Mary Mack

Mary Mack is the CEO and Chief Legal Technologist for EDRM. Mary is the co-editor of the Thomson Reuters West Treatise, eDiscovery for Corporate Counsel and the co-author of A Process of Illumination: the Practical Guide to Electronic Discovery. She a member of the Illinois Bar and holds the CISSP among her certifications.


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