EDRM Blog

HotHotHot: Business Confidence Up

Sun through clouds with lighthouse

Editor’s Note: Rob Robinson of ComplexDiscovery has released the results of The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey. Finding exuberance in sentiment around future business metrics, the survey also picked up anxiety around adequate personnel, and a better comfort level with security and technology. To view the graphs and read the analysis, please see the results on the ComplexDiscovery site holding the results of the Summer 2021 Survey (22 June – 6 July 2021).

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 purposed toward cyber, data, and legal discovery tasks. 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-third time in the summer of 2021, the survey has been conducted six times during the current global pandemic.

The Summer 2021 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey Results

The summer 2021 survey response period was initiated on June 22, 2021, and continued until July 6, 2021. This summer’s survey was highlighted and promoted by the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). This quarter’s survey experienced a solid response rate with 90 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 summer 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 = 90 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 – 36.7% ↓
  • Law Firm – 28.9% ↑
  • Consultancy – 13.3% ↓
  • Corporation – 11.1% ↑
  • Governmental Entity – 5.6% ↓
  • Media/Research Organization – 1.1% ↓
  • Other – 3.3% ↑

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 – 60.0% ↑
  • Normal – 31.1% ↓
  • Bad – 8.9% ↑

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 – 58.9% ↓
  • Same – 38.9% ↑
  • Worse – 2.2% ↓

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 – 63.3% ↑
  • Same – 33.3% ↓
  • Lower – 3.3% ↓

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 – 51.1% ↑
  • Same – 40.0% ↓
  • Lower – 8.9% ↓

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
  • Increasing Types of Data – 24.4% ↑
  • Increasing Volumes of Data – 20.0% ↑
  • Lack of Personnel – 20.0% ↑
  • Budgetary Constraints – 17.8% ↓
  • Data Security – 8.9% ↓
  • Inadequate Technology – 8.9% ↓

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) – 90.0% ↓
  • Europe (UK) – 4.4% ↑
  • Europe (Non-UK) – 2.2% ↑
  • North America (Canada) – 1.1% ↓
  • Middle East/Africa – 1.1% ↑
  • Central/South America – 1.1% ↑
  • Asia/Asia Pacific – 0.0% =

8. What are best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
  • Legal/Litigation Support – 74.4 ↑
  • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions) – 22.2% ↑
  • IT/Product Development – 3.3% ↓

9. What are best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?
  • Executive Leadership – 31.1% ↑
  • Operational Management – 43.3% ↑
  • Tactical Execution – 25.6% ↓

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=89 Respondents
  • Increasing – 20.3% ↓
  • Unfluctuating – 34.2% ↑
  • Decreasing – 10.1% ↑
  • Do Not Know – 35.4% ↓

11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter? n=80 Respondents
  • Increasing – 38.8% ↑
  • Unfluctuating – 21.3% ↓
  • Decreasing – 7.5% ↓
  • Do Not Know – 32.5% ↑

12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter? n=80 Respondents
  • Increasing – 46.3% ↑
  • Unfluctuating – 20.0% ↓
  • Decreasing – 6.3% ↓
  • Do Not Know – 27.5% ↓

Trend Notes
  • ↑ Increase from the last survey.
  • ↓ Decrease from the last survey.
  • = No change from the last survey.
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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