In the House? The Fall 2022 eDiscovery Total Cost of Ownership Survey — Final Results

ComplexDiscovery released the raw results of their groundbreaking community survey focused on the total cost of ownership (TCO) for eDiscovery, called “Fall 2022 eDiscovery Total Cost of Ownership Survey Results.” The results are eye-opening and give a glimpse of how practitioners in the various organizations supporting eDiscovery view the actual costs, if they know them, that underlie their approach.

EDRM was proud to participate in the promotion of the survey and thanks our global community for sharing their thoughts on what it costs to have eDiscovery in house. We also thank Rob Robinson, author of the survey, for exploring an area which has been opaque and not well understood, in a way that will increase the value of conversations in our space.

According to ComplexDiscovery’s Rob Robinson:

Recently ComplexDiscovery expanded its survey portfolio by introducing a new business survey focused on understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) of in-house managed eDiscovery. The new survey consisted of twenty-two multiple-choice questions focused on factors relating to the procurement, management, and maintenance of in-house eDiscovery. Additionally, the survey contained three optional questions focused on procurement and upgrade timelines. The results of this new survey may benefit cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery professionals seeking to better understand the TCO of in-house eDiscovery. 

Rob Robinson, ComplexDiscovery

62% of respondents managed almost all their eDiscovery in house. The survey does include service providers (36%) and law firms (26%), in addition to government and corporations.

One of the key questions concerns the cost of eDiscovery processing software.

How much does your organization spend ANNUALLY on eDiscovery processing software?

  • Less Than $50K – 38.0%
  • Between $50K and $250K – 18.0%
  • Between $251K and $500K – 10.0%
  • Greater Than $500K – 18.0%
  • Do Not Know – 16.0%

Security and infrastructure questions garnered the most “Do Not Know” responses while respondents knew much more about their staffing costs and TB under management.

The survey results may be important to those operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem for two primary reasons. The first reason is that eDiscovery consumers generally pay a premium for eDiscovery services due to the high cost of owning, managing, and maintaining eDiscovery environments, and by having a better understanding of ownership costs, eDiscovery consumers may be more informed in assessing the actual cost of eDiscovery. The second reason is that eDiscovery business owners face challenges in explaining and justifying pricing to consumers based on the complexity of eDiscovery pricing and the lack of publicly available information on the total cost of eDiscovery ownership. With market information to share in this arena, eDiscovery business owners may be better positioned to educate and inform consumers on the total cost of eDiscovery ownership.

Rob Robinson, ComplexDiscovery

Read the entire survey results report and view the graphs here.


Mary Mack

Mary Mack is the CEO and Chief Legal Technologist for EDRM. Mary was the co-editor of the Thomson Reuters West Treatise, eDiscovery for Corporate Counsel for 10 years and the co-author of A Process of Illumination: the Practical Guide to Electronic Discovery. She holds the CISSP among her certifications.