Despite the increasing rise in outsourcing of many noncore business processes, there is one area in which the reverse is true: e-discovery. As this article notes, more and more companies are bringing e-discovery in-house.
What we have found in our e-discovery practice, is that e-discovery “outsourcing” is not what is traditionally considered true outsourcing. Usually, when one thinks of outsourcing a process, it is to gain efficiencies, bring down costs, and/or to have an end-to-end solution – avoiding the need to build one from scratch. In the e-discovery world, the vendors cannot deliver on at least two out of three of these common goals. First, there is no end-to-end solution. Presently, there are solutions that handle at least one major process, such as keyword search, deduplication, data culling, searching e-mail, IMs and unstructured file system data, but no one solution for all. Then, there is the cost of administration. Each vendor/solution provider has costly resources who can be deployed at a high hourly rate. However, the hourly rate, rate is often 2 times or more the rate of an in-house resource. As a result, many companies use these resources sparingly, and only when faced with a subpoena.
Finally, there’s the question of whether this can actually be fully outsourced. The information must stand up in court. Some amount of in-house expertise is necessary, as the company’s data collection, retention, and destruction processes and procedure are often under fire as part of the legal proceedings.
Who Should be Concerned?
Many companies are hit with such high costs of e-discovery due to the “surprise” of litigation. We have had clients actually tell us, “we do not litigate”, therefore they have not begun to think about e-discovery. We urge clients to consider the ramifications of a lawsuit – employment dispute, IP litigation, etc., as part of the holistic view of data storage. For our clients, the upfront efforts, and the inclusion of “data collection and production” in their business requirements, has made the process less costly and time-consuming down the road as if and when they are asked to produce hundreds of terabytes of data or face fines for failing to do so.