One of the biggest challenges facing any eDiscovery provider is the ability to articulate succinctly the value that it brings to customers. This challenge is magnified when eDiscovery vendors offer technology and services beyond traditional eDiscovery tasks or when they deliver offerings with new and innovative pricing and delivery models. Cohesive and complete messaging is critical if a provider is to break through the chatter and clutter of a highly competitive and competitor-rich market and get the attention of end users.
While there are common themes in most articulations of eDiscovery provider value that revolve around functional expertise, domain experience, and technology enablement, there does appear to be a need in most provider organizations for the establishment of a strategic framework for value to help guide offering development and messaging communication. This need is manifested in the prevalence of vendor offerings and messaging that lack substance and differentiation in relation to market competitors. Correspondingly, organizations that have taken the time to develop and follow a strategic framework for value appear to have substantive offerings and messaging that are easily differentiated from competitors.
Provided below for consideration and use is one example of a strategic framework for value that may be beneficial in helping eDiscovery providers consider offering and messaging development.
A Strategic Framework for Value
In developing a strategic framework for value, it is reasonable to first establish a core set of skills and service types to be included in the framework. These core services and skills generally include:
Core Service Types
- Assessment Services: Provide audits, evaluations, and assessments. (Where customers are.)
- Advisory Services: Develop programs to support requirements. (Where customers want to be.)
- Supervisory Services: Provide supervision for programs. (How providers can help customers get there.)
- Management Services: Provide management for programs. (How providers can get there for customers.)
Figure 1: Core Service Types
- Task Operationalization: Helping customers understand the best way to get things done.
- Task Accomplishment: Helping customers get things done.
- Technology Enablement: Helping customers leverage technology to get things done.
Figure 2: Core Skills
By taking the elements of these core skill and service types and combining them (Figure 3) into a basic strategic framework, eDiscovery providers can begin to establish an easily understandable and communicated value framework that can be used to explain and expand on the value in its offerings.
Figure 3: Core Service Types and Skills Framework
Additionally, by combining Task Operationalization and Task Accomplishment, one can refer to both of these core skills as Functional Area Expertise (Figure 4). Also, by breaking down Technology Enablement into services delivered via Customer or Third Party Infrastructure and services delivered by the eDiscovery Provider’s Infrastructure, one can highlight the two ways that Technology Enablement occurs. When added to the Core Services Types and Skills Framework, these two refinements complete the strategic framework for value.