Comparing Providers: Competencies, Attributes and Distribution Frameworks
Comparing and contrasting eDiscovery providers is a daunting task when one considers the multiple stages of eDiscovery, the many providers of eDiscovery offerings, and the fact that most provider comparisons today are based on solely on stage (EDRM¹) or feature/function capabilities. While there are definitions, tools and directories² available for comparing provider capabilities at the eDiscovery stage and feature/function level, there does not appear to be a generally accepted or regularly used set of elements that are used to describe the high level competencies, attributes and distribution frameworks of providers. Understanding that a provider’s organizational character is made up of more than capabilities, it seems reasonable that a common set of descriptive elements for competency, attributes and distribution frameworks might be beneficial for the provider comparison process.
With the goal of helping to provide objective elements for use in eDiscovery provider comparisons, provided below in simple bullet point form are suggested competency, attribute and distribution framework elements that may help in the establishment of cogent and complete comparisons between eDiscovery providers. These elements are not all-inclusive. However, they may still be highly beneficial for describing, positioning and differentiating eDiscovery providers.
General Competencies of eDiscovery Providers
Three General Competency Classifications of eDiscovery Providers
* Combining technology and services refers to architectural and procedural integration.
** Consolidating technology and services refers to the making available of standalone offerings without architectural or procedural integration.
General Attributes of eDiscovery Providers
Attributes of Developers
Attributes of Integrators
Attributes of Aggregators
General Distribution Frameworks for Legal Technologies/Services
These general distribution framework elements can further be described as leveraging either Pure or Hybrid distribution models.
Distribution framework and distribution models are important as they many times determine the way in which a whole product³ is ultimately delivered to the final end user.
Additionally, providers may in fact at times serve client’s in multiple roles as developers, integrators and/or aggregators using pure and/or hybrid distribution models. However, most providers have a core competency that is further defined by a primary distribution framework and primary distribution model.
Comparing Providers: Differing Offerings. Different Capabilities. Different Delivery.
Comparing different providers with differing offerings and different capabilities delivered in different ways is challenging given the complexity of today’s provider landscape. Hopefully the aforementioned objective comparison elements, when combined with conventional stage and feature/function comparison criteria, will help legal professionals as they seek to understand and consider complex discovery decisions with respect to eDiscovery providers.
(1) Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) – EDRM.net, September 24, 2012.
(2) Tools and Directory Examples: Apersee, Legal Service Providers Association, The eDJ Tech Matrix.
(3) Whole Product – (Whole Offering): Definition – Wikipedia, September 24, 2012.