Pricing Transparency May Be Beneficial for Helping Contain Costs in eDiscovery

Extracts on Pricing by Rob Robinson

As law firms and legal departments strive to select the best solutions for their particular eDiscovery challenges, it is important for them to be able to compare and contrast the pros and cons of different offerings. While many vendors publicly present detailed offering attributes regarding capability, flexibility, delivery model, and security approaches, many do not share public information on pricing and pricing models. Given the fact that budgetary constraints are one of the leading elements impacting the conduct of discovery,  publicly published pricing from vendors may help simplify the eDiscovery decision-making process by removing one of the most common concerns early in the evaluation process. That concern is the concern of “how much is this going to cost.”

Chart: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Budgetary Constraints as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business (Eight Surveys, 842 Total Respondents)

Chart 2 – Ongoing Budgetary Constraints – Up to October 2017

Assuming that most eDiscovery software providers understand the cost of delivering their solutions to the market, it seems reasonable for those in the eDiscovery ecosystem to be able to request and expect to receive simplified pricing from providers. This simplified pricing should account for all elements of a software offering, regardless of whether it is on-premise, off-premise, or a combination of the two. Pricing should also be able to be provided for individual projects or time and volume defined subscriptions, trading length of user commitment for user cost benefits. Additionally, eDiscovery software providers can greatly enhance the effectiveness of those seeking and sourcing eDiscovery solutions by making pricing transparent and publicly available in situations where it would not cause legal or business conflict issues. The reality is that most pricing is generally public in some manner (e.g., GSA Schedules, Industry Reports, Software Reviews). So the real question for providers is how difficult do they want to make it for those making budgetary decisions for the procurement of eDiscovery solutions to find the pricing without direct personal contact with the provider. There may be a good reason not to publish pricing, but if providers are not being transparent for the wrong reasons, their secret pricing strategy may be overrated.

Lagniappe: What is Price Transparency?

In eDiscovery, Price Transparency is the ability to know the general pricing for products and services associated with the delivery of data and legal discovery solutions.* This transparency helps determine true supply and demand for eDiscovery products and services. If those seeking and sourcing eDiscovery products and services have little idea about the actual cost of specific products or services, it limits the power of those individuals to consider and negotiate better pricing. If eDiscovery consumers are not able to compare pricing, competition is inhibited. If competition is inhibited, it may lead to eDiscovery consumers spending more than they may need to in accomplishing a task or solving a challenge. Thus, transparent pricing may be able to help budget-constrained organizations by making the searching and sourcing of pricing for products and solutions more efficient.

* Derived from Price Transparency Definition for Financial Investing from Investing Answers

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