Editor’s Note: The results of the recent Summer 2022 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey present the impact of key issues on the business of eDiscovery. However, for issues and their potential impact on the business of eDiscovery to be fully understood, they should be viewed through the contextual lens of the results of all the surveys that have been administered to eDiscovery professionals since survey inception.
Initiated in January 2016, the survey has been administered twenty-seven times with 2,774 individual responses. The latest survey was administered in the summer of 2022 and had 73 respondents.
Increasing Types of Data: The Emerging Challenge of Variants
The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a nonscientific quarterly survey designed to provide insight into the business confidence level of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem. The survey consists of nine core multiple-choice questions focused on factors related to the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services. Additionally, the survey contains three optional questions focused on the business operational metrics of days sales outstanding (DSO), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and revenue distribution across customer bases.
The latest survey was administered in the summer of 2022 and had 73 respondents in roles that included executive leadership (45.2%), operational management (35.6%), and tactical execution (19.2%). Industry segments represented in the survey included software and service providers (38.4%), law firms (31.5%), consultancies (17.8%), corporations (8.2%), media and research professionals (2.7%), others (1.4%), and governmental entities (0.0%).
One of the questions in the quarterly survey asks participants to select from a listing of six choices the issue they view as potentially having the most impact on their eDiscovery business during the next six months. The issues presented include:
- Budgetary Constraints
- Data Security
- Inadequate Technology
- Increasing Types of Data
- Increasing Volumes of Data
- Lack of Personnel
While not all-inclusive, the listing of issues provides a realistic overview of potential areas that appear to have a direct and ongoing impact on the business of eDiscovery.
Based on the aggregate results of past surveys, the following findings and charted overviews of responses to the question of issues impacting business may be helpful in understanding the collective mindset of many industry experts regarding these issues and their impact on the business of eDiscovery.
Six Key Findings in the Summer of 2022
- In the summer of 2022, 28.8% of respondents viewed increasing types of data as potentially having the greatest impact on their business in the next six months. This percentage is the highest of all concerns represented in the summer 2022 survey. This percentage is also the second-highest rating in the area of increasing types of data concerns since the inception of the survey in the winter of 2016. (Charts 1,2, and 3)
- The percentage of respondents that viewed budgetary constraints as a top business issue jumped by 18.9% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by 24.7% of survey respondents. (Chart 4)
- The percentage of respondents that viewed lack of personnel as a top business concern decreased significantly in the last quarter from 21.2% in the spring of 2022 to 16.4% in the summer of 2022. This is a continued drop from the fall of 2021 when the percentage of respondents expressing their concern of lack of personnel as their top business performance concern was the highest in this area since the inception of the survey. (Chart 5)
- Increasing volumes of data continued to be a reasonably consistent concern for eDiscovery professionals with 15.1% of summer 2022 survey respondents viewing data volume challenges as potentially having a substantial impact on business in the next six months. This was a slight decrease in this area from the 19.2% response rate in the spring 2022 survey. (Chart 6)
- Respondent’s concern for the impact of data security on eDiscovery business performance remained the same during the last quarter and continues to be the top concern for 9.6% of those surveyed, the same as in the spring of 2022. (Chart 7)
- In the summer of 2022, the impact of inadequate technology as the top business issue decreased by 2.2% from the last quarter and is now viewed as the top concern by only 5.5% of survey respondents. This is also the lowest concern of any issue in the summer 2022 survey. (Chart 8)
Considering Twenty-Seven Quarters of Results from 2016 to 2022
From a top issue perspective, the following potential issues and the number of quarterly times they have been considered the top concern by survey respondents are shared to create context as to the continuing concerns of eDiscovery professionals.
- Budgetary Constraints: 14 *
- Increasing Volumes of Data: 6 *
- Increasing Types of Data: 6
- Lack of Personnel: 2
- Data Security: 0
- Inadequate Technology: 0
* Top concern tied between Budgetary Constraints and Increasing Volumes of Data in the Winter of 2017.
(Charts Can Be Expanded for Detailed Viewing)
Chart 1: An Aggregate Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance
1 – Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance – Aggregate – Summer 2022
Chart 2: An Overview of Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance in the Summer of 2022
2 – Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance – Summer 2022
Chart 3: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Types of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business
3 – Impact of Increasing Types of Data on eDiscovery Business – Summer 2022
Chart 4: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Budgetary Constraints as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business
4 – Impact of Budgetary Constraints on eDiscovery Business – Summer 2022
Chart 5: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Lack of Personnel as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business
5 – Impact of Lack of Personnel on eDiscovery Business – Summer 2022
Chart 6: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Increasing Volumes of Data as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business
6 – Impact of Increasing Volumes of Data on eDiscovery Business – Summer 2022
Chart 7: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Data Security as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business
7 – Impact of Data Security on eDiscovery Business – Summer 2022
Chart 8: An Overview of the Percentage of Respondents Viewing Inadequate Technology as the Top Issue Impacting eDiscovery Business
8 – Impact of Inadequate Technology on eDiscovery Business – Summer 2022
Chart 9: Survey Participant Overview
9 – Survey Respondents (Individual and Aggregate Overview) – Summer 2022
Past Survey Results
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