E-Discovery Review Platforms: Choices Abound

Choosing a technology vendor is a critical piece in making a review project successful. There are literally hundreds to choose from as was recently seen again at Legal Tech 2011. Even with lots of consolidation in the industry there are still many national and regional players to consider.

While there are many factors that go into choosing a review platform, do not forget the impact of having the basics covered. Every review software platform should be able to do the following:

  • Host in a stable environment that doesn’t go down very often
  • Ease of ‘look and feel’ to allow for quick coding
  • Organized folder structure
  • Searchability among folders, documents and attachments
  • Reporting on progress by reviewer, custodian, overall and every relevant field of coded information
  • Handling of the volume of reviewers logged on
  • Having sufficient server capacity to process the data at the pace needed

Also don’t overlook the basic package that is needed to make an efficient review for the type of document that you will be collecting. Scanned paper might not work in every platform, for example. Likewise, certain color files do not work on some platforms. And just the basic set-up can directly impact speed.

It’s always a wonder to me how many developers don’t seem to try their platform on actual end users of the product. I know of numerous platforms that could be improved simply by changing the placement of certain buttons, modifying the layout of the foldering structure, or if they would just consolidate and ease the number of clicks to finish coding a record. These steps would most certainly make the review faster and more efficient.

But assuming that you have the basics covered, it comes down to three additional areas: cost, relationship and service.

Cost
The cost is an obvious go or no go component of the decision-making process. Most vendors are flexible and will give you options based upon volume of project, volume of overall client, or certain discounts that come with a first-time use.

Relationship
You have to work with someone, so you might as well like them as you’ll be relying on them for the success of the project. This goes beyond seeing a good demo or having lunch. Can you rely on their responsiveness after the sale? Are they trustworthy in what they say? Sometimes a good old gut check is helpful in discerning whom to put your faith in.

Service
It doesn’t do any good to have a great relationship and low cost if the end service is horrible. You shouldn’t rely on a vendor demonstration for making your final decision; most vendors have very good presenters and trainers (although I’ve seen some really bad demos, too). In the end though, the software must actually be able to do what is promised. It must deliver and the people who answer the phone – even when trouble arises – must deliver as well.

The advice is this: get the review team’s leadership involved at some level in the selection of the review platform. Our project managers are familiar with dozens of vendors and their service capabilities and can provide the type of insight that can make the review maximize quality control, troubleshooting, efficiency and ultimately save you significant dollars.
 

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