Ignore the Deflation, Keep Yours Eyes on How eDiscovery is Bought

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I agree with Rob’s assessment that the pandemic and the US response have dramatically impacted the overall market spend/size in 2020. Heck, I just used my first ever extended work stoppage to relaunch the eDiscovery Journal. Client projects and new engagements are just now picking back up for me and many peers. I wanted to highlight what Rob has done since 2012 with his Market Size Mashups. One of the first challenges Barry Murphy and myself faced when we launched the eDJ Group as a boutique market analyst firm in 2009 was sizing the eDiscovery market. Every VC or investor wanted market share and growth numbers before they put funds into a provider with growth potential. It is remarkedly difficult to get pricing, revenue and other financial metrics from non-public eDiscovery companies. The 2003 Socha-Gelbmann eDiscovery Survey was the first published attempt at sizing the 1993-2002 eDiscovery market ($270M). I have heard George Socha repeatedly insist that the surveys were their best efforts to fill the demand for some kind of numbers rather than an academic market summary. He and Tom clearly explained their methods and did a good job of identifying market segments and top five players. That does not mean that I agreed with their numbers then or now.  I always believed that the 2002 $270M market size was a serious underestimation. My primary point is that every analyst firm eDiscovery market sizing attempt that I have dug into seems to have been based on the Socha-Gelbmann eDiscovery Surveys in some way or form. I have recently found some overseas market data brokers publishing raw import/export type metrics that give some insight into the global eDiscovery market, but I believe that you should take the $10-12B 2020 market size with the big dose of skepticism. eDiscovery is bigger than legal tech and service providers. It is now an essential part of the much larger global Info Governance market. If you need to measure market share, then you need to deep dive into the specific market segment and compare apples to apples. Most or all eDiscovery market segments lost revenue since March. I am not watching the mythical market size. Instead, I am watching the impact on buying trends and how providers are evolving (or dying) to meet the new consumption models.

Written by Greg Buckles

Independent consultant focused on eDiscovery and IG solutions.

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