In every matter, you have a finite period of time in which to collect, process, and review data as part of the discovery phase. The volumes, formats, and locations of potentially discoverable data are continuing to expand, creating an urgent need for speed – and for technologies that can rapidly process large volumes of data.
But speed describes only how fast an object is moving. Velocity, on the other hand, is the speed of an object and a specification of its direction of motion. Today, delivering lightning throughput is just table stakes. Discovery technologies also need to provide the workflows and analytic capabilities that can help you drive the direction of motion for your case from the start.
What Speed Really Means
Before we can start talking about velocity, we need to understand the nature of speed when it comes to eDiscovery processing. Speed is important, because processing faster can help reduce the overall volume of data you need to collect and even put you in a better negotiating position.
At the most basic level, speed refers to the throughput power that enables the system to ingest and process collected data as quickly as possible. But it’s not quite that simple, and comparing technologies based on the time it takes to process X terabytes of data does not give you a complete picture. There are two additional factors to consider:
- How the data is transformed (or not) during processing
- How quickly you can start analyzing the data
When assessing a solution’s speed, you need to understand what happens during the data load process. Some systems simply index the data which, given sufficient processing power, can be done relatively quickly. Other systems, however, transform the data by “flattening it out” (i.e., separating complex data packages, such as nested email threads with attachments) and creating a database of the individual documents and their attributes as well as a fully searchable index. So when comparing solutions based on speed, make sure you understand exactly what is happening during the loading process as you could be adding additional steps to your process.
Another important element of speed is how quickly you can begin analyzing the data. Some solutions do not allow you to generate reports during data upload – you must wait until the entire process is complete. A system that allows you to generate reports early and often during processing increases the speed with which you can begin evaluating the data and gaining insights about your case.
Factors that Drive the Direction of the Case
Beyond speed, you need to ensure that your discovery solution provides you with early intelligence to effectively make decisions about and plan your case. To do this, you need to be able to transform discovery from a one-directional process into an iterative cycle. This gives you increased insight to help you improve keyword strategies, custodian interviews, filtering effectiveness and more, and enables you to increase the efficiency and completeness of the overall discovery process.
Craft More Effective Keyword Strategies
Your keyword strategy is an important component of the discovery process. Too often, however, discovery teams begin by “brainstorming” the list of likely keywords. A better approach is to investigate your data early to identify key facts and use that insight to craft your keywords.
Improve the Effectiveness of Custodian Interviews
One problem with custodian interviews is that interviewees –whether they are bad actors or not – tend to provide answers that are either self-serving or provide the information they believe you want to hear. Early data intelligence can help you determine potential bad actors and provide you with facts to help you navigate custodian interviews more effectively.
Filter to Prioritize Data
Filtering can be extremely useful and, in many cases, is a requirement. But today, filtering tends to be used to target “relevant” data. To be more effective, perform investigations prior to linear review on sample sets of data to prioritize the documents that need to be looked at.
Transfer Data Seamlessly into Your Review Platform
Getting data into your processing solution quickly is critical; getting the data into the hands of your review team quickly is equally important. Enabling seamless transfer of all the work product into the review system can help in developing a shared understanding and maximize the efficiency of the review process.
Don’t Just Automate – Transform
Technology has contributed to the explosion of discoverable documents. And technology is necessary to manage today’s data volumes. Automating processes helps increase the speed of discovery. But in order to increase velocity, your technology needs to transform the discovery process – by delivering new capabilities to quickly and iteratively uncover key insights about your case.