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By Brooks Thompson

Published on Tue, November 19, 2019

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In a world of ever-increasing and evolving self-service models (think Amazon Go, fast food self-order kiosks, or even the self-service check in and check out at hotels), it’s no wonder the ediscovery industry is headed in the same direction. In the last few years, new and improved SaaS ediscovery tools have exploded onto the scene as corporations and law firms have started to embrace a self-service approach for executing the discovery work associated with both internal investigations and proper legal matters.

As the historically risk-averse legal world has been slow to get on board with self-service ediscovery models, you’re likely to still encounter objections if you ask your team to take the leap and invest in a self-service ediscovery tool. Below, I outline the common objections I have encountered to self-service models and how you can overcome them by sharing some key value differentiators of on-demand ediscovery tools that should persuade your team to embrace these new offerings and leave the antiquated, expensive on-prem solutions for good.

Overcoming  Top Objections for Moving to a Self-Service eDiscovery Model

Data Security Risks – The first, and potentially biggest, objection to the adoption of a self-service program often centers on concerns over data security and the associated risk. Corporations and law firms alike are concerned that self-service means cloud-based and as a result a lack of security and an increased exposure to risk. Historically, companies have been more comfortable with on-prem ediscovery solutions because they have viewed that as meaning that they had complete control of their data without having to rely on a vendor or worry about their data being commingled with other clients’ data.

However, with that control comes with a lot of risk, which can be greatly minimized by having a SaaS vendor that offers a private cloud. This private cloud can be a perfect solution because they do not have the same security concerns that are involved with the public cloud. When vetting potential SaaS partners, make sure to look for those that carry SOC 2, ISO, and HIPAA security certifications to ensure that your providers are staying up to speed on the latest security requirements.

Steep Learning Curves – Oftentimes people I chat with will associate self-service with steep learning curves and lots of tedious training. This isn’t always the case.

Although this may be true with some self-service solutions, but it’s important to note that not all platforms are created equal. Some solutions provide extensive functionality with a complex, hard to use, difficult to understand interface, while others strive to provide a simple interface often at the expense of functionality, while a rare few bridge the two finding that perfect blend of robust functionality and ease of use. Start the assessment into usability by understanding the true training required for the solutions you are evaluating, weigh the functionality vs. your team’s needs and skillset, talk to other users who have already adopted the solutions to validate the actual training lift, and finally showcase those findings with your team.

Lack of Support – A common objection to self-service solutions is that they lack on-demand support and access to additional training and help if needed. Today’s lawyers and ediscovery managers need to move through matters quickly and efficiently, and without access to readily-available help it frequently stalls the matter’s progress significantly.  

When looking into self-service solutions, choose one that offers on-demand support when, where, and how you need it. There are companies out there that offer this blend of autonomous control and augmented support and it is an easy objection to overcome if you can showcase that to your team.  

Minimal Flexibility – Frequently there is a hesitation to move forward with self-service due to the fear of getting stuck managing a matter in a self-service tool that could become large and/or complex and require additional help/support outside of your team’s capabilities or availability.

Like I mentioned above, select a tool that also offers expert support. You can ease your team members’ worries by sharing that some self-service tools offer the ability to move from self-service to full service support when needed and scale up or down quickly.

Too Pricey – The last major objection that I want to address is around the fact that many still believe self-service tools are too pricey and do not offer the ROI they need to see in order to make the switch.

However, in an on-prem, behind the firewall model, there often are large up-front costs to purchase and install the technology as well as continued maintenance costs during the life of the product. In addition to the hardware costs there is the increased headcount necessary to support these platforms 24x7. With SaaS, the vendor purchases and maintains the software, as well as manages ongoing costs like upgrades and licensing. Managing an IT infrastructure and maintaining servers for ediscovery data is a big cost for law firms and corporations often with no cost recovery mechanism. This cost burden can be greatly minimized with a SaaS solution.

These top objections often come up in conversations around the adoption of a new self-service solution and I hope this blog has better prepared you to address them as you work to get your team on board. Feel free to reach out to further discuss these or other objections you may be facing at bthompson@lighthouseglobal.com.

About the Author
Brooks Thompson

Director, Spectra and MSTSS Solutions

Brooks is an ediscovery professional with over a decade of experience in the industry holding roles in account and project management as well as a leader of client and product teams. He specializes in designing and implementing cost-efficient, automated ediscovery workflows and products for enterprise clients. In his current role, Brooks directs Spectra support, marketing, development, pricing, and sales in the US and EU. Brooks has a B.A. from the University of Washington.