Technical expertise and market-leading technology are vital, but these things only deliver real value if they come from an eDiscovery provider with your best interests at heart. Read on to learn six key qualities of a vendor you can trust.
As the scope of electronically stored information has exploded, so too has the number of service providers venturing into the field of eDiscovery.
For legal partners who are consistently in need of additional resources and support (which, if we’re frank, is the majority), choosing the right eDiscovery provider is a business-critical decision.
But with the best practices, leading technologies and regulatory landscape of litigation in a state of seemingly constant flux, this decision is becoming increasingly complex.
You need an eDiscovery provider that you can trust – an organisation that acts as an extension of your own team, and is just as invested in your success, with the right expertise and cutting-edge technologyto give you a competitive edge. In short, you need a partner, not a passenger.
Making the effort to methodically assess your service provider before signing on any dotted lines will quickly pay dividends in terms of the benefits alone.
Quality of client experience, operational effectiveness and cost predictability are all factors that can skyrocket or plummet depending on the calibre of your eDiscovery provider and the working relationship you have with them.
Here are six qualities to determine whether you’re dealing with an eDiscovery provider you can trust.
1. Tailored solutions
There is no one-size-fits-all eDiscovery solution, so if it seems like a prospective provider is uniformly shoehorning their clients into one single, rigid workflow, then look elsewhere.
The ideal service provider will take the time to be meticulous and achieve a thorough understanding of the unique needs and priorities of your team, before shaping end-to-end solutions around them.
As many of you reading this will likely know from experience, as cases progress, those gigabytes of documents to sift through can become terabytes in a matter of days. That’s why the ability to responsively scale up (and down) as appropriate is of paramount importance if you want to remain productive and keep costs under control.
An eDiscovery provider worth investing in should have the technological capability and infrastructure to accommodate sudden expansions in the scope of a given case – that means being able to handle an influx of additional users, as well as the capacity to process a surge of data and documentation without seeing any significant slump in productivity.
3. Connections with recognised software providers
Does the provider you are considering have established partnerships with software providers that are known across the industry? Or do they use a proprietary in-house solution?
While the latter is by no means a problem in of itself, there is something to be said for a vendor that has a working relationship with a reputable technology provider – namely because that provider has a vested interest in preserving the credibility and reputation of their own brand. This means that like you, they want to partner with reliable eDiscovery providers.
In addition to the elements of implied trust and credibility, partnerships with leading eDiscovery platforms tend to come with added perks for those times of need, such as access to superior data hosting capabilities and enhanced technical support.
4: Strong retention rate
A large client base and annual turnover are factors that, while impressive, are more indicative of a strong sales team than anything else.
If you want to determine whether a prospective eDiscovery provider can be trusted, look into how they fare in terms of repeat business and customer retention.
Consistent churn is a cause for concern – this principle applies to your provider’s own team, as well as their clients.
5. A proven track record of success
Further to the above point, dig a bit deeper to determine whether or not the organisation you are considering has a history of delivering projects on time and within budget.
Look for client testimonials on their website, and then investigate how long that client has been with them for. Don’t forget to also scour Google reviews and any relevant industry forums.
And of course, there is always the invaluable method of reaching out directly to both their current and former clients and asking them for an honest account of their experience as a customer.
6. Rapid response times
What unit of measurement is your desired provider using to describe their response times? General hint: it should be in minutes, not hours or days.
With case data and costs capable of spiralling out of control so quickly in the world of eDiscovery, every second counts. You need a provider that can be on hand to support you the very instant you need them, and that works on a basis of centring their support around your needs. For real emergencies, you need a team of support staff at your beck and call, not just one arbitrarily designated executive.
Also, keep a close eye on how they structure the pricing of their technical support. Ideally, you at least want the majority of this to be factored into the contract, as a perk of a subscription-based model. Paying for support on an “as and when” basis can quickly lead to astronomical invoicing figures.
Once you’ve secured a healthy relationship with a trustworthy partner, it’s time to devise a winning growth strategy. Learn more in our next piece, Digital Justice.