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Managed Services – Sniffing Out the Good from the Bad

Are you tired of inconsistent and costly eDiscovery processes?

Discovery Managed Services, "DMS," is on the radar of many corporations and law firms, and for a good reason.

An effective DMS strategy can reduce the cost of eDiscovery by as much as 80% over a per-project basis.

How is that possible? Having software that manages and delivers discovery-related processing and review will reduce your costs. In many cases, the return on that investment is within the 1st year. Years 2 and 3 are where the actual cost savings come into play and where the 80% reduction in spending can be seen.

You now have the software. But, if you don't deploy and manage an effective workflow, you will miss the mark on your investment and dilute cost savings from the software acquisition you just made. How do you keep this from happening?

For years eDiscovery services have primarily been utilized per project. The challenge with a "per project" approach is the lack of consistency in deliverables. Each law firm and corporation has different workflows and requirements unique to their discovery needs. A vendor is limited in offering a single, high-quality, cost-effective process when every client and project is different.

This is where DMS comes into play.

"Managed Services" simply uses EDRM-associated standards in processes, technology, and people to establish an effective, repeatable business process to support discovery needs. If you have the software AND the process to manage your workflow, you are headed in the right direction.

The benefits associated with the right DMS strategy are vast. Certainly, cost savings are a huge incentive, but you gain operational expertise and proven workflows by having an identified business process. You can develop best practices and scale to the peaks and valleys all too often associated with eDiscovery.

Many say they do it, but few do it well.

Managed Services can take on many different forms, but all variations share these common principles:

Process: Standardization of workflows

  • Technology: The client acquires or rents usage from their vendor

  • People: Shared or committed

These principles establish a set of standards that support the variations from case to case and leverage the knowledge learned to drive efficiency across the process. The most significant standard supported by these principles is quality. A defined quality process achieves consistency. And quantitative measurements made along the way will mark success or identify where improvements need to be made.

What does this all mean? Knowing your business and understanding what solutions you need are critical to your success and reaching that 80% reduction in cost savings.

So, how does a corporation or law firm sniff out the good from the bad?

Here are a few tips:

Process – Repeatable workflows drive efficiency and quality.

1. A defined workflow is a must; work with your provider and review the process manual for both operations and project management.

2. Ask the right questions. What is the quality process? What is the escalation process?

3. Ensure your process is legally defensible.

Technology – Acquiring technology will drive the highest return on Investment (ROI).

1. Stay with market-leading technology and hire an outside consultant to evaluate. Engage your IT resources in the evaluation process.

2. Do not acquire based on per GB licensing, and If your provider is hosting your technology, ensure they have a SAS (Statement of Auditing Standards) 70 or SSAE-16 compliant data center.

3. Validate your vendor's Disaster Recovery plan, and review annual penetration audit reports.

People – Whether shared or dedicated, the right resource for your team is crucial.

1. Interview the key individuals.

2. Question how they manage escalations.

3. Test their knowledge of the quality process.

Perform due diligence and create the DMS environment that is best suited for you.

With the right DMS model in place, a bad decision is hard to make.

Greg Duke consults with legal service providers, software firms, law firms, and corporations to develop effective Discovery Management Solutions that meet the needs of your organization.


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