Posted on: November 05, 2015in Blog
Managed Services for the Masses
This article was originally published by Legaltech News.
Managed service arrangements provide tailored eDiscovery services to firms of all sizes with a predictable cost model.
There is a common misconception in the legal industry that eDiscovery managed services are only a feasible option for larger law firms and corporations. This is likely due to the fact that the most popular managed services models are comprehensive packages with the option to include everything the service provider has to offer. While managed services can be an all-inclusive package where the service provider operates as the law firm's external eDiscovery department, they can also be as simple as renting software licenses by the "seat" with a set amount of storage to start.
The Technology Advantage
Tight timelines and the volume of data in even the smallest matters require solutions that speed the discovery process and minimize the total time to review. Coupling document review with advanced analytics, such as email threading, near-duplication, conceptual analysis, and predictive coding can dramatically improve review time and consistency. However, implementing these tools (often from several different software developers) is costly, and the investment does not come without risk of the technology becoming outdated.
Advances in natural language processing, communication analysis, audio review, and social media analysis are showing up in new and updated solutions. Managed service providers act as a buffer, offering guidance and proof-of-concept testing to make sure the technology is the right fit before there is a significant outlay of resources.
Managed services delivered via subscription, software as a service (SaaS), or infrastructure as a service (IaaS) models allow customers to add or remove resources as needed. For example, you can add more data processing workers for a quick-turn second request, or use predictive coding to accelerate the review process.
"Supplementing internal litigation support teams with application specialists through a managed service arrangement can pay huge dividends."
In these models, the burden of software licensing and infrastructure typically fall on the shoulders of the managed service provider who has economies of scale, which can be passed on to the customer.
Having the right support is critical, and it becomes much easier in a managed service arrangement. All of this technology requires a lot of care. If you've ever looked at the system or architecture requirements for the latest and greatest software, it can be daunting. These solutions require infrastructure and IT teams with expertise in virtualization, storage management, database administration, scripting, and software development.
There are few firms, and even fewer in-house legal departments, that have all of these skills on staff. Law firms are supposed to practice law, not be infrastructure support experts.
Supplementing internal litigation support teams with application specialists through a managed service arrangement can pay huge dividends.
Managed service models also help firms and corporations tackle the complex international landscape. The requirement to quickly deploy infrastructure and support resources within specific regions will become more common. The emergence, and more importantly, the acceptance of cloud-based services enables firms and corporations to have access to the right technology for the right matter, in the right place; and to scale as needed without over committing resources.
Leveraging service providers with these capabilities can ease these global challenges.
Effective managed service arrangements create a predictable cost structure that is far better than the traditional, transaction-based eDiscovery billing model. Cost recovery for the firm becomes much simpler, and client relationships are enhanced with the ability to manage budgets and matters more effectively.
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