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E-Discovery Partnerships Go For Gold

Vendors are teaming up to tackle e-discovery -- and rake in cash.

Vendors are teaming up to tackle e-discovery -- and rake in cash.In an otherwise grim economy, the e-discovery market may be a recession-proof industry for technology vendors. Lawsuits don't stop just because the economy is bad -- in fact, they may even increase. So companies continue to invest in technologies to help streamline the discovery process.

"A lot of IT spending is being curtailed," says Stephen Ludlow, program manager for eDiscovery solutions at Open Text. "In the area of e-discovery and information management where you can demonstrate hard dollar ROI, spending isn't being cut."

It's no surprise vendors are looking for ways to cut a piece of the e-discovery pie for themselves. Enterprise content management vendor Open Text is now selling e-discovery software from Recommind under its own brand. And CommVault is teaming up with Case Central to cross-sell their archiving and e-discovery analysis products.

Open Text announced a deal to rebrand and resell Recommind's Insite software under an Open Text brand, called Early Case Assessment (ECA). The software lets IT and inside counsel perform several key steps of the e-discovery process, including collection, preservation, legal holds, culling, and early-stage analysis.

While the deal is labeled a partnership, it's my impression that Recommind holds the whip hand. For one, the partnership isn't exclusive, leaving a clear path for Recommind to enter similar deals.

For another, it seems to me that Open Text needs Recommind more than the other way around. On a conference call with both companies, I asked if the partnership would open more doors for Open Text than Recommind. There was some embarrassed throat-clearing. "It will allow us to compete more effectively in the marketplace than we could've without it," said Ludlow.

I agree. ECM vendors are working hard to make their products relevant to the e-discovery market. For instance, EMC partners with StoredIQ, which makes e-discovery collection software. CA's Records Manager R12 includes the ability to apply legal holds to content in third-party repositories. IBM offers a software layer, called eDiscovery Manager that can sit on top of its ECM suites to provide search, legal hold, and export capabilities. And HP touts the integration of its TRIM records management software with its Integrated Archive Platform storage system for managing compliance and e-discovery in the enterprise.

Ludlow said Open Text has more integration plans with Recommind, including taking content that's been gathered for a case and locking it down inside an Open Text archive.

Also this week, CommVault and Case Central announced an alliance to cross-sell each other's products. CommVault sells Simpana, an e-mail and file archive that can be used to store and search for information relevant to a legal matter or other investigation. Case Central offers software for lawyers to analyze and review information, and produce it to opposing counsel and the court.

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