Inside Scoop: Why eDiscovery Software Is Hard to Design

27 June 2021 by UV eDiscovery

Takeaway: eDiscovery software developers have 4 problems to solve: (1) Where to store customer data? (2) What document review technology to use? (3) How to make easy-to-use software? (4) Choosing a fair pricing scheme. At GoldFynch, we solved these problems by focusing on our customers’ needs, and not what was easiest to design.

There are dozens of eDiscovery applications on the market, but not all of them have a clear enough goal.

eDiscovery software is so much easier to develop now, compared to a decade ago. And that means the market is flooded with seemingly viable eDiscovery applications. But what most developers don’t do is keep a specific type of customer in mind when designing software. So they throw in a random mix of features with no clear strategy. And while they mean well, trying to help everybody means you often end up helping nobody.

This is understandable, though, because eDiscovery developers have key problems to solve. And it’s pretty hard to solve them.

We know how difficult it is to design software because we’ve done it. And when we started our journey, we had four key problems to solve.

Problem 1: Where do we store our customers’ data?*

With eDiscovery, you’re dealing with massive amounts of digital data – hundreds/thousands of documents, spreadsheets, emails, etc. Not to mention all the paper documents you scan and upload. So we had to figure out where to store all this data. Traditionally, there have been two options. The first involves storing data on our customers’ servers (i.e., on-premises hosting). Customers love this because the data never leaves their firm, but it complicates eDiscovery since they’ll often need new hardware and software. Plus, they’ll have to service the new setup, troubleshoot technical issues as they arise, and install reliable digital security to protect against viruses, malware, theft, etc. We also thought of another option: Storing their data on our servers. But this would still end up being very expensive for them because private ‘server farms’ cost a lot to run.

Problem 2: What technology should we use for document review?

Your software is only as good as its search engine, and these can be quite difficult to design. Searching for a single keyword is relatively easy – for example, searching emails for the keyword ‘Jenny,’ to find emails that custodian Jenny sent. But what if we wanted something more specific? Perhaps, all the emails Jenny sent to John about a particular Pfizer meeting last year? So we knew we’d have to use Boolean operators (e.g., AND, OR, NOT) to start connecting keywords (in this example, ‘Jenny,’ ‘John,’ and ‘Pfizer’). And to search for date ranges, we’d need to include metadata in the search. Learn more about advanced searches.

Problem 3: Making the software easy to use

There’s so much work that happens behind the scenes but that’s not our customers’ problem. What they need is software that’s easy to use. They don’t want to have to spend hours studying a user manual, and they don’t want to have to learn new skills just to use one piece of software.

So we knew we’d have to keep this in mind when working on the back-end. This is harder than you’d think because what’s best for our customers isn’t always what’s easiest for a developer.

Problem 4: Finding a fair pricing scheme

The next major challenge was finding a pricing scheme that made sense. Traditionally, there have been two types of eDiscovery pricing. With the first type of pricing system, you pay for storage space. (I.e., you’ll pay for 3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB, etc., of storage, depending on how much data you have.) This works out best for customers because once they choose a plan, they know exactly how much their monthly bill will be. With the second type of pricing system, you pay for uploading data. Here, it doesn’t matter how much storage space you need. What matters is how much data you upload. This works out best for us developers (since a lot of work goes into ‘processing’ data), but it’s not ideal for customers. That’s because when you have to pay for each file you upload, you’ll be much more conscious of uploading and/or replacing files. So, processing fees get in the way of the flow of eDiscovery.

At GoldFynch, we knew we had to design our eDiscovery software to solve these 4 problems. And that gave us a clear focus.

Once we decided we wanted to specifically help small and midsize law firms, we began brainstorming solutions to the above 4 problems. And here’s what we came up with.

  1. We shifted our software and data into the Cloud. This means you can access it from anywhere, 24/7. And it cut costs dramatically. With GoldFynch, you pay just $27 for a 3 GB case – that’s significantly less than most comparable software.
  2. We crafted a powerful search tool. With our search engine, you can create even the most advanced searches using a simple drop-down tool to combine keywords and metadata. Also, you can save searches and reuse them later. Plus, we added other essential features like tagging and redacting to help with eDiscovery review.
  3. We made it easy to use. You can get going in minutes with GoldFynch. Since it’s in the Cloud, you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card. And you’ll learn how to use the software in minutes with our minimal and intuitive interface. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
  4. We simplified the pricing plan. Choose your plan using a simple sliding scale.. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?