Robertson said software companies have to stay in close contact with their users to know what isn't working or what they like better on other software. KCura conducts a few detailed interviews a week with clients to that end and has also created an online community forum on its website for users to vote on ideas the company is considering implementing.
Relativity is offered on a subscription basis. Firms can purchase a three-year subscription and, if kCura doesn't do a good enough job of keeping the software relevant, firms can choose not to renew for another three-year term, Robertson said.
It's both the law firms and law departments that are forcing software developers to "bend the price model," Carpenter said.
Corporations may have a good handle on how many matters they average a year, but one thing that continues to go up is the amount of data involved. Carpenter said the prices in the marketplace aren't coming down fast enough to keep up with the increase in the terabytes of data corporations are dealing with.
Vendors have talked about moving to subscription rates for years, Carpenter said, though he noted Recommind never had until just this summer when it launched Axcelerate Unlimited. Carpenter said the product is geared more toward corporate clients who aren't concerned with how much volume they may have to process, but rather just need a set price they can rely on for budgeting purposes.
In the last year or so, law firms and corporations have seemed to gain a better understanding of their annual e-discovery needs and are more willing to sign onto a software deal, particularly when it is a subscription and not an outright purchase, Carpenter said.
He said Recommind can sign multiyear deals with large corporations with a discount built in for the second or third years. The company also allows for the parties to sit down after year one and determine whether the volume is there to warrant the subscription rate as it was initially structured and tweak it if need be, Carpenter said.
There's no one-size-fits-all, Carpenter noted.
That seems to be true of the technology, the pricing packages and the end users when it comes to how the legal industry is combatting the ever-growing layer of litigation that is e-discovery.