two businessmen joining puzzle pieces together, as they stand over buildings --- Image by © Images.com/Corbis
two businessmen joining puzzle pieces together, as they stand over buildings — Image by © Images.com/Corbis ()

The ever changing and increasingly complex nature of e-discovery – punctuated by a turbulent 2016 which included Brexit, the Panama Papers scandal, and an unpredictable US presidential election cycle – continues to make it difficult for companies to navigate this aspect of the legal landscape.

As we head into the New Year, here are five trends that should be on your radar for e-discovery in 2017:

1. E-discovery is going mainstream: Given their size and expense, e-discovery issues have almost always been top of mind for parties involved in litigation. The rise of big data means the e-discovery issues professionals have dealt with for years, such as of cost, security and transparency, are now increasingly newsworthy. The importance of sifting through data to find relevance is now a challenge that governments and businesses must deal with constantly. Thus, expect e-discovery-related issues to continue making front page headlines in 2017.

2. Business social is here to stay: In the past, company intranets were often poorly designed and went largely unused. However, the rise of platforms like Slack, Hipchat and Microsoft Teams means that business has truly gone social – and consequently, mobile. Now employees have well-designed, interactive tools that help them work more efficiently, which means these tools are actually being used – and often. In 2017, it’s essential that those in the e-discovery industry think about data collection from both a personal and business social perspective.

3. …which means data privacy is now more important than ever: There will continue to be regional differences over how data security and privacy are handled. In terms of data privacy, the division between the consumer and the organization is becoming increasingly blurred, but nonetheless remains a global concern. Businesses want smart thinking within their organizations to be accessible to everyone while individuals prioritize the safety of their data above all else. In 2017, we’ll have to give increasing thought to the separation between the individual vs. the company and what that means for e-discovery.

4. Expect the machine learning conversation to shift: Up until machine learning became the “it” trend in e-discovery, “predictive coding” was the de-facto buzzword. While both continue to be discussed talked about as the industry evolves, it’s worth nothing that predictive coding is used in fewer than 1 percent of total e-discovery cases. Meanwhile, machine learning encompasses a broader category of tools often overshadowed – including emailing threading and clustering. In 2017, expect machine learning to be the gateway to talking about these tools in more detail.

5. Cross-border compliance will continue shaping e-discovery: The dust hasn’t settled on this issue – especially given considerations like Brexit – and it’s continuing to shape e-discovery in a few key ways. Given e-discovery’s global nature, scalability is critical to proper data handling and a factor in each country’s respective discovery requirements. Because these requirements are often tailor-made for the likes of huge corporations such as Microsoft and Facebook managing data silently on their servers, this means that we’ll continue to see more consolidation in the e-discovery space given the need for more scalable solutions.

The ever changing and increasingly complex nature of e-discovery – punctuated by a turbulent 2016 which included Brexit, the Panama Papers scandal, and an unpredictable US presidential election cycle – continues to make it difficult for companies to navigate this aspect of the legal landscape.

As we head into the New Year, here are five trends that should be on your radar for e-discovery in 2017:

1. E-discovery is going mainstream: Given their size and expense, e-discovery issues have almost always been top of mind for parties involved in litigation. The rise of big data means the e-discovery issues professionals have dealt with for years, such as of cost, security and transparency, are now increasingly newsworthy. The importance of sifting through data to find relevance is now a challenge that governments and businesses must deal with constantly. Thus, expect e-discovery-related issues to continue making front page headlines in 2017.

2. Business social is here to stay: In the past, company intranets were often poorly designed and went largely unused. However, the rise of platforms like Slack, Hipchat and Microsoft Teams means that business has truly gone social – and consequently, mobile. Now employees have well-designed, interactive tools that help them work more efficiently, which means these tools are actually being used – and often. In 2017, it’s essential that those in the e-discovery industry think about data collection from both a personal and business social perspective.

3. …which means data privacy is now more important than ever: There will continue to be regional differences over how data security and privacy are handled. In terms of data privacy, the division between the consumer and the organization is becoming increasingly blurred, but nonetheless remains a global concern. Businesses want smart thinking within their organizations to be accessible to everyone while individuals prioritize the safety of their data above all else. In 2017, we’ll have to give increasing thought to the separation between the individual vs. the company and what that means for e-discovery.

4. Expect the machine learning conversation to shift: Up until machine learning became the “it” trend in e-discovery, “predictive coding” was the de-facto buzzword. While both continue to be discussed talked about as the industry evolves, it’s worth nothing that predictive coding is used in fewer than 1 percent of total e-discovery cases. Meanwhile, machine learning encompasses a broader category of tools often overshadowed – including emailing threading and clustering. In 2017, expect machine learning to be the gateway to talking about these tools in more detail.

5. Cross-border compliance will continue shaping e-discovery: The dust hasn’t settled on this issue – especially given considerations like Brexit – and it’s continuing to shape e-discovery in a few key ways. Given e-discovery’s global nature, scalability is critical to proper data handling and a factor in each country’s respective discovery requirements. Because these requirements are often tailor-made for the likes of huge corporations such as Microsoft and Facebook managing data silently on their servers, this means that we’ll continue to see more consolidation in the e-discovery space given the need for more scalable solutions.