It’s time for the Spring 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey, published (as always) on Rob Robinson’s terrific Complex Discovery site. Where does the confidence of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem stand when compared to previous surveys? Let’s see.
As always, Rob provides a complete breakdown of the latest survey results, which you can check out here. I’ve covered every quarterly survey since its inception, which is now in its eighth year! Three years ago, I covered the Spring 2020 survey on the inaugural day of eDiscovery Today, so it’s only fitting that I’m doing so again on our third anniversary!
While I’m continuing to look at all surveys conducted to look at trends over time, I’m displaying a rolling three years’ data for clarity as the entire history of more than seven years makes for a very crowded graph.
The Spring 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey response period was initiated on March 25, 2023, and continued until April 14, 2023. This quarter’s survey experienced a strong response rate with 75 eDiscovery professionals sharing their opinions on the business of eDiscovery. So, let’s get into it!
Law Firms at the Top Again: Law Firm respondents were the leading group again this time with 36.0% (5.1% above the lifetime average), the second time in a row where law firms led. Software and/or Services Provider respondents were second at 33.3% (1.9% below the lifetime average, but way up from last quarter). Consultancy was third at 10.7% (5.8% below the 16.5% lifetime average). If you count law firms as providers (they’re technically both providers and consumers), providers account for 80.0% of total respondents (a rebound from the last two low quarters). Corporation respondents were fifth at 8.0%, 0.2% lower than the lifetime average of 8.2%. Here’s a graphical representation of the trend over the last twelve surveys:
So, how confident is a law firm influenced group of respondents in eDiscovery business confidence in the Spring 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey? See below.
Current Business is Looking Up: After seeing a massive 19.1-point drop off last quarter, respondents that considered business to be good rebounded to 57.3% (4.1% above the lifetime average). 36.0% of respondents consider business to be normal (1.7% below the lifetime average), leaving 6.7% of respondents that rated business conditions as bad (2.4% below the lifetime average of 9.1%). Here is the trend over the last twelve surveys:
So, do respondents in the Winter 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey expect business to continue to rise in six months? See below.
Optimism is Returning, Slowly but Surely: Most respondents (96.0%) expect business conditions will be in their segment to be the same or better six months from now, but only 34.7% expect business to be better (still an improvement over last quarter) while 61.3% expect it to be the same. For expected revenues, the number of respondents that expected the same or better on revenues was higher than last quarter at 92.0%, with a rebound of 15.7% for those expecting higher revenues (48.0% compared to 32.3% last quarter). As for profits, respondents expecting higher profits rose 16.9% to 40.0% (which is 0.5% higher than the lifetime average of 39.5%), while almost half of respondents (48.0%) expected flat profits and 12.0% expected lower profits (0.6% lower than the average). Here is the profits trend over the last twelve surveys:
Will the optimistic vibes continue next quarter? We’ll see.
Type This!: Increasing Types of Data regained the top spot at 33.3%, which is a whopping 14.1% above the lifetime average of 19.2% and the fourth time in five quarters at the top spot. Budgetary Constraints dropped back to second with 21.3% (5.0% lower than the lifetime average). Increasing Volumes of Data was third with 16.0% (4.6% below the lifetime average). Data Security (0.9% above lifetime average) and Lack of Personnel (0.7% below lifetime average) tied for fourth at 13.3% and Inadequate Technology fell back to sole possession of last place at 2.7% (4.7% lower than the lifetime average of 7.4% and the second lowest ever). The graph below illustrates the distribution over the last twelve surveys:
Does the consistent top ranking of Increasing Types of Data illustrate that we’re all scrambling to manage so many data types today? It sure seems that way, especially based on this infographic!
Return to Form: Executive Leadership respondents returned to the top spot (after one quarter at the bottom) at 44.0% (4.8% higher than average). Operational Management tied for second at 28.0% (4.5% below the lifetime average of 32.5%) with Tactical Execution, which was 0.3% below the lifetime average of 28.3%). Here’s the breakdown over the last twelve surveys:
In short, the Spring 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey reflects a significant rebound in sentiment from a law firm/executive management influenced group. Can we keep it up? Check back here next quarter!
Again, Rob has published the results for the Spring 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey on his site here, which shows responses to additional questions not referenced here. Check them out.
So, what do you think? Are you optimistic about eDiscovery business? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.