It’s time for the Summer 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!
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. Also, I should note that Rob reported results with two decimals this quarter instead of the traditional single decimal (my reporting of the results are rounded to one decimal for consistency with previous quarters).
The Summer 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey response period was initiated on June 22, 2023, and continued until July 15, 2023. This quarter’s survey experienced a strong response rate with 71 eDiscovery professionals sharing their opinions on the business of eDiscovery. So, let’s get into it!
Providers Return to The Top: Software and/or Services Provider respondents were the sole leading group for the first time since last summer with 35.2% (exactly the lifetime average). Law Firm respondents fell back to second at 29.6% (1.3% below the lifetime average). Consultancy was third at 15.5% (1.0% below the 16.5% lifetime average). If you count law firms as providers (they’re technically both providers and consumers), providers account for 80.3% of total respondents (virtually the same as last quarter). Corporation respondents were fifth at 9.9%, 1.6% higher than the lifetime average of 8.3%. Here’s a graphical representation of the trend over the last twelve surveys:
So, how confident is a provider influenced group of respondents in eDiscovery business confidence in the Summer 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey? See below.
Current Business is Somewhat Flat: After a big rebound last quarter, respondents that considered business to be good slid back to 50.7% (2.4% below the lifetime average and the second lowest number since Winter 2021). 46.5% of respondents consider business to be normal (8.5% above the lifetime average). One bit of good news: only 2.8% of respondents rated business conditions as bad (6.1% below the lifetime average of 8.9% and the lowest ever). Here is the trend over the last twelve surveys:
So, do respondents in the Summer 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey expect business to rise in six months? See below.
Optimism Abounds – Or Does It?: For the first time ever, all respondents (100.0%) expect business conditions will be in their segment to be the same or better six months from now, with 54.9% expecting business to be better (more than a 20-point jump over last quarter) while 45.1% expect it to be the same. For expected revenues, the number of respondents that expected the same or better for revenues was higher than last quarter at 94.4%, though those expecting higher revenues slipped a bit (43.7% compared to 48.0% last quarter). As for profits, respondents expecting higher profits fell 4.8% to 35.2% (which is 4.2% lower than the lifetime average of 39.4%), while more than half of respondents (56.3%) expected flat profits and 8.5% expected lower profits (4.0% lower than the average). Here is the profits trend over the last twelve surveys:
Will the somewhat optimistic vibes lead to more business? We’ll see.
Typecasting!: Increasing Types of Data continued at the top spot with a record 36.5%, which is a whopping 16.8% above the lifetime average of 19.8% and the seventh time in eight quarters at (or tied) for top spot. Budgetary Constraints remained at second with 19.7% (6.4% lower than the lifetime average). Increasing Volumes of Data was third with 18.3% (2.2% below the lifetime average). Lack of Personnel was fourth at 11.3% (2.6% below the lifetime average), Data Security was fifth at 9.9% (2.4% below the lifetime average) and Inadequate Technology remained in its customary position of last place at 4.2% (3.1% lower than the lifetime average of 7.3%). 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!
Executives Lead, Slightly: Executive Leadership respondents remained at the top spot at 38.0% (1.2% below average). Once again, Operational Management tied for second, this time at 31.0% (1.4% below the lifetime average of 32.4%) with Tactical Execution, which was 2.6% above the lifetime average of 28.4%). Here’s the breakdown over the last twelve surveys:
In short, while this summer may be the hottest ever on record, the Summer 2023 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey reflects optimism from a provider influenced group, if not as much as last quarter. What will happen next quarter? Check back here!
Again, Rob has published the results for the Summer 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.