On June 29th Unify Corporation announced its merger with ediscovery service and solution provider Daegis, and its intention to integrate the AXS-One Central Archiving solution, acquired by Unify in 2009, with DocHunter 6 - the application and technological backbone for Daegis. The combined products, which will be marketed under the Daegis brand, combine a scalable, proven archiving solution with “advanced” functionality for data collection, assessment and culling, processing, review, and production.
“This merger addresses the future of the industry and opens up a world of possibilities by expanding our platform across the EDRM and into information governance and archiving,” said Kurt Jensen, CEO of Daegis. “We will be able to apply our expert driven search model, led by our eDiscovery Analytics Consulting team, at the onset of the litigation lifecycle. Our unique combination of technology and human expertise will help organizations proactively manage their data through an iterative, interactive and defensible process.” As a result of the merger, Jensen becomes the second largest Unify shareholder, EVP and COO.
According to CEO Todd Wille, “The combination of Unify's archive repository and Daegis' eDiscovery services and technology will facilitate a new level of data management and cost savings for corporate legal departments and law firms. Clients can strategically manage their data within the firewall and, by leveraging Daegis' eDiscovery Analytics Consulting (eDAC), benefit from intelligent selection of responsive data early in the process. The integration of technologies will enable the preservation and repurposing of valuable attorney work product across multiple matters.”
Why Merge Archiving and Ediscovery?
The uncontained and rapid growth of email and other forms of electronically stored information (ESI) and evolving retention requirements are driving the need for scalable, trusted, archiving solutions. At the same time, a steep rise in regulatory and litigation activities has dramatically increased workloads for corporate compliance and legal departments, fueling their desire for technology-enabled services and solutions that reduce risks and costs.
The most expensive component of the ESI management and discovery process is in the collection, assessment, and culling of unstructured data, which includes documents, emails and other forms of messaging, images, video, and voice mail. The Daegis Central Archive obviates the need to search across multiple repositories or create additional event-driven data-stores and can scale to more than 1 billion objects while supporting 20,000 plus mailboxes with no perceptible impact on performance. The ability for DocHunter to access this archive directly is a huge advantage for customers.
The Daegis solution provides customers with a “continuous analytics” capability which refers to the ability to do intelligent selection and searching throughout the EDRM spectrum not just within the analysis phase. Corporations can leverage knowledge about the data to make better business decisions around litigation or even in pre-litigation scenarios. By unifying the Central Archive and DocHunter, clients are able to do selection within the archive and much earlier in the process.
The Need for Next Generation Solutions
Most first-generation archiving solutions were designed and built to address other problems and functions such as searching Web pages, optimizing storage, or managing flat files, not for searching information contained in emails and word documents or managing the entire path of email and other messages from creation and retention to retrieval or deletion. Ediscovery solutions are relatively new to market, having emerged less than a decade ago, when users realized they needed to do more than just store ESI.
Attributes of Next Generation archiving and ediscovery solutions include:
- Superior integration of modules: Archiving, compliance, ediscovery, mailbox management, SharePoint;
- Faster and more flexible searching: Access to loose files, contextual, enterprise, proximity;
- Improved server and storage utilization: Deduplication, grid architectures, single instancing data (SIS), limited number of repositories;
- Scalability: Manage 10k plus mailboxes, 1 billion plus objects with no performance hit;
- Flexible policy management engines: By administrator, custodian, matter, user;
- Security, data protection: Backup, Cloud, automatic folder and index restoration;
- Superior user interfaces: Web interface, plug-ins, easy to learn and use;
- True partnering: Shared vision, superior customer service;
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
The better next generation solutions cost a lot less to implement and maintain because of how the above-mentioned characteristics dramatically improve TCO and ROI – particularly over time as the system needs to scale.
Futures and Challenges
The biggest technology challenge for IT is in the integration of point solutions and orchestrating the hand-offs between disparate solutions. Daegis intends for DocHunter and the Central Archive to be fully integrated in six-to-nine months. CEO Wille said a few customers are already using the two products in tandem.
Daegis’ product and go-to-market roadmap follow in the footsteps of information management (IM) heavyweights Autonomy, EMC, HP, IBM, Iron Mountain, and Symantec, which are expected to be its primary competition with branding, incumbency, and cash in their favor. However, all of these major players continue to face their own integration challenges based on multiple acquisitions each has made.
The Central Archive has proven to be scalable over time, having been in service for more than a decade while maintaining superior customer service and support – which speaks to why its client retention rate is among the highest in the industry. Meanwhile Daegis, with the addition of Central Archive has more than 400 clients, is highly profitable, and supports an array of clients from Fortune 50 companies to small law firms. It remains to be seen how nimble the combined companies can remain, but they appear to have a great foundation to build on.
Action Item: Buyers considering archiving and ediscovery services and solutions need to consider integration, scalability, customer service, vision and overall system performance and TCO as critical components of their evaluation process. Keep in mind that dealing with bigger vendor firms does not necessarily equate to a superior solution or a more successful implementation. See 10 Critical Steps to follow BEFORE implementing an Information Archive