Do you want to make a change in your electronic review system, but you're scared of the burden? It can be daunting – physically moving data, learning a new system, maintaining coding, minimizing downtime, getting your team on board, and more.
But it's not as hard as you think. There are so many vendor and software platform choices. Some have merged, others have gone out of business, and some products have been discontinued. So even though you may not want to switch, there may not be an option.
We're offering you some general guidance on moving data from any platform to iCONECT, including a few examples to help you see how your experience could be
Software vs. Service Provider
One of the key differentiators is whether you are contracting directly with the company that developed the software or are working through a service provider. It is crucial to determine whether there is only one instance of this application or multiple places your data is hosted. For example, this could be in your data center or in the cloud.
Most eDiscovery software providers host data in the cloud on a deployment they exclusively manage. That means they have greater control, but you must host with them. Relativity has made the switch from a multi-provider model to a single provider model in the last few years with the introduction of RelativityOne.
The recent announcement of sunsetting eDiscovery Point means that many clients are now looking for a new system altogether. Fortunately, iCONECT and a few other platforms are unique. There are multiple hosting partners and deployment solutions that allow you to navigate transferring data without learning something completely new.
What is Stored?
Most review tools contain native files, images, redactions, productions, metadata, and coding. There are also user logs to help determine who performed an action and when. Most work product generated in a document review system falls into one of the previously mentioned categories or is stored in a proprietary format created by the software developer (typically in a relational database).
In general, if you can produce data as load files that include native files and/or produced images, you can easily create a production to load into another platform. This is typically in the form of a .DAT file and may include .OPT or .LST helper files. Most tools can easily produce files in this format but may charge for a production or its storage. You need to be aware and careful not to incur extra fees when moving data. Once created, these load files can be loaded into iCONECT by a simple drag-and-drop or into other eDiscovery software.
This can also be useful for moving data from one system to another and facilitating long-term offline material storage – for instance, during an appeal. Since most vendors charge based on stored data volume, this is an area ripe for savings when using the iCONECT platform with Avansic.
Note that the location of data may determine whether a system administrator is needed to assist with the export. Data can be on-premises, behind the firewall, or in a hosted environment with restricted access. In the latter, multi-tenancy means that back-end access is often unavailable, and a system administrator is necessary.
Exporting Work Product
Exporting data in the manner described above leaves behind some vital work product, including document coding, user action attribution (which may include who foldered, redacted, or coded something), and editable redactions. Custom workflows and/or software may be needed to access and export data in a useful manner. For many review systems, it is possible to export .CSVs of coding information and convert that into a format to import in a new system. However, this can be laborious and requires expert understanding of the new system's process for data intake and application.
A Case Study
Avansic has helped several customers move from platforms like Relativity, eDiscovery Point, iPro Eclipse, Summation, and others. Most of these transitions are relatively easy, but some nuances are more manageable when working with experienced litigation support individuals.
Avansic helped a customer move from Relativity into their own iCONECT system. Making a move by creating productions became prohibitive due to the volume of data (15 TB.) Avansic developed a new solution utilizing SQL backups and the Relativity document's RV folder for each database. This method gave access to all the data, including redactions and saved searches, making it unnecessary to use the live system. "This system is beneficial for several reasons- it increases our responsiveness to clients while allowing us to offer competitive services at a reasonable cost," noted John Cowling, litigation partner at Armstrong Teasdale, and president of LAWgical Choice.
Avansic assisted another client with moving all of their projects out of Thomson Reuters' eDiscovery Point (eDP). The easiest method would have been to create productions and then export, but this would have cost the client money for the storage space those productions would use. The first step was to manage the client's current storage budget because data had to be moved from a "staging" area to an "in review" area. In eDP, it is not possible to download directly from the staging area. However, moving all projects at once would have exceeded their storage threshold. Avansic applied two different methods to get the data out of eDP and into a usable format for iCONECT. For cases with less than 1,000 documents, we created an export of natives, an export of produced images, and an export of coding. For cases with more than 1,000 documents, we performed multiple exports of each of those types and took great care not to get documents twice. eDP did not contain all necessary metadata, so Avansic re-processed natives to locate that information and extract the text of the documents. The client experienced a few hours of downtime per database as exporting and syncing the coding in iCONECT was relatively quick.
With proper planning, migration between platforms is readily attainable. Having expertise available from both the previous and new review partners, or adequate internal IT resources, will ease the transition process. There is no reason to stay in a system that doesn't work for your needs, either due to cost or features, and moving data doesn't have to be the stumbling block to an efficient and effective eDiscovery workflow.
About the Author
Dr. Gavin Manes is a nationally recognized expert in eDiscovery and digital forensics. He is currently the CEO of Avansic, which provides eDiscovery and digital forensics services to law firms, litigation support departments, and corporations across the country. Dr. Manes founded the Tulsa-based company in 2004 after receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science and serving as a professor at the University of Tulsa. Avansic's scientific approach to eDiscovery and digital forensics stems from Manes' academic experience, which brings a logical and defensible approach to eDiscovery.
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This article was posted as original content on the ACEDS Blog, and written by Gavin W. Manes.