Lawyers' jobs are not getting easier. Those outside the legal profession may not shed too many tears -- until they find themselves in a legal mess and realize the difficulties technology has introduced into the process. With complicating factors that include international cases, an explosion of electronic documents, shorter time frames for litigation, and an economic recession that has required the trimming of paralegal personnel, law offices worldwide are looking to streamline operations. To answer the call, Kazeon Systems, a Mountain View, Calif.–based provider of e-discovery solutions, has released the fourth-generation of its software, including three modular products targeting specific customer problems.
According to Sudhakar Muddu, Kazeon's founder and chief executive officer, customer demand primarily drove the development of his company's latest offering, with pain points that included in-house e-discovery; internal investigations; audits; legal hold and retention management; and government, risk, and compliance.
To target those pain points, Kazeon's fourth-generation release include the following three new modules:
- Analysis & Review, which includes analytics, concept extraction and search, search results visualization, result and review filtering, query expansion, email thread analytics, and interactive and fast review;
- Legal Hold, with the ability to identify electronically stored information based on case requirements such as custodians, date ranges, concepts, case-based legal hold management, enforcement, and reporting; and
- Collection & Culling, featuring targeted collection -- either fully indexed or indexless -- which can be done from any source and performed via a simplified case-based application that requires little or no assistance from technology personnel.
The three modules share an underlying platform that enables seamless interaction, according to Muddu, ensuring a smooth workflow and eliminating the need for costly integration with products from multiple vendors. "The biggest differentiation for us is through integration," he insists.
Companies, however, do not have to purchase all three modules at once. "It's for separate needs, so you can buy one and not get the other two," Muddu says.
Brian Babineau, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, underscores the importance of offering e-discovery solutions in this manner. "This module approach is absolutely necessary," he insists. "There are a lot of moving parts here, and you may need to use different tools along the way." Modular applications, he adds, can support different steps in the process. "Customers can buy what they want in the form of an application," he says. "The flexibility is key."
Muddu claims that Kazeon offers a potential for integration that key competitors in the e-discovery space, such as Autonomy, cannot provide. "We've grown our products organically, while Autonomy has acquired companies in each of the areas we've released these offerings in," he says. "None of them are integrated through Autonomy -- there are different interfaces."
Babineau, on the other hand, characterizes the distinction between Autonomy and Kazeon as merely the difference between two viable paths. "Autonomy's approach is to centralize, take disparate products and connect them with a search engine," he says. "Some customers like that approach but others want a seamless application experience."
For customers sharing that latter mindset, Babineau says Kazeon is on the right track -- one that seems primed for growth. "For the most part, the company has taken the right mentality of building a good platform, allowing people to use it, and expanding the usage with minimal risk," he says. "So, if they want to use the next feature, they don't have to buy something entirely separate that may not connect well to what [was in place] previously."
In fact, Babineau says, Kazeon's new release may foretell a boost in spending on e-discovery software overall. "It's important in a down economy that spending on this technology remains fairly healthy," he says. "When we see innovations from Kazeon and the [e-discovery] marketplace in general, it's a positive."
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