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Monday, August 6, 2007

Symantec’s “E-Discovery Connectors” For Enterprise Vault: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

Today, Symantec announced 3 connectors for Enterprise Vault, for analytics, review and content collection. According to the announcement, these will “provide tight integration with third-party case management, review, analytics, forensics and desktop collection tools.”

The idea that archives should integrate with third party products is one I whole-heartedly support and have written about before. My company, Clearwell, has been working with Nick, Scott, and the gang at Symantec on this for over a year. They tell us that we were the first to integrate with Enterprise Vault and, to our knowledge, we are the only ones who have deployed fully integrated e-discovery solutions with Enterprise Vault at several enterprises.

Having said all that (and climbing down from my soapbox), I think Symantec’s customers will need to read this announcement very carefully to understand what it means. To give them a helping hand, let me translate it from corporate-marketing-speak into plain English:

Symantec is releasing 3 connectors which enable customers to ingest files from EnCase and export files to Summation and Ringtail. It is also exposing a new application programming interface (API) so that third-party vendors can more easily build their own connectors to Enterprise Vault.

At this point, most people’s eyes glaze over and they ask “who cares”? Surely, only techies get excited about something as esoteric as a new API. But as the recent excitement over FaceBook’s API has shown, opening up a platform – even in a limited way, as Symantec is doing – can unlock tremendous value. For those customers with Discovery Accelerator v.7.5, the new API will have a huge impact for 2 reasons:

  1. It makes integration with Enterprise Vault much easier, so lots more vendors will do it. In their press release, Symantec mentions a handful of companies who are building connectors to the new API and I’m sure more will follow. This increases customer choice, and makes it more likely that Symantec customers will be able to select related products that closely fit their needs;

  2. It enables enterprises to have a smooth workflow across all aspects of e-discovery, from collection/preservation to analysis/review to production/presentation. For example, companies can now collect information in Enterprise Vault, preserve it by placing a litigation hold on key information via Discovery Accelerator, and then seamlessly hand off that information to a third party application (like Clearwell) for review and analysis. This saves a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted on importing/exporting data from different systems, and reduces the risk that something gets lost in the shuffle.
Net net: companies do well by giving customers what they want, and customers want end-to-end e-discovery solutions. Symantec is not the only one to have figured this out; stay tuned for more announcements like this from other archiving vendors.

2 comments:

Joshua Konkle said...

Hi Aaref

It's a great announcement on the part of Symantec, especially for journaled email!

Based on your comments, is it fair to say that you are competing with iConect NXT, Ringtail, Lexis/Nexis, etc? Or are you competing with Attenex, MetaLincs, Epiq Systems etc. vendors who are focused on delivering cost saving solutions for review/analysis (currently >$2000/gb)?

Thanks

~~JK

Aaref Hilaly said...

Hi Joshua,
If you look at the world through the lens of EDRM (www.edrm.net), Clearwell is focused on processing, analysis and review. For more, check out www.clearwellsystems.com
Best,
Aaref