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Are You Taking a Hit from Unattended eDiscovery Hosting Fees?

If only your eDiscovery provider knows for sure, you may have a problem.

Today, life is chock full of fees. Service fees, transaction fees, membership fees—you name it, there they are, charges we barely notice anymore, some that seem to go on in perpetuity. I’m not sure how much I have contributed in such fees over my lifetime, but if I consider the number of bank fees I’ve left unprotested, gym memberships that I let linger out of hope (not commitment), and music streaming services that I signed up for and promptly turned away from to go back to my MP3 playlist roots, it undoubtedly amounts to considerably more than I’d ever admit.

The fact that such fees usually show up on recurring bills seems to make them more invisible; even watchful eyes will cease to notice their effect on monthly totals as the myriad industries and businesses that bill us rake in billions of dollars in annual revenue. That’s not to say the revenue is undeserved, only that it may be inflated as we blithely pay our bills without consideration of which charges really need to be there anymore.

This is surely true in the eDiscovery space.  Recurring hosting and user fees are the mainstay of eDiscovery providers. In fact, they’re crucial in subsidizing other parts of the business, especially given the ever-deflating value of the gigabyte and the rising cost of security. eDiscovery projects are notoriously long and complex with twists and turns of players and data; as time goes on customers may very well be paying for users who are no longer on the project or workspaces that lie dormant. But hey, it’s the responsibility of the customer (like we gym-avoiders) to know what they’re paying for that isn’t providing value, right?

To truly be of service, providers should be able to empower their clients with full transparency into what’s hosted and who’s being billed to have access to data. Customers should not be billed for services they no longer use just because they haven’t kept up with their user roster, even though the ball is squarely in their court to stay on top of their own invoices.

What should you expect?

So what should a customer expect of their provider? First, timely and regular reporting on what’s hosted, who’s accessing what’s hosted, when they last accessed data—all of the salient information that impacts their invoices. Second, the ability to act in their own best interest. Important details that affect costs should be pushed out in an easily consumable format, they should not have to be pulled from a pile of complex metrics. Further, those details should be sufficient to inform any of the following actions:

  • Temporary or permanent deactivation of users
  • Temporary suspension of workspaces into a hibernated state at a reduced rate
  • Read-only access to workspaces for quick research purposes at a reduced rate
  • Bringing a workspace offline with a commitment on what it would take to restore if and when a need returns

Armed with this arsenal of actions and visibility into when such actions should be triggered, customers can garner substantial savings, and providers—who may indeed be losing some revenue—are rewarded with satisfied customers and continued business.

You don’t need to live your life with the guilt and frustration of not staying on top of a sea of details with your eDiscovery provider. Let them push the relevant information to you so you can take the appropriate action when the opportunity arises. Have the conversation with them.  It will take 15 minutes, likely less time than it will take to muscle your gym out of those pesky membership fees. You can tackle that next.

Learn how H5 empowers Relativity® users with more knowledge and more control of their hosted data with H5 Matter Intelligence, a Relativity-integrated H5 application that gives users extensive visibility into their matters.

Jason Richard
Director, eDiscovery, H5

Jason’s main areas of expertise are electronic discovery, litigation readiness and data analysis, with a focus on strategic consulting regarding the production of electronic records in support of all phases of litigation, investigations, and litigation preparedness initiatives.

Graphic Image: © Can Stock Photo / tiero

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