Thought Leadership and Industry Trends
Transactional v. Repository Data Hosting Models: Which One is Best for You?
By Michael Milicevic, Esq, Managing Director, CDS Chicago.
The standard model for eDiscovery case work is currently the transactional model, created primarily to accommodate ad hoc matters handled by law firms. Workflow and pricing that developed around the transactional model, by nature needs to be one-size-fits all to accommodate the broad range of services that may be needed on any given matter. But what happens if your particular matter doesn’t easily fit into this model? The good news is that like many law firms, some forward thinking eDiscovery providers have begun to offer alternative hosting models to better suit the needs of different types of cases. One alternative to the transactional model is the repository model, also commonly referred to as the corporate model. Below is a quick comparison of both models to help you pick which may be the best fit for your next matter.
The transactional hosting model is currently the industry standard. It is by far the most flexible option and developed to meet the eDiscovery needs of law firms primarily. The transactional model is typically best applied to single ad hoc matters, with unique work product and data volumes below 1 terabyte (TB). Line item pricing is typically provided and firms can select which services best apply to the needs of their case. Generally, there are no hosting period or data size commitments required and when the matter settles, data and work product can be archived or deleted.
While the transactional model provides a lot of flexibility for clients that are well versed in the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), it can also have many shortcomings. Given the scope of eDiscovery and related services that are offered today, this pricing model can be overly complex and often times confusing to end clients. Accurate pricing estimates can also be difficult to calculate at the outset of a new matter as there are many variables that can increase cost from unexpected data sizes and expansion to low culling and deduplication rates based on search term specificity and data type.
The repository model has gained a lot of traction in recent years and has become the primary alternative to the transactional model. The repository model is typically best applied to multiple matters that share a common data set. It was mainly developed to address the eDiscovery needs of corporations; however, it has also been increasing in popularity with law firms and with certain data sets.
The primary benefits of the repository model are that it allows for reuse of work product and provides a more predictable pricing structure. Rather than archiving or deleting data and work product after a matter ends, work product is stored in a central repository for later analysis and reuse. In addition, since typical data volumes for repository workspaces tend to exceed 1TB, providers are able to offer volume discounts or bundled pricing packages to help control costs. Additional advantages of the repository model include faster project initiation, reduced costs in re-collecting and re-processing serial custodian data and most importantly, significant reduction in the costs associated with attorney review time, as the repository model facilitates the reuse of coding between matters.
Great service providers will be leading the charge in offering custom solutions for the ever changing eDiscovery needs of their clients. Ask your provider what hosting models they recommend as best for your case.
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