Law Firms are Finding that E-Discovery as Managed Services is Smart Business

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Let’s face it. All companies regardless of size, industry, or age, continue to face the increasing risk and burden of electronic data management. This challenge exists in the areas of:

  • security
  • hardware and software maintenance
  • capital expenditures – investment in technology for competitive advantage
  • Oh, and let’s not forget, people management.

I mean, first, you have to buy the right hardware and software, and then hire experts for all your applications, right? Wrong! You have to HAVE the right software and experts, but you don’t need to make the capital investment or direct hire.

As an owner of eTERA, a company that has successfully transitioned from paper document to electronic data solutions over the past seven years, I have learned a valuable lesson —

Keep overhead low by acquiring the right technology and experts through a Managed Services model. It makes for smart business.

As a data management company with a SAS 70 Type 2 security certification, eTERA manages large amounts of technology and data. But we also have to work within a budget.

My CTO brought a concept to the table, Managed Services. Our provider, mindSHIFT now provides us with DOD certified co-location facilities, and experts for all of our HW/SW for one low monthly price. When we need services or help above and beyond the monthly limits, we pay discounted prices. I can’t afford to hire IT specialists for each individual application, but I can pay the price for one expert, and get access to 10 when I need them.

eTERA has taken the Managed Services concept and offered it to our legal department clients who need e-discovery assistance. We call it Opt1mum OneSM. Think about it, according to Litigation Support Today’s May/July 2011 Second Annual Salary Survey, the national average salary for a litigation support manager is $70,882. 73.8% of the respondents either had no minimum billable requirements or were not required to bill. Ouch to overhead!

Add to that accounting tape the cost of a five seat litigation support software which can run anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 annually. And then add on the costs of the hardware technology and maintenance to support the software. All of this equals overhead which can easily top $125,000 annually when adding up the personnel, software and hardware costs. That is why my own company went with a Managed Services model.

Opt1mum One works the same way. Pay a low/fixed monthly cost for litigation support personnel, data processing, consulting, data hosting, which costs significantly less than paying for all the components yourself, and get 10 experts for the price of one. This allows you to keep overhead low while getting access to the best technology and people. That’s what makes a Managed Services model smart business!

Posted by Scott Holec, President, eTERA Consulting. Scott can be reached at

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