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The Real Story Behind the Case Study.

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Sandline Discovery - Ideas, Education and eDiscovery

Vendors write these short and sweet project summaries to demonstrate their ability to handle the big, difficult and fast-paced. The case study starts with a daunting task, proceeds to a vague description of how the problem was tackled, making sure to mention how fast we were, and ends by claiming the client was happy and the day was saved.

I'm guilty of doing this too I guess, but here's a fictional one, then below is one I think is really how we should be telling the story:

Our client came to us with 2TB of data that had to be fast-track searched and culled. Our team of 15 engineers ripped through the data using our BrutOS 128 core processing engine to extract over 10 million records. After de-duplication and culling we promoted just 300k records for review. The entire process took us just 48 hours! End result: Deadline met, happy client.

This case study attempts to tell a potential client "We're the real deal. We have big computers and many people. You can trust us with the big stuff. We crush big data and that's what matters." And it does matter. You need to have people operating capable technology. But that's really a baseline and almost a defining characteristic of an eDiscovery company: we have people processing data with computers.

Maybe case studies should look more like this (non-fictional):

We were brought in to collect data from four client sites in South Asia. At first, managers at each site were reluctant to cooperate, but we worked with counsel to educate the custodians about the discovery process and explain how the data would be used and disposed of. Once trust was built, the collection went smoothly.

When data was stateside, securely transported in compliance with each locations' data export laws, we had just over 2TB that had to be fast-tracked and culled. Knowing that we'd have a combination of English, Urdu and Tamil documents we got right to work identifying languages, rare encodings and candidates for non-Latin OCR. We worked with counsel to identify the priority data stores and built alternative review environments for code repositories and engineering documents.

In the end, it took about three weeks to have all data prepared for review. Client was exhausted, but sufficiently satisfied with the experience and willing to engage us again.

I'll admit, the case study itself achieves the same as the first example, but the people that we care about and how their lives are impacted with litigation is a story less told.

Written by Jon Canty

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