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Ediscovery Moves to Cloud Computing: Relativity Integrates with Office 365

[This is Part Two of a three-part series. Read Part One here.]

In Part One of this series, we discussed why ediscovery moving to cloud computing seems like an inevitability (albeit a scary one for some) because of the cost savings and convenience the cloud provides. This week, we’re focusing on kCura’s new cloud option, RelativityOne, and its integration with Microsoft Azure and Office 365.

Microsoft released Azure, its cloud computing platform, in early 2010, and released ediscovery solutions as part of Office 365 in 2012. For these past six years, Microsoft has been working toward meeting the growing demand for ediscovery software, so it should come as no surprise that they would look in the direction of kCura, with 198 of the AmLaw 200 and 73 of the Fortune 100 using their ediscovery platform, Relativity. Office 365 is one of the fastest-growing enterprise platforms (78% of organizations in a recent survey reported that they use it now or plan on using it), so working with Microsoft is a clear-cut business decision for kCura. kCura’s RelativityOne will use Azure as its cloud-hosting platform to stay on top of industry movement and client demands, and Microsoft’s Office 365 will integrate with Relativity for the same reasons. While companies are threatening to move away from Relativity because of this integration, they should keep in mind that kCura will still offer its on-premises version of Relativity in the hopes of offering a hybrid approach to improve the overall ediscovery experience:

“We want to simplify and accelerate how the world conducts e-discovery by bringing the entire process and community closer together…” Andrew Sieja, kCura CEO

At RelativityFest 2016, kCura announced that they would be shifting focus from being “THE ediscovery company” to making Relativity better for those who already use it. Around the same time, kCura partnered with Guidance Software – a litigation management tool – tying Relativity’s community of 140,000 users to Guidance’s 33 million endpoints, allowing more stages of ediscovery to happen in one place, and more people to have access to Relativity. Now, by putting RelativityOne in the Azure cloud, both Microsoft and kCura are able to reach into markets they were unable to obtain previously – Microsoft into Relativity’s expanse of users, and kCura into Microsoft’s.  

Another benefit for Microsoft is that it previously offered next to nothing to cover the review part of the ediscovery process, and now it offers one of the most widely-used review platforms in the world. Some ediscovery users commenting across the web question the Azure platform being able to support SQL instances with major caseloads (say, a million records), insisting overhauls need to be made to Microsoft’s IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) offerings. To that, Perry Merchant, VP of Engineering at kCura, says,

“We’ve been able to implement SQL 2016 on Azure IaaS—the same architecture used in the on-premises version of Relativity—to free us from those record limits, which are applicable to the PaaS version of SQL, Azure SQL.”

For the Relativity end users who have issues with their data being in the cloud, Milyli Senior Architect Andrew Boudreau has this to say:

“Law offices can get on-demand scale to thousands of CPUs, unlimited disk space, and high performance without ever having to worry that the really expensive server in the server is room is out-of-date or needs a hard drive replaced. That’s one of the beauties of cloud computing, companies can shift the problem of managing physical hardware and focus more on business problems.  In an industry like law where computer software and computer hardware technology aren’t the primary focus, that’s great.”

It’s not just kCura making this move to the cloud (though it most certainly is a game-changer, with kCura leading the market), other ediscovery platforms are also moving or have already made the move: Exterro, Lexbe, Catalyst, Cicayda, Everlaw, and Druva, just to name a few. kCura isn’t leaping right into the cloud, either; it’s cautiously making first steps, while still offering the option of on-premises Relativity. However, what those who are wary of cloud computing must remember is that there are dangers to dragging their feet, especially when the benefits of ediscovery in the cloud become more documented (for example, it’s been shown that ediscovery in the cloud gives law firms a 50% reduction in processing).

Back in 2011, Forbes published an article from an author excited about ediscovery moving to cloud computing and the myriad benefits it offers the end user. Yet, here we are five years later, and many in the ediscovery world are still surprised, scared, or annoyed that kCura has made the decision to work with Microsoft to bring Relativity to the cloud. Maybe now that kCura has made the step, we won’t be talking about ediscovery “moving” to the cloud for the next five years, but will actually see it happen.

Join us next week when we dive into how cloud computing has affected ediscovery for those who have already made the leap and offer advice for those who are skeptical or concerned about what this means for the future of ediscovery.



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