With Search, What Are We Looking For?

by Barry Murphy
Needle haystack

Recently, I was contacted by an X1 user and fan and he asked me, “why isn’t X1 more famous?”  His point was that X1 Search 8 solves a problem that every company has – people can’t find their information.  They are unable to find that one email or document that they know exists, but that they just can’t remember where they put it.  This X1 fan happens to be a consultant that works with many, many companies and reported that, no matter what client he visits, all have workers that constantly complain about not being able to find what they are looking for.

It can be a marketer’s nightmare to have someone ask why your product is not more famous, but it was a question I had already been giving some thought to.  Part of the challenge when it comes to the “search market” is that most people think of Google when they think of search.  Google is easy to use and helps everyone navigate the Internet much more efficiently.  But, web search is a much different beast than search within a company.  The reality is that 80% of what business workers are looking for exists in their email, file shares, desktop folders, or SharePoint sites.  The worker knows the content exists, has an idea of what he/she is looking for, but simply doesn’t know where it is.  But, when enterprise search solutions were first rolled out, they were built like web search solutions – as if someone wasn’t really sure what they were looking for.

The misperception that the Google search paradigm can apply within the enterprise resulted in enterprise search solutions improperly conflating several search use cases.  But, web search and big data analytics – the new search du jour – are very distinct search types that require features and functions specific to their own unique workflows and use cases. Refashioning big data analytics or web search tools for enterprise search is a recipe for failure and certainly not an end-user driven requirement.

Big Data and the business intelligence (BI) tools built to address Big Data are hot topics.  And BI can deliver some very good information to workers that are managing structured processes.  Every company has deployed some kind of BI tool, but – as our consultant fan let us know – every company still has the problem of business workers not being able to find information.  That is because, when it comes to business worker search, the human brain is the most powerful analytical engine for business productivity search.  Other search solutions have sophisticated algorithms that try to predict things like document taxonomy classifications.   That can be useful at times, but not to enable search for the business worker because the interface and workflow are not designed for business productivity search.  Additionally, analytics-driven solutions require a lot of hardware to make those algorithms churn.

There is a more cost-effective way to solve the problem and ensure that business workers will stop complaining – deploy a search solution with a user-friendly interface that allows humans to use their brain to filter and sort through their information assets.  X1 Search 8 can do that – and do it in today’s virtualized and Cloud-heavy environments.  It is time to realize what business workers are really looking for when they turn to search tools – the one document they know exists that has the information necessary for them to do their jobs in any given moment.

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Filed under Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, Hybrid Search

Social Media Discovery is Game-Changing, and The Smart Practitioners Get It

by John Patzakis

Last week we featured guest blogger Mark Lanterman, Chief Technology Officer of Computer Forensics Services, Inc., who discussed how he performed innovative and cutting-edge social media investigations. The key takeaway is that social media evidence is very often publically available, opening up a whole new world in terms of litigation tactics. Imagine if you could have extensive, instantaneous and legal access to the Plaintiffs’ file cabinet and hard drive at the outset of every case? Well, that is more or less the situation with publically available social media evidence, which can be quite extensive.

Social media discovery efforts can clearly make the difference in, or at least greatly assist your clients’ case, especially if one moves quickly and proactively at the outset of the litigation, or even a claim at the pre-litigation stage. This is why Lanterman and his team often act proactively in their social media investigation and collection efforts, resulting in game-changes results for their clients.

And this is no longer lost on legal experts and the likes of the American Bar Association and State Bar Associations who draft ethics rules governing attorney’s general duty of competence. The New Hampshire Bar Association recently published Opinion 2012-13/05 providing that lawyers “have a general duty to be aware of social media as a source of potentially useful information in litigation, to be competent to obtain that information directly or through an agent, and to know how to make effective use of that information in litigation.” And the ABA recently published Comment [8] to Model Rule 1.1, which provides that a lawyer “should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” (See also: California Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0004, “Attorneys who handle litigation may not simply ignore the potential impact of evidentiary information existing in electronic form.”)

In this context, Lanterman’s compelling case study is something that every litigator and eDiscovery professional must heed. Lanterman’s assessment that social media evidence is relevant and important in over 70 percent of the cases he handles is consistent with our tracking of case law. It is also consistent with our discussions with many of our other service provider partners who use X1 Social Discovery on a daily basis, on behalf of their law firm in insurance company clients. The smart practitioners who understand this and embrace social media and website discovery are getting ahead by providing their clients a very powerful and effective service. In some cases, they are single handedly winning cases for their clients.

Earlier this month my colleague Barry Murphy wrote about the 80/20 rule when it comes to social discovery. Among the 20 percent you have eDiscovery professionals like Mark Lanterman who see social media evidence as a huge tactical advantage for their clients resulting in a rapidly expanding practice and gained credibility with his clients. The 80 percent consist of firms that have a handful of copies of X1 in their toolkit and employ them a few times a month in response to being specifically told to do so by their law firm clients. This is surprising as eDiscovery consultants are technical experts, who by definition are supposed to be ahead of the curve or at least abreast with developments in the field. They certainly should not be laggards.

But the 80/20 rule doesn’t apply just to eDiscovery service providers, we see some very savvy attorneys who utilize social media evidence in a highly strategic fashion. In fact, in some cases we see the attorneys ahead of eDiscovery service providers on this issue. There is one particular story that stands out from a big firm litigator, lamenting that one eDiscovery service provider he spoke with included floppy disks on their ESI preservation checklist, but not social media. And with social media discovery now essentially mandated as a matter of professional competence and ethics, a serious eDiscovery practitioner or attorney does not want to be on the wrong side of the 80/20 rule.

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Filed under Social Media Investigations, Uncategorized

Social Discovery’s Time Is Now

by Barry Murphy

social discoveryThe 80/20 rule tends to apply in all aspects of life, and it is certainly applying to social discovery, at least in terms of who “gets it” and who doesn’t.  I say that because, when I talk to folks about social discovery, about 80% of them feel that it is a fringe issue that will be something to deal with in the distant future.  Only 20% realize that social discovery is happening now and that getting ahead of the curve presents a huge opportunity.

On the surface, it would seem problematic that so few embrace the realities that social media is here to stay in the business world.  According to Forrester Research’s The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2013, US, “consumers of all age groups use social networking. From the 85% of Gen Zers to the 57% of the Golden Generation who visit Facebook at least monthly, social networking is ingrained in the Internet experience for all generations. Consumers use social media to interact with companies, too. The average US online Facebook user “likes” 14 brands on Facebook, while almost seven out of 10 social networkers engage with brands on social media.”  That social media content is discoverable is not up for debate; the argument tends to be around whether actual social discovery is mainstream yet.

The proactive management (e.g. archiving) of social media is not yet a mainstream practice in US enterprises.  In talking to a colleague at an archiving vendor, the primary reason for this is cost.  Yes, there is a lack of maturity in policies (both usage and retention) and a fear that simply journaling social media into an archive will just bloat digital landfills, but the primary issue is cost.  This is because most of the solutions for capturing social media into an archive are hosted and have recurring subscription and storage fees.  As a result, the starting cost – just to add social media to an archive – is over $25,000.  For most enterprises, that additional cost is a non-starter.

Just because proactive management of social media is not mainstream does not mean that social discovery as a practice is not.  I can look at the sales numbers for X1’s Social Discovery (X1SD) product and tell you that the growth rate is such that it is clear the practice is widespread.  I have also heard from service providers that are doing over 30 Facebook collections per week.  To me, that indicates that social discovery is a mainstream practice.  With X1SD, the cost issue is averted because the starting cost is less than $1,500.  Plus, the filtering capabilities allow investigators to only pass potentially relevant content downstream in the eDiscovery lifecycle.  And, being a desktop install means that no custody or control issues will pop up (especially important in the law enforcement use-case).

Most of the coverage of social media tools focus on the marketing use-cases – for example enterprise listening platforms and social relationship platforms.  Those use-cases serve important business functions, but discovery platforms need to meet a higher standard.  They need to show defensibility and have great control over custody of the data.  With such capabilities in place and in use today, it is only a matter of time before enterprises connect the dots and begin addressing social discovery with as much discipline as they do collection of email and other enterprise content.

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Filed under Social Media Investigations

Get Ready for Hybrid Search

by Barry Murphy

In the tech world, everyone is on the lookout for the next big thing.  Everyone wants to be at the edge of innovation.  In my role here at X1, I talk to our partner ecosystem about myriad issues and topics, constantly taking the temperature of the market.  A lot of topics have good traction right now:

  • There is huge interest in the Social Discovery product and that business continues to grow.  In fact, I would argue that social media discovery is the most exciting topic in the eDiscovery world and generating far more business and activity than any other segment of the market.
  • Customers deploying virtual desktop (VDI) environments are excited by the Search 8 Virtual Edition, which allows them to provide great search experiences for business workers while also disabling Windows indexing (a best practice in desktop virtualization in order to conserve virtual resources).
  • With the growth of the Cloud and more and more enterprises storing active data in Cloud-based repositories, the ability to search data in the cloud is a hot topic.  But, as I wrote about previously, cloud search is not necessarily as simple as just creating a connector.  We continue to see X1’s ability to deploy in the cloud as a driving force behind deals.

No topic, however, turns as many heads as hybrid search.  When I talk to people about our product set, heads nod and they see the value.  After a few minutes, the “aha moment” occurs.  I don’t even have to say the term – my conversation partner will say to me, “wait, so you can enable search across both on-premise and cloud environments…you can do hybrid search.”  It feels to me like hybrid search is one of those “next big things.”  To have so many diverse people, from different business sectors really dig in to a conversation on hybrid search gives me all the proof I need to know that we are on to something here.

Take a look at the following screenshot.  The beauty lies in the simplicity – one single pane of glass to a business worker’s most critical information assets.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

No need to switch around between applications.  No need to search Outlook for email, then log into Box to search for files stored there.  It is a single interface to search for information, no matter where it lives.  And that kind of interface fits the workflow of business workers.  That drives tremendous value – that is why everyone gets the importance of hybrid search, and why it is the next big thing as far as I am concerned.

 

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Filed under Cloud Data, Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, Hybrid Search, Social Media Investigations