Tag Archives: Windows 8

Microsoft’s Lessons for the eDiscovery Industry

Microsoft imageThe announcement that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is set to retire within 12 months naturally spurred some thought on the analogous plateauing or even demise of prominent eDiscovery software firms in recent years. In my view, there are two general lessons to be gleaned by the eDiscovery industry from Microsoft’s troubles.

The first is about the speed of change in this industry. Three years ago, the PC was king and predictive coding was a fairly obscure term. Now, mobile devices, cloud, social media and desktop virtualization have relegated the traditional PC to the road to legacy status. And we all know the story of the tidal wave that is the predictive coding craze of 2013.

And this leads to the second and related lesson, which is the difficulty for dominant companies to stay innovative in such a fast-changing environment. This past week featured a lot of commentary from business and technology pundits, mostly making fairly obvious points about Microsoft missing the boat on smart phones, tablets and the Vista and Windows 8 debacles. But in terms of the bigger picture, I like the analysis from Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who summoned wisdom from 14th Century North African philosopher Ibn Khaldun:

“One insight (Khaldun) had, based on the history of his native North Africa, was that there was a rhythm to the rise and fall of dynasties. Desert tribesmen, he argued, always have more courage and social cohesion than settled, civilized folk, so every once in a while they will sweep in and conquer lands whose rulers have become corrupt and complacent. They create a new dynasty — and, over time, become corrupt and complacent themselves, ready to be overrun by a new set of barbarians.

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to apply this story to Microsoft, a company that did so well with its operating-system monopoly that it lost focus, while Apple — still wandering in the wilderness after all those years — was alert to new opportunities. And so the barbarians swept in from the desert.”

And I think it’s even less of stretch to apply this story to the eDiscovery software industry. For instance, in speaking to a couple of eDiscovery executives last week, they lamented that a dominant review tool his company relies on, had in their opinion become “long in the tooth” with the executives of that software provider no longer very accessible. Another leading eDiscovery software vendor recently launched a major upgrade to their flagship product resulting in palpable user exodus as the new version was much more complex, with a brand new interface that fell flat. Basically straight out of the Windows 8 playbook.  Not be outdone in its loss of focus, a similar and also market leading company now supports, by my count, at least 12 different products and at least 5 different markets.

And I think this trend of disruption is accentuated in the eDiscovery field because even the dominant players do not have several million in idle funds for research and development into cutting-edge technologies that will not produce meaningful revenue in the near term. Instead, they have to answer to investors of various stripes who demand that quarterly revenue numbers and positive near term cash flow are met. It’s the classic innovators dilemma.

What this means for key buyers of eDiscovery software is that they should be open to change and consider avoiding lock-in with seemingly dominate vendors who could only be months away from being displaced by the barbarians from the desert.

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Filed under eDiscovery & Compliance, Enterprise eDiscovery

X1 Rises Again

Computerworld logo

Earlier this month Robert Mitchell at Computerworld proclaimed that X1 had reemerged in the world of search with X1 Search 8, the new release of our flagship and industry-leading X1 desktop search. (See: X1 Rises Again with Desktop Search 8, Virtual Edition). I think Computerworld is spot on and aptly describes the response and success of X1 Search 8. X1S8 (or “8”) is major advancement of X1 Search.  As mentioned on our recent webinar showcasing X1S8, I wanted to thank our hundreds of thousands of loyal and longtime X1 customers, plus many of the new customers joining us in recent weeks since our highly successful launch of 8.

Overall the response has been tremendous! Since the May 7 release, we have seen shattered sales records coupled with very exciting feedback from our customers, new and old. Based upon the feedback, three improvements to X1S8 are particularly resonating. One is the new and streamlined interface that, combined with a faster and more responsive product, provides an enhanced and highly intuitive user experience. Second, our business users from enterprises large and small are very happy with the built-in and integrated SharePoint support (see video here). And finally, the unique support of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) demonstrates that X1 is once again a cutting edge technology that supports our customers’ current as well as future requirements.

X1 has always been a great solution. In July 2010, Network World declared the previous version of X1 to be the leader in its class, selecting X1 as its Clear Choice winner ahead of competitors such as the native Windows Outlook search and Google desktop search. Perhaps not coincidentally, after Network World anointed X1, Google shortly thereafter announced the end of life for its desktop search. Additionally, with Windows 8, Microsoft is apparently moving away from integrated desktop search as the latest Windows OS no longer features a federated search option.

What this means is that X1 not only has risen again, but has a clear lead in the field of search as 8 is a major upgrade to our award-winning previous version. This is particularly true given the virtualization capabilities of X1S8, which we will now be rolling out to many large enterprises that previously could not support any desktop search within their VDI environment. We believe that eventually desktops will be hosted in the cloud, which will require a cloud-based virtual desktop architecture, which X1 already and uniquely supports. So X1 is ready for the cloud when our customers are.

Recently X1 has enjoyed the support of a number of investors who have enabled us to double down on our support of current customers and the development of next generation search and eDiscovery solutions to support enterprises large and small. This includes our enterprise eDiscovery strategy, but it also means channeling additional resources into our core X1 desktop search technology. Look for more innovations to support our loyal customer base including new mobile support, and search of hybrid cloud. And if you haven’t yet seen X1 Search 8, please take it for a spin with a free trial available at this link.

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Filed under Desktop Search, Virtualized Environment