The #1 new requirement for eDiscovery projects
Over the last few years there has been a real shift in thinking over the importance of Project Management in eDiscovery. With the increase in data volumes and challenges brought on by more diverse data types, comes the growth of more sophisticated technology and workflows. Processes are multi-facetted, the range of skill sets required to support eDiscovery matters continues to expand. This leads to growth within practise support teams in law firms as well as Legal Service Providers (LSP’s). As the workload increase more specialisation is required and as a result, job roles are increasingly being departmentalised.
With the duration of matters often spanning many months or even years, the service delivery machine needs to be kept well-oiled to run efficiently. A central control system is essential to monitor progress and keep things running. Where tracking spreadsheets and intranet sites once did the job, they are no longer fit for purpose. There are many information points which now need to be joined to maximise efficiency such as task management, time management, resource allocation, invoicing, communication, reporting. Without having these datapoints connected, the admin burden drives down efficiency, lack of consistency leads to errors and reporting information is hours or days old rather than real-time. In an increasingly competitive environment, it’s important to stay ahead of the pack, being able to offer services faster, better, cheaper.
To run efficiently, all this data needs to be centralised into a dedicated task management system. It needs to be easily accessible yet highly secure. It should be intuitive and drive good behaviours, automate processes and workflows, minimising the risk of errors.
eDiscovery has many moving parts and goalposts often shift unexpectantly. Those working on the front line need to have the tools available to them to allow them to perform at a high level, they need to be able to find information quickly, be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice and make the right decisions quickly. They also need to make sure costs don’t spiral so real-time billing information is essential.
Let’s look at five key areas that need to be effectively managed on a project:
- Task Management
- Control over the constant stream of requests being raised across many different projects.
- Instructions to various internal teams need to be clear, concise and consistent.
- The resource allocated to a task should match the paygrade.
- A full audit should be maintained to record when something was done, and by whom.
- Deadlines need to be monitored and managed.
- Costs need to be monitored and managed.
- Resource Management
- Available capacity to assist in determining deadlines.
- Operations calendar to help manage capacity at peak times and assist in leave scheduling.
- Team members activity to manage performance and allow managers to see when individuals are becoming overstretched.
- IM channels on individual tasks/projects which can record activity and decisions made during the process, forming part of the audit trail and replacing the inefficiencies of email.
- Standard email templates to allow for consistent messaging and to ensure all critical information is communicated with the client.
- Automated client feedback requests to assist in improving client satisfaction.
- Intuitive and simple time recording functionality which allows for billable time to be added without delay, ensuring accuracy and reduce risk of over or under billing.
- Exports of all billable time and items that can be sent to the client so to reduce client invoicing queries.
- Visual dashboard to allow key stakeholders to understand project spend.
- Two Factor Authentication and point-to-point data encryption to safeguard sensitive data held in the system.
- A central secure data repository to minimise the risk of data leakage.
- The ability to store data in the local jurisdiction can assist in complying with local data protection laws.
Hillogic’s ProjectNav has taken these principles and built a system based on real-world needs. ProjectNav is an all-in-one secure cloud solution. Highly customisable, it can be designed to accommodate the requirements of most task management workflows. The extended eDiscovery functionality is specifically geared towards eDiscovery as it has modules such as the media tracker and billing integration with Relativity.
ProjectNav clients have reported a dramatic increase in consultant productivity of around 20% after onboarding. “When we implemented ProjectNav across the firm, we saw a significant drop in non-billable time. The workload feedback from the team changed from ‘I’m flat out’ to ‘I want more projects to manage’. We would have to hire several more consultants to manage our current workload without ProjectNav” Jeff Jarrett, Director of Innovation Sky Discovery.
Practise support teams and LSP’s can no longer operate by simply hashing together various technologies, they need solutions to manage the workflow. Staff and clients are demanding better solutions. In an era of skills shortages and high staff costs, managing projects by email is no longer competitive. Without a doubt, task management platforms like ProjectNav will become a critical component of the overall service offering to stay competitive and increase profitability.