eDiscovery software comes in many different flavors, making choosing an eDiscovery platform almost as complicated as the eDiscovery process itself. However, you can narrow the list of options down dramatically by first deciding between traditional software and SaaS (software as a service). Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Which one is right for your firm?
The Differences between Traditional and “On Demand” Software
You’re likely familiar with traditional software. It typically arrives on a disk (or can be downloaded) and is installed on a computer system or network server. Traditional software, including eDiscovery software, is purchased outright for a specific fee. However, annual license fees and per user fees may apply. It must be installed on a system that meets specific requirements. If the system does not meet those requirements, hardware upgrades may be required. In addition, traditional software typically requires a technician to install, maintain, and upgrade it. Any data entered into the software must be backed up and secured as well.
Software as a service, which is also referred to as “on demand” software, takes a different approach. Instead of purchasing the software outright and installing it locally, you pay a monthly fee to use the software online. With SaaS, the initial investment is minimal and there’s no need to purchase additional hardware. Everything is hosted online. There’s no need to install software or fiddle with upgrades because the software service provider handles all of that behind the scenes. In addition, all data entered into the application is backed up and secured by the service provider.
Now that you know the main differences between traditional and SaaS software, how do you know which one is the better choice? The answer depends on your long-term plans, existing IT capabilities, and personal preferences.
When to Choose Traditional eDiscovery Software
Choose traditional eDiscovery Software when you:
· Want a robust, turn-key system designed to handle eDiscovery and other legal processes
· Prefer to own the software rather than rent it
· Want to avoid recurring fees
· Have an existing IT staff capable of installing and maintaining both the software and its data
Traditional software has proven itself and isn’t likely to fade into oblivion any time soon. If you’re more comfortable with locally installed software, the traditional route is a tried and true one.
When to Choose On Demand eDiscovery Software
Choose a software as a service eDiscovery solution when you:
· Want to avoid large, upfront costs
· Lack an IT staff
· Prefer a hosted solution
· Want anytime, anywhere access
· Want to a solution that can grow with your firm without requiring additional hardware or IT costs
Like traditional software, software as a service can be a robust solution loaded with useful features. It can be extremely adaptable, and you can generally get started right away.
Both types of software have costs. Whether you prefer to pay a large chunk upfront or choose a monthly on demand software subscription could be a determining factor. Once you decide which way to go, you can then focus on the best eDiscovery software solutions in that particular category.