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Clearwell Refreshes Data-Discovery Platform

Clearwell Systems is pushing out a new enterprise version of its e-discovery platform, featuring 60 new features that range from de-duplication functionality to expanded support of data sources and languages.

The four-year-old vendor's Clearwell E-Discovery Platform 3.0 version can be installed and running in under a half hour, according to Kamal Shah, vice president of marketing, and can help companies deal what he describes as the "three flavors" of electronic document-discovery needs. The initial version debuted in 2006, and the last updated version, 2.5, was released late last summer.

"There's litigation, regulatory inquiries and corporate investigations taking place, and they're all requiring companies to cull through growing piles of data -- that can be time- and cost-intensive, Shah told InternetNews.com.

"Our product lets companies and law firms do e-discovery work eight to 10 times faster and our analysis tool can help them cull out 75 to 80 percent of irrelevant data," he said.

E-discovery efforts will increase dramatically going forward, thanks to new regulatory requirements that came into effect at the end of last year. Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure now dictate that companies preserve and produce electronically stored information when required.

E-mails comprise a good chunk of that electronic document pile are, Brian Babineau, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst, told InternetNews.com.

"Eighty percent of the electronic document events a company has to deal with involves messaging, and companies need an efficient way to review and process relevant messages for litigation cases," Barbineau said. "Clearwell's product builds a messaging index and provides analytics to do sophisticated searches so you can determine patterns, trends and group messages to threads for easy review,"

Barbineau says building out the content you need to provide is key, so lawyers don't end up with the entire e-mail load.

Electronic discovery tools such as Clearwell's also help companies scale out and manage all the electronic data tied to a specific litigation or internal investigation case, the analyst said. Given the increasingly regulatory and litigious business environment, that type of document management is a necessity.

"This [the regulatory environment] is changing the way companies handle, store and protect data, and e-discovery has to be proactive. There's more of an onus on companies to make sure they're able to produce data and yet not have to spend millions each time," said Shah, adding that updated tool lets companies efficiently analyze electronic evidence -- whether it'd be e-mail or documents -- to create relevant data sets for review.

The product's distributed, 64-bit, case-based architecture now provides case-specific dashboards, security, auditing and reporting features. The new version also provides central administration across an entire cluster of data appliances.

Another new feature is dynamic processing that lets companies de-duplicate data across an case data set, which Clearwell says can help cut analysis time and review workload demands. Every reference to a document is tracked, and the new version now supports integration with third-party litigation support databases via Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) compliant XML load file.

User can now filter data by custodian, domain, organization, group, internal or external communication and file type. A SmartTagging features provides automatic coding of documents based on predefined criteria, which Shah says speeds up the analysis and review process.

The product now supports more than 400 document types and 16 languages, including multiple versions of Lotus Notes NSF, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft PST, Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF.

"We're seeing a shift in the way enterprises address e-discovery, with many legal, security and compliance teams seeking in-house solutions to accelerate early case assessments, lower costs and gain control of e-discovery," Shah said in a statement. "With Clearwell 3.0, enterprise customers can now manage hundreds of cases and thousands of users within a single deployment, further increasing the ROI from adopting e-discovery technology."

If market statistics prove right, more companies than ever will be grabbing electronic data discovery tools. According to the fifth-annual Socha-Gelbmann Electronic Discovery Survey Report, released in August 2007, the electronic data discovery market will exceed $4 billion by 2009.

The survey estimates that 2006 commercial electronic discovery revenues were about $1.9 billion, a jump of 51 percent from 2005.