Recommind (www.recommind.com) has launched a new version of its MindServer platform, which includes new eDiscovery functionality that enables enterprises to quickly and easily locate electronically stored information that must be preserved—and produced—for ongoing or anticipated litigation. The company said the new MindServer 5.0 also adds improved APIs (application program interfaces) to make the platform more friendly for OEM partners and offers significant performance improvements. Recommind has historically been a leader in the legal marketplace, but, with the debut of the capabilities in this new version, it expects to accelerate adoption within other information-intensive vertical markets, including retail, pharmaceuticals, media, and healthcare.
The MindServer 5.0 enterprise search and categorization platform automatically organizes, manages, and distributes large volumes of information from multiple sources, including documents, presentations, emails, Web pages, newsfeeds, and data from other applications. It features a conceptual search capability so that users can retrieve relevant documents that don't contain the exact keywords used for a search.
The debut of the new eDiscovery component in MindServer 5.0 was driven by the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), which went into effect on Dec. 1, 2006. U.S. companies now have an obligation to preserve relevant information (documents, email, etc.) when litigation commences or can be reasonably anticipated. Failure to preserve and provide such potential evidence can result in fines, court sanctions, discovery penalties, and adverse judgments. (Morgan Stanley was fined $15 million in May 2006 when it failed to provide email messages related to investigations.) Forrester Research expects the eDiscovery technology market to grow from $1.5 billion in 2006 to $4.9 billion by 2011 (note: this does not include consulting or forensics).
Recommind claims that MindServer 5.0 is unique among enterprise search solutions in its ability to quickly identify and find potentially relevant and responsive enterprise information that must be preserved as part of a litigation hold, a requirement of any legal proceeding. In many enterprise environments, the MindServer platform itself can lock down any document or other piece of information returned in a search query. Otherwise, MindServer 5.0 is able to pass the results set from any query to a separate application, such as a content management system or a database, for immediate litigation hold lockdown. The company also said that MindServer 5.0 supports multiselection filters within the user interface, a prerequisite for the highly comprehensive and detailed searches needed for effective litigation hold.
Browning Marean, partner at DLA Piper US LLP, said: "Recent revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) specifically address Electronically Stored Information (ESI), what it is and how it must be produced during litigation. Before large enterprises can even attempt to produce such information, however, they must identify and preserve it, which can be extremely difficult and time-consuming under the best of circumstances. The litigation hold feature in MindServer 5.0 is an elegant solution to this vexing problem."
Craig Carpenter, Recommind's vice president of marketing, said that manual solutions to the document-preservation needs of large enterprises can be too slow and not sufficiently accurate. Solutions from email-archiving vendors don't cover other critical components, such as file servers, databases, CRM systems, and Web servers. Outsourcing to litigation-support firms is expensive and can be disruptive. Carpenter explained that an ideal solution to eDiscovery and litigation hold would be easy to use, accurate and relevant, and would overlay legacy databases and applications—all features offered by MindServer 5.0. He also said that Recommind's customers want an automated system that learns on-the-fly (for example, that "poison pill" relates to takeovers) and one that scales and maintains performance. "The more dynamic the environment, the greater need there is for Recommind."
Companies will definitely have to be more proactive about e-document preservation, no matter what solution they choose. Industry experts seem to feel that the new rules will boost the demand for all types of tracking and archiving solutions. Some vendors are calling it an opportunity.
Analyst Michael Dortch, director of IT infrastructure management strategies at Robert Frances Group, said that the average large corporation probably faces about 50-80 serious lawsuits at any given time. He said that companies with lots of rapidly changing information and that are highly regulated will see the attraction of this type of software solution—when failure to comply can mean "dollars on the table in significant amounts." He thinks that "2007 will be a tipping point," as enterprises respond to FRCP. Dortch also said that he expects to see more alliances and partnerships among enterprise-solutions vendors, as well as more M&A activity. Recommind will be in a good position, he said, since the company "understands the business side of the problems, not just the technology."
Recommind's customers include the U.S. National Library of Medicine, DuPont, the Australian government, and Bertelsmann AG. Founded in 2000 by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, MIT, and Brown University, Recommind is privately held and reports that it is profitable. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in New York, London, and Bonn, Germany.
For Further Information
For more information on Recommind and its technology, see the NewsBreak from May 22, 2006, about the launch of MindServer 4.2 (http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=15785).
For more information on FRCP, see the cover article by Jonathan Spira in the January 2007 issue of KMWorld, "Electronic content—a federal case" (www.kmworld.com/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=18860), and an article in InformationWeek by Rick Whiting, "New Data-Archiving Rules Impact IT Managers" (www.informationweek.com/management/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=196800629&subSection=Global).
Also see the information about FRCP posted by LexisNexis at https://www.lexisnexis.com/applieddiscovery/lawLibrary/courtRules.asp.Material regarding the amendments to FRCP is available on the U.S. Court's Federal Rulemaking site at www.uscourts.gov/rules/congress0406.html.