This afternoon I attended a lunch and learn session put on by the local paralegal association. They had a number of folks from AccessData in to talk about Summation and their other Litigation Support tools. Despite the fact that I probably won’t be using Summation on a day-to-day basis anymore, I was still curious to see what they had to say and get a feel for where AccessData is headed. Plus, I had missed on a couple of chances to meet Michelle Kovitch at other events, and figured this would be a good chance to make up for that 😉
Much of the event was spent listening to Kate Paslin, Assistant General Counsel at AccessData talk about where the various Litigation Support tools are headed, where they see a need for improvement, and how they plan to get there. She also ran through a bit of a demo of CaseVantage, their hosted review platform. (Which will also be available for self-hosting too), but I was more interested in hearing about how the plan on integrating all of their products. It seems that they are going to be taking the SQL back end of AccessData’s flagship product, FTK, and making it the back end of all of the products. Assuming they can pull it off, it would allow companies and law firms to simplify the process of moving data from one tool into another. If it’s got the same SQL back end, you can move data directly from FTK, into an ECA too, and then the culled data directly into a review tool, etc.
Plus, the upgrade to the FTK back end would eliminate some of the most common pain points in certain Summation iBlaze features. (i.e. the inability to OCR documents that are in a landscape orientation, not being able to OCR search a subset of the documents, etc.)
Can they get there, and create the one-stop shop that vendors keep claiming they are working towards? We’ll see.I think it’s a good sign that they are taking their message to the streets, traveling around to different places to talk about the roadmap, and then spending the latter part of the sessions having Michelle go over some tips and tricks, giving people things they can take back to their firms and use right now. Not only is that incredibly useful, but it helps create the sort of goodwill that will help AD get people’s attention when it comes to their promises to make things better with Summation. (In fact, I learned about their blog from Michelle today, which I had not known about previously. http://ediscoveryinsight.com/)
Goodwill will help AccessData get people’s attention, to a point. I think people are skeptical about where they are headed, and they need to get out in front of it and talk with folks about their concerns. These sorts of events will definitely help. Actually improving the Summation tool will help a lot more. I’m hopeful they can get it done, and whether I’m using it for my job or not, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.