Here Are 27.7 Billion Reasons Why Collaboration Apps Have Become So Important in eDiscovery

Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

If you missed the webinar (Taming the eDiscovery and Governance Dragon: Experts Discuss Slack, Microsoft Teams and Other Collaboration Platforms) that I did last month with IPRO colleagues Charles Nguyen (Director of Strategic Partnerships), Frederic Bourget (VP Products) and Jim Gill (Content Marketing Manager), you can still watch it here – it was great and I learned a lot from the other panelists!  During the webinar, I relayed my Yogi Berra analogy as to why collaboration apps have become so important in eDiscovery today.  If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch it yet (you will, won’t you?!?), here is the essence of the analogy.

If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you probably know who Yogi Berra was. But, if you don’t, he was a famous player who had an interesting way with words and had various sayings (“Yogi-isms”) that caught on in the public eye because they were so oddly humorous – sayings such as “it’s never over ‘til it’s over” and “it gets late early out there”, referring to how dark a part of the outfield got before the rest of the field due to shadows during sunset.

When I think of email collections today, it reminds me of the Yogi Berra quote when a reporter asked him about a particular New York restaurant and he said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Think about that for a minute – it seems like a silly and stupid (yet funny) statement.  But, when you think about email communications today, we all get so many emails that it’s easy to miss important ones, or not be able to respond to them very quickly.  So, what are more people doing if they need to get hold of a co-worker or client in a hurry?  They’re sending texts and instant messages through messaging systems like Teams or Slack.  It’s getting to the point more and more that when you want to reach someone in a hurry via email, it’s become “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

See what I mean?  Silly and stupid, but logical nonetheless – at least in this context.

So, what does that mean for eDiscovery?  It means that there are more of those communications from other sources than ever – not just personal, non work-related communications, but actual work communications that are important and relevant.  A lot of people think of public and private text and messaging communications as relevant only for certain cases like personal injury and family law cases.  But, today, they’re likely to be relevant in most, if not all cases, because so many important work communications are being funneled through these apps.

What does that have to do with 27.7 billion reasons why collaboration apps have become so important – in many facets, not just eDiscovery?  Well, nothing.  But this does – last week, Salesforce agreed to acquire Slack for $27.7 billion.  That’s not Dr. Evil $100 billion territory, but as Larry David would say it’s “pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.”

According to an article in TechCrunch, Salesforce president and COO Bret Taylor said that “the Slack deal was worth the money because it really allows his company to bring together all the pieces of their platform, one that has expanded over the years from pure CRM to include marketing, customer service, data visualization, workflow and more. Taylor also said that having Slack gives Salesforce a missing communication layer on top of its other products, something especially important when interactions with customers, partners or fellow employees have become mostly digital.”

Interactions “with customers, partners or fellow employees” – gee, do you think those are discoverable when litigation happens?  You bet they are!

As Charles, Frederic, Jim and I discussed during the webinar, many organizations are not only using a collaboration app – they’re often using more than one.  I’ve seen organizations use Microsoft Teams for one Department (like Sales) and Slack for another department, like Product or Customer Success.  Slack Is especially popular as a communication platform for development teams.  As a result, in many cases, you may not only have data from one collaboration app to address in discovery, you may have data from two or three collaboration apps.  And, don’t even get me started on ephemeral messaging, for which a policy needs to be put in place before litigation even happens!  Otherwise, you could be spoliating data as soon as it does happen.

So, I’ve given you not only 27.7 billion reasons why collaboration apps have become so important in eDiscovery, I’ve given you that and a reason from Yogi Berra to boot!  What more do you need?

For more educational topics from Doug Austin related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, follow, eDiscovery Today! And as part of the continued educational partnership between IPRO and eDiscovery Today, he’ll be here in the IPRO Newsroom next week with more educational content!