Equivio has reached the enviable position of being synonymous with de-duplication and data redundancy. It is not that no-one else does it, but Equivio specialises in it and has moved outwards from that specialist niche into the business functions which need it, whilst extending its reach into near-duplicates and e-mail thread technology.
I met CEO Amir Milo at the Masters Conference in Washington, and enjoyed my discussion with him. He implied that there was news in the pipeline, and a press release has duly turned up today. The item of most interest to me is that Epiq Systems have integrated Equivio e-mail threading into DocuMatrix. The Epiq web site has more details including the explanation that this enhancement (which is not the only one in Epiq’s latest upgrade) shows emails in the context of a conversation and highlights the “inclusive”, the last e-mail in a series which contains the complete text of previous messages in the thread.
What doe this mean in practical terms? Amongst today’s many messages, I have one involving fifteen messages and four people, each replying to to the last one in the thread. There is a high chance of such a thread – by which I mean its component e-mails – being coded in the same way. There is a high likelihood of them all relating to same issues, having the same privilege coding and so on. If a reviewer is steered to the top one, he or she might take a view about all of them which can be given effect to by a single click. Note the references to a “high likelihood” and to the idea that the reviewer “might” take a group view about them. It is not certain that they are all to have the same coding, nor is the reviewer compelled to treat them en bloc, but having them thrown together potentially obviates the need to open them all for coding purposes.
This is a good example of something which doubters ought to see with their own eyes before insisting that they must read every document. Much of the nervousness evaporates when you have the continuity and similarity drawn to your attention like this. And, of course, you can still decide to code them individually if they really do warrant it. Whilst there, ask to see the near-duplicate technology applied to OCR’d images and imagine what is involved in making the same comparisons by eye.
I digress. The same news post from Equivio refers also to the integration of Equivio tools into Catalyst and Altep products. The Catalyst link refers to an Equivio claim to reduce a document collection by as much as 60%. Looking through my emails from today, I reckon that represents roughly the reduction I would achieve if I subjected my own InBox and Sent Items folders to Equivio’s tools.
The banner on Equivio’s new web site says “Read less. Think more. Win big”. An English purist might object to the last line, but the “Read less – Think more” tag is as persuasive as it is succinct.
Litigation costs are very much on the agenda in the UK, and not just because of Lord Justice Jackson’s recently-announced review. Anything which cuts through the volumes of electronic documents quickly and safely – “safely” meaning with error margins at least as good as those you get with the army of lawyers whom you will otherwise employ to do the equivalent job – has got to be worth looking at. Identifying duplicates, near-duplicates and e-mail threads has the potential to reduce volumes very significantly, and to do so right at the start of the review process.