Calling All Qualified Project Managers!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since many of us were forced into remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The pandemic also accelerated several trends in eDiscovery that have only added to the challenges that organizations face today in managing their discovery workloads.  Speaking of “managing”, it’s never been a more important time for organizations to have qualified project management resources.  Here’s why.

Four Challenges That Organizations Face Today

Organizations have been presented with several challenges that have emphasized the importance of effective and qualified project managers in eDiscovery today. Here are four challenges that are putting the “squeeze” on organizations in 2021:

  • More Litigation Projects: According to eDiscovery Today’s 2021 State of the Industry Report, nearly half of eDiscovery professionals (44.8%) are already seeing a greater litigation workload since the pandemic began, with another 35.5% expecting a greater litigation workload to come, meaning that four out of five respondents (80.3%) has seen or expects to see more work resulting from the pandemic and the associated economic crisis.
  • More Internal Investigations: In September 2020, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners published the results of a survey of certified fraud examiners, which stated that 77% of surveyed certified fraud examiners saw an increase in the overall level of corporate fraud in 2020 and 92% expected to see an additional increase in the overall level of fraud during 2021.
  • More Compliance Activity: California’s California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) became effective in 2020 and Virginia just passed its Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA), requiring organizations conducting business in Virginia to comply with a specific set of data security and privacy requirements.  Other states have also been in various stages of enacting their own data privacy laws.  There are even new eDiscovery workflows that have resulted from the emphasis on data privacy throughout the world, including Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs), which give individuals the right to request information about the way companies handle their personal information.
  • Less Budget Flexibility: ComplexDiscovery conducts an eDiscovery Business Confidence survey quarterly, and, since the pandemic began, Complex Discovery has conducted four quarterly surveys.  Prior to the pandemic, the average percentage of respondents over those surveys that selected Budgetary Constraints as the factor with the most impact on eDiscovery business was less than 24%.  Since the pandemic, that average has jumped considerably to 50%, which is as much as the other four factors combined.  Clearly, organizations have become much more budget conscious since the pandemic!

In short, with more litigation projects, more internal investigations, more compliance activity and less budget flexibility, there are more projects than ever, with budgets that are (at best) static.  This means that the pressure to do more with less has never been greater!

Addressing Today’s Challenges Through Project Management

With many more eDiscovery projects to complete, how do organizations keep up?  If you paid attention to the title of this post, it’s through effective project management.  The more efficient an organization is at managing projects, the better equipped they will be to keep up with the increasing demands that discovery teams are faced with today.  Effective project management has always been the key to success in meeting your discovery deadlines, and that hasn’t changed in 2021.

What has changed, however, is the role of a project manager and the skills your project managers need to possess.  Sure, any project manager needs good communication skills to effectively manage a team and communicate with a client on deadlines and respond to the client’s requests and changing deadlines.  And a project manager needs effective organizational skills to create and maintain a project plan throughout the life cycle of a project to keep it on track and meet the project goals.  Those skills will always be important for project managers to be effective.

But today, qualified project managers need other skills too.  They need to fully understand eDiscovery technology and automation to automate those workflows to the extent possible, including support for conditional workflows for specific data types and error handling.  They need to keep processes running around the clock with minimal manual intervention and minimal need for tech operators to watch processes and wait for a process to complete, so that they can start the next process, because those operators are expensive.  They need to understand license management and multi-threaded processing to maximize the throughput of their technical environment.  And they need to be able to use analytics effectively to continue to improve the efficiency of processes and, of course, keep their clients fully informed as to status and expected completion of tasks and deliverables.

Today’s qualified project manager has not only the traditional project management skills than have been needed for a long time, he or she also has the skills and abilities to support an automated and analytical approach to eDiscovery.  If you are that type of qualified project manager, your skills are in high demand today because of the eDiscovery challenges that organizations are facing these days, the significant increase in the number of projects that they must support, and the budgetary constraints to get more done with less resources.

For more information regarding Rampiva’s Nuix Automation Capabilities, click here

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