From the mariachi band to morning mimosas at the Innovation Awards, Relativity Fest was a sight to see and experience. My initial goals for the Fest were simple: immerse myself in the technology, gain a better perspective into how other Relativity partners were gearing up for the cloud changes and try to understand how to best position MCS for the future in a cloud-based eDiscovery world.
Many of the sessions I attended were in the GPC (Global Partner Conference) category. Although I have always felt Relativity tries to do right by its partners, there seemed to be a heightened sense of this in 2018. Perhaps there has been a great deal of pushback by partners who only view RelativityOne as a power play to steal their hosting revenue; actually, I’m sure many providers do view the move this way. For better or for worse, this is the current situation and providers have three simple choices: 1) Find another platform; 2) Move to R1; or 3) Get out of the hosting business. Unfortunately for our business, there are many of what I call “slumlords,” who have their data in a semi-secure environment, charging clients exorbitant prices to have data and not providing much additional value beyond access to the platform. The value to being a Relativity provider or even an eDiscovery provider in general shouldn’t be centered around that simple premise.
This leads me to my favorite session, which was the discussion between Andrew Sieja and Taylor Rhodes, former CEO of Rackspace. Rhodes talked about the beginnings of Rackspace, but also the transformation that Rackspace needed to undergo to survive as Amazon entered their market. It was discussed that Rackspace evolved to more of a services model, building tools on top of AWS as opposed to boxing themselves into only supporting their own environment, which likely would have spelled doom for the company at that time and, in fact, probably did spell doom for many of the Rackspace lookalikes that didn’t evolve. So, while the consolidation of eDiscovery vendors will likely continue, I believe the overall value of the vendors will not. We will still pursue the endless goal of getting to the truth faster, whether by shrinking the data, using machine learning or AI tools to eliminate or include data or finding better ways of associating data. If all you are doing is holding the data and not leveraging the available tools to enhance the process, you will be yesterday’s copy vendor trying to squeeze the last penny out of printing 12 copies of exhibit binders to stay afloat.
The highlight of my Relativity experience was working with the Relativity marketing team to capture the essence of our upcoming Customer Win Case Study on video. They did a great job of prepping me, keeping me out of my “Brady Bunch” moment and gathering the life of the project that we worked on during the case study. I look forward to collaborating with the team in the future, a really great bunch! Special thanks to Nicholas Matejcak, Angie Ocasek for setting it up and Kelly Velisek of the Relativity marketing team!
Lastly, to the Innovation Awards. All of the awards were well deserved, going to innovative solutions whether from a vendor, law firm or individual. They highlight not only the innovation and ingenuity of those in the community, but also the number one difference for Relativity, which is that it is not just an eDiscovery tool, it is a platform, which now, as a cloud-based one, continues to propel upward.