What is AccessData Up to With Summation?

posted in: LawFirms, LitigationSupport | 0

As one of the Summation Certified Trainers who has kept current with the certification, I’ve had a bit of an inside look into where AccessData is taking the Summation product after purchasing the company. Clearly, their initial forays into redesigning the training and certification programs were not very well thought out, and they have even admitted that. Now that the dust has sort of settled on that, where do we find ourselves?

Well, for me, the changes mean that I will no longer be a Certified Trainer. As an in-house law firm user, I can’t possibly meet the requirements to be available to do training classes. I will, apparently, instead become some sort of Summation Certified Engineer, though I believe the exact details have not quite been ironed out. For others who were working as independent trainers, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Obviously, AccessData is seeking some control and consistency over how their product is being taught, but they’ve also put themselves in competition with many of those same trainers. I know many very good trainers who will be out on their own, without support from the “mothership” when it comes to training on Summation, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over time. I’ve always been a believer in “the more training options, the better”, but AccessData needs to put together a very good training program to compete.

That being said, bringing in Michelle Kovitch to run that training program was a pretty genius move, especially given the obvious lack of law firm insight initially showed by AccessData’s training folks. Michelle will get things pointed in the right direction, and get some good training resources put together. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with, as well as what the various certifications look like. I had, at the beginning of 2010, talked to some of our paralegals about getting a Power User certification, but with the company getting sold and that program being put on hold, it never really got anywhere. Now it appears those sorts of opportunities might be out there again for them, however with my no longer being a Certified Trainer, I may not be able to do the prep training for free. That will be the one real downside to losing that level of certification, if it turns out that way.

As far as the product, AccessData is going for the holy grail of end-to-end ediscovery, from using FTK for forensic collections, right through to using Summation as your case review, and building both iBlaze and Enterprise on a SQL backend. In theory, that sounds good. In practice most companies that have been trying to get this end-to-end solution have wound up with something that reminds me of every all-in-one printer I’ve ever worked with. Sure the printer does a whole bunch of things, but it doesn’t really do any of them all that well, and really just has more points of failure than usefulness. We’ll see if AccessData, or any other company comes up with one true end-to-end solution.

If you want to check out the recording of a recent webinar where they talked about all this, in more detail, I believe you can view it here.

What’s your view?

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