Last week, Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm, released their first annual “Critical Capabilities for E-Discovery Software” findings. The report measured leading e-discovery software applications against a set of nine criteria. To be included in the analysis, the software firm needed to have at least $20 million in annual revenue and be primarily an e-discovery software vendor (as opposed to a service provider). This is the same criteria they used for their e-discovery magic quadrant reports.

The report ranks the various applications in terms of how well they meet the overall EDRM, their collection, preservation and ECA capabilities, and their legal review performance. It includes a rubric and charts to show how the various scores were derived.

While the actual rankings are not too surprising, with all the usual suspects in the top third, the report contains a lot of useful information. The definition of each score component (forensic collection, legal hold management, etc.) is comprehensive, and the methodology is clear and concise. Even if you don’t agree with the actual scores (which are subjective to some extent), the report is a model to anyone who is looking to purchase or use an e-discovery application.