Thursday, June 11, 2015

Relativity Innovation Awards Spotlight: New Flavors for Managed Services

April 02, 2015 | Shana Kirchner | Platform StorySeen in the Field


Relativity Fest 2014 introduced the first annual Relativity Innovation Awards, which recognize exceptional custom applications built by Relativity users. One of our inaugural year’s winners, Iris ArcSM—built by Iris Data Services—enables the Relativity Premium Hosting Partner to offer diverse managed services and deployment options to their customers.

Adi Elliott, vice president of marketing at Iris, recently sat down with me to provide his perspective on Iris ArcSM, discuss how it’s affected their business and customers, and provide some tips for others looking to apply for the award.

Shana: What was the problem you needed to solve with this application?

Adi: Arc really came about because e-discovery managed services is our core business and previous to Arc, we had to go to market by offering straightforward infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) setups. Every time a prospect came to us, we had to tell them they’d need their own license of Relativity to get started—and then come to us to spin up in the infrastructure and help them get up and running.

So we saw this segment in smaller firms that wanted access to the technology and our services, but we couldn’t offer them a solution that met their specific needs. We had to take a step back and figure out how to solve that problem. That’s where Arc came in.

How did you decide to solve it, and how did you start?

We had a clear idea of what we wanted as an end result. From there, we set up a conversation or two with kCura so we could get a clear picture of whether or not this was possible—we wanted to clarify that our approach would work, and get their take.

Once we had their input, we had to scope out the development time and decide if we really wanted to embark on this. At this scale, it was a bigger process than we anticipated—but it became clear that we needed to do it.

Has Arc impacted your business the way you expected?

This has been one of the biggest business decisions we’ve made as an organization. Arc deals are our biggest sales pipeline, both in the number of deals and the revenue in it. It became even bigger than we expected. We were targeting a specific segment with this solution, but we found other firms appreciated the flexible options, too.

How can other users identify a problem to solve with a customization, and the best way to address the issue?

You end up customizing your software because there’s something you want to do that can’t be accomplished in Relativity alone. Sometimes you hear requests from users because there’s an expectation they have from using other software, or they want to follow a workflow that’s common in other parts of the legal industry. Users are most comfortable with processes they’ve mastered before—and if they’re used to a specific workflow that isn’t built in, you have the flexibility to do it in the platform anyway. These are reactionary customizations that help make your life easier.

But for us, extensions of what make you unique as a business are what’s really interesting—and I’d encourage folks to go this route. It helps differentiate you, and extends who you already are. What workflows or services make your customers stick with you? What’s your secret sauce for running in-house e-discovery projects?

Once you have an idea, definitely have a quick call with kCura’s custom development team to talk it through. They may tell you that it’s been done and give the solution to you; other times they’ll help you figure out how to accomplish it simply and effectively.

For bigger undertakings, be prepared to make big organizational decisions. Scope it out carefully and decide if you really want to be involved—because once you create it, you’re in the software business, in a way. You’ll need to maintain and update the application, support your user base, stay close to the Relativity roadmap, and plan ahead. Keep that in mind.

What advice do you have for users who want to apply for an Innovation Award?

Based on our experience, I’d say apply with something unique to your organization. A winning customization probably isn’t going to come from a reactionary workflow request. A winner will come from some unique business decision you had to make for your organization. Take a step back, look at your business, and build something that’s completely unique to your processes, the way you use Relativity, or the way you do e-discovery. The other ideas are really important—but they may not be the innovative ideas that are going to win it for you.


We’re excited to see our users getting more out of the platform. Keep an eye on for more updates on this year’s show, including details on the Relativity Innovation Awards. We'll begin accepting applications for the 2015 awards on April 30.

In the meantime, let us know in the comments how you’d customize Relativity to highlight a unique feature of your business—and don't forget, registration for Relativity Fest 2015 is now open at a special rate.

Relativity Fest Insights

By Guest Blogger: Iris Data Services, an Epiq Systems company