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Acquisitions ahoy as NetDocuments buys the Decisiv email business from Recommind

Added on the 6th Jan 2015 at 12:50 pm
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NetDocuments today announced the acquisition of Decisiv Email from Recommind. This acquisition includes Decisiv Email’s development team as well as the technology. Decisiv Email is a mature, enterprise-grade email management solution with years of technology development in intelligent, predictive email filing, which will bolster NetDocuments’ service offering.

“This is truly a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts,” said Matt Duncan, CEO of NetDocuments. “Anyone in our industry who has seen or experienced Decisiv Email knows it’s simply the most powerful email management solution in the market. The Australian-based team brings a wealth of industry knowledge that will complement NetDocuments’ core service. We truly believe that combining Decisiv Email with NetDocuments will result in the most modern and intuitive matter-centric content management solution ever made available to the legal market.”

Richard Verschoor, former managing director of Decisiv Email and now VP of NetDocuments Email Management, stated, “While other document management vendors tout predictive filing, no vendor has anything close to the advanced predictive algorithms contained in Decisiv Email. Building predictive algorithms that actually work, takes years of iterative development and we’ve been building and working on Decisiv Email technology for nearly ten years.”

NetDocuments will support existing Decisiv Email customers and intends to integrate some components of the Decisiv Email technology with NetDocuments’ proven cloud-based infrastructure. “By combining these two technologies and organizations, there’s no other vendor in the market with more skill, experience, and passion in SaaS document and email management,” Alvin Tedjamulia, NetDocuments CTO, stated. “With this purchase, NetDocuments will continue to provide unprecedented levels of simplicity, usability, and mobility when it comes to a modern document and email management platform.”

BACKGROUNDER:

NetDocuments say email continues to grow at a staggering pace and firms are struggling to incorporate, protect, file, and manage email in the document management system. The Decisiv technology will bring several key components to email management that will improve the ease of use when filing and managing email. Key features for effective email management across the firm’s matters, clients, and internal communication include:

  1. Predictive filing to the DMS – The Decisiv technology allows for robust predictive filing based on key criteria such as To, From, Cc, Subject, contents, etc. Predicted locations are visually ranked, indicating probability and enabling filing to the correct matter with just one click. Automatic filing can be enabled with a set threshold (e.g. email that reaches a 95% confidence rank or higher will be automatically filed to the predicted matter).
  2. De-duplication – Email is filed to the content management system once, regardless of how many individuals file it.
  3. Folder Mapping – Select folders in Outlook and map to the document management system. Email filed to mapped folders will be sent to the DMS.
  4. Global filing indicator – Email is visually tagged in Outlook for all internal recipients to see in their own mailboxes, indicating it has been filed to the DMS regardless of who in the firm filed it.

Will NetDocuments continue the Decisiv brand? No. NetDocuments is rebranding Decisiv Email to be NetDocuments Email. NetDocuments Email is separate from NetDocuments EMS Folders and EMS Profiler. Recommind will however continue to use the Decisiv brand for other products in its portfolio.

What happens to the existing customers? NetDocuments will continue supporting existing Decisiv Email customers. Recommind has communicated to existing customer firms that the technology, future enhancements, and ongoing technical support will now be owned, managed, and operated by NetDocuments. This technical support can come in the form of phone calls, ticket requests, or access through the support site (https://support.netdocuments.com/home).

Is the software changing? Decisiv Email 3.11 will continue to be supported at existing customer firms. NetDocuments will incorporate some of the Decisiv technology into our datacenter infrastructure to reduce the on-premises requirements for future editions of NetDocuments Email.

What is the technology roadmap for NetDocuments Email? NetDocuments will continue to support and enhance the current Decisiv product and provide full support for its existing customer firms. In addition to supporting customers and the current Decisiv product, NetDocuments will enhance the service by incorporating components of the technology with NetDocuments’ leading cloud-based SaaS infrastructure.

COMMENT: This story has been bubbling under the radar since the Thanksgiving Weekend when we caused a number of tech industry execs to choke on their pumpkin pie by asking them about the deal. Decisiv is a predictive email filing system that was originally developed in-house by the Gerard Neiditisch and his team at Mallesons Stephen Jacques (now King & Wood Mallesons – hence the Australian connection) and was subsequently purchased by Recommind. Recommind have since sold the system into about 20 sites globally but in the fall of 2014 began looking to divest themselves of the system.

As it goes, this is a win-win system all around. Recommind found themselves restricted by the fact most law firms want email management to be an integrated part of their document management system – not least because in most matters, the ratio of emails to traditional documents is now something like 70 : 1. Recommind’s options were therefore: to keep a non-core product ticking over OR develop a DMS OR end-of-life Decisiv and risk damaging relations with their customers OR find a suitable partner to buy it. (Another drawback Recommind faced is that most law firms would already be running three content management platforms – Exchange/Outlook + DMS + email archiving, such as Mimecast – so adding a fourth product – email management – from another vendor into the mix was not an attractive option.)

From the NetDocuments perspective, they felt that nobody – apart from Decisiv – had really cracked the email filing issue, with many traditional players still relying on little more than drag and drop, whereas Decisiv offered an intuitive predictive/suggested filing algorithm that effectively learns from users’ filing choices. Matt Duncan said the company did consider whether an alternative would be to build its own system but concluded that the time it would take to replicate the 10+ years of R&D that had already gone into Decisiv made buying the sensible option.

NetDocuments is the future of document management for law firms, period

As for the customers? Well, they get to see their product continue (rather than be end-of-lifed) + they have the continuity of support from the same people who have been involved in its R&D for the past decade + they will benefit from the extra resources NetDocuments will adding to the mix, both in terms of taking the product forward and integrating it with a full DMS + they will have one lest vendor/product to manage and integrate.

Matt Duncan believes the new combination of effective email management and cloud-based DMS enables NetDocuments to deliver a compelling message to law firms looking to switch from a traditional DMS provider, as well as further weakening the appeal of any SharePoint-maybe-someday offerings. Meanwhile Derek Schueren, one of the co-founders and a managing director of Recommind is confident the deal is in the best interests of the company’s customers and that they will enjoy a good transitional experience. In a comment that it bound to outrage other DMS vendors and the Microsoft fan-boys, he adds “We see NetDocuments as the future of document management for law firms, period.”

One Comment

  1. Charles Christian says:

    Credit where credit is due to Sebastian Carey in Chile – he’s the Neil Cameron of South America – who first tipped us off about the Decisiv Email deal back in August.

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