by Chris Brown
on October 21, 2019
For our tenth annual Relativity Fest, our traditional keynote kicked off the conference for more than 2,000 attendees. Before I became Relativity’s chief product officer, I had the honor of being in the audience of Relativity Fest, and it’s been amazing to talk to and learn from so many of you who work in our software every day.
And there was no better way to celebrate you than starting with our founder Andrew Sieja taking the stage to reflect on 10 years of Relativity Fest. What he had to say embodied what the event is all about this year: when a vibrant history meets a bright future, things get pretty magical.
He then handed the mic to Mike Gamson, our new CEO, who shared the stage with a number of folks representing the best of what the Relativity community has accomplished—and the most exciting developments on our horizon.
Here’s a look at what we shared.
Mike began with details on his first 100 days as CEO of Relativity. His mission for this period was critical: to get to know our product, our customers, and our talent more deeply.
By the time that 100-day mark rolled around on October 8, Mike had earned RCA status, met face-to-face with more than 70 Relativity customers around the globe, and had conversations with almost every single one of the 1,000 employees here at Relativity.
Reflecting on these experiences, Mike talked about how inspired he is by the fact that our industry and company are full of passionate people who do important work for good reasons—people who deserve only the best to support their efforts.
That’s why one of the themes of Relativity Fest 2019 is empowerment.
The bottom line is that we know it’s the people—not the technology—fighting for justice out in the world, each and every day, in the legal space. We’re honored to play a small part in some of those stories. Our vision is to simplify and accelerate the work it takes to do that, so that positive influence can come about more swiftly when it’s needed most.
After Mike, I took the stage at Fest to show how our engineers’ hard work is making its way into the platform.
In a rapidly evolving space like ours, there’s no rest when it comes to innovation. We’re committed to tackling tomorrow’s challenges as well, including artificial intelligence, exploding data volumes, and an increasingly frenetic security landscape (in fact, we’re introducing Bug Bounty—an invitation-only program for qualified hackers to try and uncover vulnerabilities in RelativityOne and share their findings with us—to help us make our security profile stronger by the day).
At our core, we want to make it easier for our customers to organize data, discover the truth, and act on it—and that means working smoothly, end-to-end, in Relativity. Quite a few areas of the platform are getting fresh updates in service of that priority.
More than 91 percent of the Fortune 500 is already invested in the cloud, using Microsoft Office 365 to streamline their work. Collect for RelativityOne is now available to help your team collect data directly from Office 365 quickly and easily, without ever leaving Azure, with automatic processing of documents. We’re also thrilled to share that Collect will integrate with Slack. With more than 12 million daily active users, Slack is changing the way businesses communicate—and Relativity is keeping up.
Data collections don’t get any easier than with Collect for RelativityOne. Take a look.
e-Discovery is all about the details, and nobody wants this complex work slowed down by tedious setup and administrative tasks. In 2020, RelativityOne users will be able to speed up e-discovery by creating automated workflows, which can automatically run jobs and tasks upon completion of specific events. For instance, administrators can automate simple tasks like building search indexes when new documents are added to a case, and steps during review like automatically imaging and OCRing documents tagged as responsive.
Relativity case templates will contain a library of common automated workflows to help users get started quickly, but they’re also fully customizable by administrators to accommodate different matter types or unique processes. In addition, automated workflows will be fully extensible for developers—allowing our community to build support for new and creative types of triggering events and actions.
Relativity’s automated workflows lay a foundation for an exciting future: a future where case teams, investigators, and many others can discover the truth faster instead of having to pause for setup and configuration.
Data is changing. There are 5.1 billion mobile users, 4.39 billion internet users, and 3.48 billion social media users in today’s digital landscape. The information they’re creating may be unfamiliar or different than traditional e-discovery data, but it can’t be avoided. Tackling it is non-negotiable.
Last year, we announced short message discovery, which enables you to easily review, analyze, and produce short message data from SMS, MMS, iMessage, Slack, Bloomberg, and Skype. Earlier this year, we partnered with Cellebrite, a global leader in mobile collections and forensics. We are continuing to build momentum with this partnership: ingestion of Cellebrite’s mobile data collections is now automated to seamlessly and rapidly make that data available for your review teams.
All of these accommodations help, but what really accelerates a review is machine learning. Active learning in Relativity has analyzed three-quarters of a billion documents to date, spanning more than 4,600 projects. To make it even easier to integrate active learning into your workflow, we’ve added the option to review family documents in your projects. Family-based review helps accelerate the human review side of active learning even further, and it’s simple for a project admin to toggle on: just a click during project setup.
Every e-discovery team has been there: you’ve finally reached the conclusion of a project, with your production ready to go out the door. But then something changes—redactions get edited or a few new documents need to be thrown in, and suddenly that final production isn’t so final after all.
Traditionally, such a change meant scrapping your entire production job and starting over. No more. Coming with the Indigo release for RelativityOne—set to go live in January 2020—you’ll be able to re-produce documents without compromising Bates numbers or re-running the entire job.
That means you can make small changes like adding or removing a select number of documents, overlaying a new version of a produced document to reflect changes in redactions, changing a native file for a slip sheet, and more, without having to start over and re-run the production. You can even make changes to multiple productions at once.
Some of the most exciting stuff we shared wasn’t just about what you can do with Relativity, but how you’ll do it.
We want to make Relativity default simple, optionally advanced—and always powerful. You shouldn’t need to wade through endless clicks or scrolls to get what you need, and doing your everyday work should be intuitive. We’re doubling down on the user experience in Relativity to innovate it on three dimensions: performance, workflow optimization, and a modern UI.
The idea is to help both novice and even advanced users to feel ready to hit the ground running, without sacrificing the power that makes Relativity what it is.
To get there, we’re turning to important metrics like time spent on a task, the number of clicks it takes to get from point A to point B, and cursor travel—and we’re doing it for every persona in the platform, setting a baseline for common workflows across user types and identifying ways we can improve the experience for all of you.
Some of the resulting improvements have already been made. For example, the introduction of field categories cuts down huge lists of metadata fields as you’re building searches and moving through your data. Additionally, a new image and production viewer has significantly improved doc-to-doc speeds (and when we say “significantly,” we mean we’ve clocked a 250 percent improvement), so you’re not waiting on Relativity to get through your batches—and there’s a similar update coming for the native viewer.
Our overall goals are much bigger, though. It’s not just about streamlining workflows and improving performance. It’s about achieving a more modern look and feel that meets the demands of every user—about building a totally new UI framework that’s easy to navigate and helps everyone from first-timers to admins feel more confident in their work and the power of the platform supporting them.
To that end, folks from our product team have been traveling the globe to meet with customers and learn about what they want and need from Relativity’s user interface. And we’re not stopping there: next year, we’re making UX conversations a priority for all user groups. You’ll be able to provide feedback, see early previews of the updates we’re making, and become a creator in the Relativity community as we embark on the next generation of the platform.
We’re calling that next-generation UI Aero, and we can’t wait to roll it out for you in 2020. In the meantime, here’s a preview of what’s to come.
Relativity is here to serve you, and so are the people behind it. You have invested so much time building your team, your career, and your business on our software. It’s our privilege to build a platform and a UX that’s worthy of you and the work you do every day.
The bottom line? We want Relativity to empower you to do even more—to harness digital disruption and realize success on your projects and professional goals. As always, please let us know how we can help you get there.
Cheers to the tenth annual Relativity Fest, and to all that lies ahead!
Chris Brown is the chief product officer at Relativity. He leads our product and user experience teams and is responsible for the development of Relativity’s product vision, strategy, and product roadmap in collaboration with engineering.
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