Predictive Analytics and Big Data with Higher Costs to Boot

July 19, 2012

Predictive analytics and big data are two of the biggest buzzwords in the legal and It professions at the moment. Both deal with the beneficial power of analytics, but soon the two concepts will meet and combine. Knoll Ontrack wrote “Predictive Coding Helps Tackle Big Data” explaining what will happen when the two shall meet. The article explains that as big data becomes more widespread it will make the e-disclosure process more expensive.

Predictive coding could make big data more cost-effective just as it makes attorney fees lower:

“However, having a mushrooming quantity of data means that when an e-disclosure request is issued, it takes even longer to trawl through information, identify relevant documents and compare duplicates. With the increasing time it takes, legal costs can skyrocket, a worrying trend for businesses in the current climate where margins are already stretched thin. For this reason the introduction of predictive coding in likely to be popular as it leaves the legwork to a sophisticated algorithm, finding relevant documents which can then be reviewed more closely.”

Can you take some of the marketing assertions about predictive methods and win at the race track or the stock market? I know that I would not invest my retirement savings in systems which purport to tell the future. Software can provide some guidance, but the decision making requires human effort. Cost cutting and dreams of sugar plums may be behind some of the bold assertions about the magic of predictive methods. Run a query for “predictive analytics” on Google You will have an opportunity to work through the assertions directly. Doing one’s homework reduces some of the risks associated with embracing methods which are often a blend of math and marketing. Expensive? We agree. Possibly higher costs. We would suggest greater risk in some situations.

Stephen E Arnold, July 19, 2012

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