What is our primary use case?
We use Exterro as a glorified notification system. It was used by the Office of General Counsel and Debt Collections Group to notify employees that they needed to preserve emails or records, or whatever information they had that pertains to cases where we're suing members, for example. Legal hold matters.
It wasn't that we were necessarily using the tool for preservation of any kind. It was just that the old process was basically done through email — there was no structure behind it. That was kind of the main purpose for bringing Exterro in.
We are using a SaaS version of Exterro.
As far as increasing the usage, that might be TBD. We might expand and maybe other groups might use the tool. But for now, it's just mainly that first group, the Office of General Counsel, and the second group, Debt Collections.
How has it helped my organization?
As I mentioned, our old process had no structure around it. I guess you could say it's like an automated process. These emails are kind of generic, easy to track. So I would say that the benefit is more qualitative than quantitative. I think that would be the number one benefit — automating this process.
What is most valuable?
We like the reporting functionality. It just seems very clean. It just always looks like it can kind of slice and dice these reports and just show us the metrics that we need. I would say the reporting functionality is great.
What needs improvement?
I think one of the pain points I had was the number of emails that had to be sent out. If there was a way to just maybe reduce the bulk — that would be great. Like I mentioned before, OGC or the General Counsel, they're kind of the business owners of the tool. They're the ones that use it on a daily basis. So one of the things that would be helpful but we just can't do involves the way the role structures are set up. Any time that somebody outside of the Office of the General Council needs something, they need to contact the General Counsel directly in order to get that information from Exterro. I guess as far as a pain point, maybe a more robust role-based access model would be useful.
We had to go through a third-party to use it. I understand the risk because you don't want anybody to just go into Exterro and potentially see legal matters, but I think it's just the way we have it set up — it's an all-or-nothing type role-based model. That's why only the General Council can use it.
If the roles could be scaled in a way where let's say, a visitor role could come into the tool and view a report, that we can't do right now. So if there was a way to do that, I think that would be nice to have.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability-wise, I think it's really good. Phase one of the project only involved the office of the General Counsel, which was a smaller group, smaller number of legal matters, smaller number of emails, and things like that. But it was flexible. It had to be scalable because the volume that was coming from the second group, Debt Collections, was pretty big. So yeah, I would say that overall, it was good in that area.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We expanded the solution. We only have six or seven user licenses, so it's a small group. The way they use the tool is when litigation is received, they use the tool to notify people that they may have some information that needs to be preserved as part of a legal matter. As I said, a glorified notification system.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is good. We know the people to contact from the Exterro side. I can only think of one situation where we had a problem with one user who might've received a legal hold or a notification that wasn't supposed to go out. It was just a bug or something like that, but that was resolved pretty quickly. Other than that incident, we have rarely had to contact technical support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
The process that we had before was manual. For example, if I needed you to preserve something, I'd email that to you. I'd email you something letting you know, and then I track it on a spreadsheet. So it was a manual process.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was pretty straightforward.
What about the implementation team?
For deployment, we had a PM, we had a tech lead from our side, a few records and information management people — probably 10 people max. A combination of technical people, the PM, and some subject matter experts from the General Counsel side, the Debt Collection side, and the Records and Information Management side.
I think once we got past some of the testing and UAT, deployment happened within a month.
My role in it was from the Records and Information Management side. I needed to understand the tool: what records, if any, are being stored in it; ensuring retention policies were included; and things like that. As far as the design and customization, that was something that the Office of General Counsel was more involved in it because they were the ones that used the tool daily.
We used a waterfall approach for implementation.
We have some recurring maintenance, which I feel is standard.
What was our ROI?
As far as ROI, as I stated earlier, it's more qualitative than quantitative I'd say. It's a manual process that's automated now. There definitely was a kind of risk avoidance. So we lowered our risk because we have more control over the process. We're not at any risk of deleting information that shouldn't be deleted. We lowered that risk, but I don't know if I could associate a cost with that.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
We don't have that many licenses. But I'm assuming if we need to grow, that wouldn't be a problem. Can't really say much on the pricing, but the licensing part seems pretty straightforward because we might have more groups coming on and we'll be able to add those licenses.
What other advice do I have?
I would recommend Exterro. It seems to work just fine for the businesses that use it on a daily basis. I think there is even a preservation mechanism in the tool that you can add on, but we just haven't implemented it. There are tons of other things that you can do with it. So yes, I would recommend it. I would say it's a good tool.
The biggest lesson I've learned is that the tool can handle a large volume of notifications and emails. It takes a lot of manual processes out, saves time, and lowers overall organizational risks. Those are just some of the highlights that I learned going in because, I'll admit, when we first started looking at vendors, I had never heard of Exterro at that time. I would say that those items kind of highlight what I've learned from Exterro.
Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give Exterro a rating of eight.