More news on the storage M&A front and once again it's about EMC. EMC announced that they are acquiring Kazeon a self avowed “leader in eDiscovery” tools. Stripped of all the eDiscovery hoopla, Kazeon makes a decent indexing and classification rules engine. In that space, it is a very useful thing indeed.
What Kazeon does is catalog and index your data and run the information past a rules engine to generate additional metadata. Again, that's good but only as good as the rules. They also layer on some analytics which is all the rage in eDiscovery. Analytics are also only as good as the data and metadata and, in my opinion, overemphasized in the eDiscovery market. But that's just me...
Kazeon is a hand in glove fit for EMC. For many years now EMC has looked to get past selling just hardware and has wanted to sell systems to store and manage data. That's a great strategy since it creates new value but sticks to their knitting. Kazeon is another value added tool that EMC can add to their toolbox.
The Kazeon acquisition also gives them some eDiscovery street cred. They have been trying to play in the eDiscovery sandbox for years, mostly through their Documentum offerings. Nothing wrong with that since the majority of eDiscovery work is about workflows anyway. However, automated tools for tracking data also are important not only to discovery during litigation but also to insure compliance with in-house data retention rules. And by retention I mean destruction. But you knew that didn't you...
The dirty secret about data retention is that no one can really comply with their own internal rules without knowing where and what all their data is. Knowing where all your data is is a really hard problem to solve. That's where Kazeon comes in. They create catalogs of vast amounts of data that allows you to better comply with discovery rules, a preservation and legal hold, and internal data retention policies.
So, Kazeon is an obviously good thing but why is it good for EMC? Actually, there are two (probably more) reasons why this works so well. First, it adds value. If I buy tons of EMC storage, the Kazeon/EMC products will help me to know what I have on it. Second, those catalogs of information and metadata need, you guessed it, more storage. It's the reason Documentum was such a good deal for EMC. It lets you get more value from your stored data and makes you store more data. A twofer for EMC.
EMC will now be able to deliver, by itself, one of the most comprehensive information management systems available. By combining Documentum, Kazeon, and all the other tools EMC has at its disposal, plus hardware, they will be able to deliver an information management solution that will make lawyers squeal with delight.
That's not to say it's perfect. Kazeon can't help you if someone dumps their files onto a flash drive or emails a smoking gun document to their Gmail account. Smartphones and PDAs are also a challenge that Kazeon will not help with. Still, they hit all the high notes and do better than what most companies do - which is nothing!
As an aside, Kazeon also has an intellectual property (IP) management component to their systems. IP management and eDiscovery are very similar problems – you need to know what data you have where, in order to comply with rules and regulations. EMC has often touted Documentum as an IP management tool. They haven't gotten too far with that since it takes so much effort to set up Documentum to do IP management. Unless you are already committed to Documentum across the company, there are better out of the box IP solutions. Kazeon will give them some more heft in that space. It will allow EMC to automate many of the sticky tracking and classification tasks associated with IP management, especially in preventing leakage. It's not there yet, but getting better.
I don't know if EMC is full yet after eating up so many companies. Kazeon is quite a tasty and healthy morsel for them though. It makes good, strategic sense. I wonder if they left room for dessert.