Data analytics, Hadoop, and future insights beyond database reports from matter management programs

People in legal departments who want to make sense out of the large volume of data generated by their various software programs, notably their matter management system, have several choices for how to dig through and make sense of that data.

Open source software called Hadoop lets users sift through massive data sets quickly and cheaply. Two startups, Datameer and Cloudera, offer variations that simplify use of Hadoop. Software like this may liberate law departments from thralldom to rows and columns as their architecture of storage and search; according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Sept. 12, 2011 at 72, “Hadoop can handle data that don’t fit into spreadsheets.”

This topic is beyond me technologically, but it suggests much more powerful, yet relatively inexpensive tools to help us learn from the increasing volumes of data law departments accumulate. Here are several related posts (See my post of Dec. 18, 2006: five common ways to report on data; Dec.12, 2007: Pfizer and Business Objects for its dashboard; May 8, 2008: exporting data from a matter management system to a spreadsheet; Feb. 15, 2009: third-party report writers; March 20, 2009 #1: visualization query language from Tableau Software; Feb. 10, 2010: software that may help in-house counsel make decisions on data; and May 25, 2011: third party report writers in order of number of users.).

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