The Cleveland Browns Score Big with Sherpa Altitude

Client: Cleveland Browns
Industry: Professional Sports
Business Challenge
The Browns were using Sherpa’s Discovery Attender for eDiscovery but needed a more robust enterprise-wide platform that could also accommodate legal hold and allow their IT and legal departments to coordinate efforts in a single solution. And the file shares they needed to search had turned into a “wild west” of data sprawl. The solutions on the market suggested by colleagues and Gartner research failed to meet the Browns’ operational needs and budget.
Business Solution
Sherpa’s Altitude IG® -- the enterprise upgrade from Discovery Attender -- met the Browns’ needs for a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution that covered all their needs.
Business Results
The Browns estimate that they reduced the time to conduct searches by 65% and reduced the amount of data necessary to turn over to counsel by 60% due to elimination of “noise.” They also implemented policy enforcement that immediately recaptured 2 TB’s of storage space on their public file drive.
“The results and support have been great and we are looking forward to conducting our review process quicker and easier.”
- – Brandon Covert, Director of IT, Cleveland Browns

The increasing complexity of eDiscovery

In 2012, the Browns adopted Sherpa’s on-premises eDiscovery software Discovery Attender. They liked its quick, easy installation and the user-friendly interface that makes it easy to search email and files. But with the increasing complexity of their litigation requests, they found themselves wanting a more robust enterprise-wide solution that could also incorporate a litigation hold process.

And in addition to eDiscovery, they were facing data storage issues that required a more reliable information/policy management tool.

The Search Begins and Ends with Sherpa Software

The Browns wanted a solution that offered the same flexibility, ease-of use, and cost-effectiveness they had come to know and love in Discovery Attender. Initially unaware that Sherpa had launched a SaaS platform for eDiscovery and data governance, they built a short list of possible solutions by soliciting referrals from the NFL’s close-knit network and reviewing Gartner research. They quickly realized that from both an investment and operational perspective, those solutions would not be a good match for their needs. They contacted Sherpa Software to investigate their options and got introduced to Altitude IG®.

Altitude IG satisfied the Browns’ key objectives for a cost-effective, easy-to-use platform from an organization they’d trusted for more than three years. And Sherpa’s flexibility enabled them to suggest the addition of valuable new features, like returning the full text of search results to better facilitate review.

While policy enforcement wasn’t a prerequisite, they were also in the process of revising their document retention standards and trying to enforce policies. The Browns initially thought they would need two different solutions for eDiscovery and policy enforcement, and they were pleasantly surprised to find that Altitude IG offered a comprehensive, cost-effective solution to meet both needs in one platform.

The Implementation and Use of Altitude IG

Adding Collaboration and Automated Legal Hold

The Browns’ process for eDiscovery includes IT, general counsel, paralegals, and several interns. The search, collection, and review processes needed big improvements. The inefficiencies were illustrated by IT needing to relinquish their offices to the legal team in order to complete the internal review process once searches were complete. Altitude’s role-based access facilitates collaboration between departments: search and review of results can be done from any device with a web browser, so IT can initiate searches of the infrastructure while the legal team determines the relevance of the search results.

Altitude IG’s eDiscovery module also offers automated legal hold notifications and tracking, eliminating manual processes and the need to share spreadsheets between IT and legal. This defensible, repeatable process automates initial notifications; reminder notices; and custodian acceptances; which greatly reduces the time; risk of evidence spoliation; and expense needed to set up and execute a hold. Now the Browns could react quickly to legal hold requirements for multiple matters, customize legal hold templates, and easily send customizable questionnaires with the notices.

eDiscovery Plus Policy Enforcement

The internal public drive used to share documents between the Browns’ departments had turned into to a “wild west” of storage locations. All personnel including vendors, partners, and interns could see and save information to the shared drive. The Browns had tried to incorporate their own process to delete documents from shared storage after 30 days, but unfortunately, the system proved unreliable. They replaced it with Altitude IG policy enforcement. “We have run our policy already on a public file share to identify older content and delete it. Our old system was unreliable so we replaced it with Altitude IG and the system is running great. Now we have no more worries,” said Brandon Covert, Director of IT.

Ease of implementation and support

The Sherpa customer success team worked with the Browns every step of the way to implement Altitude IG. “The Sherpa support team has been great. They take the lead on any issue during installation and communicate throughout the process so we understand it and can manage it moving forward,” said Covert. “We don’t want to rely too much on a third party and they keep us involved. Since the install, it has worked great. If there is an issue, Sherpa usually reaches out to notify us and request access to fix it before we are even aware an issue exists,” added Brandon.

Results and Current State of the Project

The Browns are extremely pleased with how Altitude has improved their processes. “We are only using approximately 20% of what Altitude IG can do,” said Covert. “The results and support have been great and we are looking forward to conducting our review process quicker and easier,” he added. “The bulk of the time in eDiscovery is reviewing and tagging and Altitude is a huge benefit for us in that respect.”

Benefits for the Browns in using Altitude IG:

  • Reduced Result Sets for Review by 60%: The Browns estimated 60% less data is needed to be collected and handed over due to elimination of “noise.”
  • Recovered 2 TB’s of Storage: After public folder reclamation through Altitude IG policy enforcement, the Browns reclaimed over 10% of their storage space, which is a huge win for the organization.
  • Reduced Collection Time by 66%: IT completes their search and collections in approximately one-third the time. No errors means searches are conducted once and completed quickly.

What’s Next?

The Cleveland Browns are already looking to the future and Altitude IG is a big part of that strategy. They are planning email retention for storage and liability as well as the possibility of classification down the road. In the meantime, the Browns will continue to implement policies to manage electronically stored information with Altitude IG and are confident they have a trusted and reliable system for all their policy, eDiscovery and reporting and analytics needs.