“No software had a better ROI than Sherpa’s Altitude. The value proposition is greater than anything else I found.”

E-discovery needs to be part of the standard IT toolkit

A trade association’s IT department was tasked with sifting through terabytes of data to locate and collect content related to multiple litigations, and to automate policies to search and collect this content on an ongoing basis.

Their IT director is a big believer in having eDiscovery software on hand. “There’s always going to be something: a subpoena, an employee complaint, or a request from HR. There will always be the need for evidence-based searching: it’s part of the standard IT toolkit.”

Since its introduction in 2005, Sherpa’s Discovery Attender software has been the go-to choice for easy, affordable eDiscovery, and the trade association’s IT director had used it for 10 years at his previous positions. “I needed a product to search email content, and Sherpa was a well-known solution for searching Exchange mailboxes and PST files,” he observed.


While Discovery Attender is an ideal local solution, the trade association required complex logic and workflows and the ability to search local laptops and desktops.

Why Sherpa Altitude IG

Sherpa introduced Altitude in 2015 as an enterprise solution for Data Governance and eDiscovery; a solution for automating legal hold notifications, and a cost-effective tool for implementing data retention policies. Altitude gives customers vision into the ‘dark’ unstructured data throughout their enterprise — email, network fileshares, PSTs, local workstations, SharePoint – and the ability to automate the required action: quarantine, move, copy, or delete it.

When the IT director and their Office of General Counsel saw Sherpa’s promotions for Altitude, their interest was piqued.

The ideal solution for complex search criteria

The trade association’s chief concern was email, and Altitude could interrogate email content through a highly customizable workflow to determine if it contained a match for one of their seven sets of trigger terms and phrases. If one of those triggers were present, the workflow would apply a retention tag to the message. And if Altitude detected that the message contained any of the trigger terms and phrases in attachments, the same parsing and tagging logic could be applied to each attachment.

This flexibility would enable the IT director to streamline the process by combining seven sets of logic into a single customizable workflow.

“That’s what sold me. The workflow engine is very powerful, with capabilities even beyond our needs. And the search grammar is easy and intuitive, so I can do far more complex wildcard searching. Altitude lets me run one single search for files that meet one or all of my conditions, and yields one clean de-duped results set.”

Deploying Altitude

Sherpa’s customer support team helped set up the required workflows and worked side by side with IT and legal to ensure a successful implementation. “Everyone was great. I love the people,” the IT Director observed. “Everyone’s been very responsive. Instead of an ongoing sales pitch, I get a lot of support. Once when I was on vacation and HR urgently needed to conduct a search, our sales rep Marcia got my team hooked up with Sherpa Support, which walked them hand-by-hand through the software to get the results they needed. Sherpa definitely puts providing a solution and customer satisfaction first.”

The ROI

Upgrading to Altitude has yielded both unprecedented searching power as well as substantial time savings. “I need to be able to search a 20 GB inbox and match 60-70 key words either in proximity or wildcard, and get a de-duped results set in a reasonable amount of time – say, one-two hours. Without Altitude, it literally could not be done.”

When the IT director reviewed other data governance/eDiscovery software packages on the market, his choice of Altitude was validated. “No software had a better ROI than Sherpa’s Altitude. It’s not very expensive and I get a ton of service and support. The value proposition is greater than anything else I found.”

The trade association uses Altitude to implement a policy that identifies every email sent or received as a candidate for hold. They started with the legacy email “going back to the beginning of time,” and then began searching and tagging the 10,000-15,000 messages that come in daily.

Future Plans

The trade association uses Office 365 and SharePoint and likes having one single tool for both data governance and eDiscovery. And they look to add desktops in the near future. “If I have an HR matter, there could be value in looking at what’s on individual machines. Right now our focus is on email, but as we mature, a program to search and automate retention policies on other types of data or desktops will help.”

The IT director sums up his view of Altitude as follows: “It’s a comprehensive tool that provides a lot of value for the money. There are things I can do with Altitude that I can’t imagine being able to do with other tools without spending magnitudes more money: 5x, 10x, 15x more. I’d happily recommend Altitude to others.”