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The e-Discovery Reference Model: Template for EPIC

By Debra Logan | July 05, 2021 | 0 Comments

The e-Discovery Reference Model: Template for EPIC

EPIC needs a reference model.  We propose to base it on a few working examples. The first of these is the e-Discovery reference model (EDRM.NET).  EPIC needs an approach that will work for a heterogenous set of people in different disciplines.  The EDRM has evolved and still in use by law firms, house counsel, software vendors and service providers.  By bringing the legal and technology communities together the EDRM addressed the difficult issues around legal discovery in the digital age. It worked for a set of challenges that are similar to those in creating pay equity.

Here at Gartner, we used the model to help our clients create defensible processes around e-discovery and understand and select the technology & services to help them do that.  The original model looked like this although it is considerably more complex now, ( as a part of a Gartner research note (


e-Discovery Reference Model, circa 2008


EDRM Use At Gartner

This is the model as it was in 2008. It showed only the topmost steps of the e-discovery process. In our research note, you will see further definition around each of the components. The model was very effective in helping Gartner to give advice to clients in a confusing vendor landscape, making tactical decisions and selecting vendor partners.  This allowed them to make progress against strategic objectives when the road ahead was  unclear.

EPIC Challenges

We are facing a similar set of challenges today with pay equity.  We have multiple stakeholders with different, often conflicting needs, no uniformity of process, no standard data models or definitions and an array of methodologies.  Much of the data that we need is unavailable, usually because it is locked behind a solid wall of legal objections. Sometimes the data does not exist. The challenge is far more complex than the one the EDRM addressed. There will be a ton of objections:  lawyers say no, the data does not exist, we can’t look at HR data because of laws and regulations & more. These can all be overcome in time.

The ultimate goal of the EPIC Pay Equity reference model is to show how combination of people, process, technology and data work together to achieve the goal. It will seek to systematize and automate analysis and remediation.  By definition, it will be transparent, repeatable and auditable.  It is an audacious, long term goal.  It will challenge internal executives, HR/DEI and legal teams, technology vendors and data analysts.   Hard.  But do-able.  We might not run the whole marathon this time around.  But that’s no excuse to stay out of the race entirely.

Next, you will see the starting line for this endeavor.


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