Consilio In Action: How One Client’s Massive Data Transfer Project Became a New Service Offering

As an expert provider in the eDiscovery space, Consilio is no stranger to handling both unique client demands and massive, complex projects. Sometimes, though, a client project comes along that transcends the amount of work and complexities of any project that has come before.

That’s exactly what happened when a Consilio client, one of the largest generics pharmaceutical companies in the world, came to Consilio with an unprecedented amount of eDiscovery data it needed to transfer in the midst of ongoing, bet-the-company litigation. Greg Walsh, an Associate Director in Consilio’s Project Management group, rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

The result? The client not only got the services it needed, but the process also became the foundation for a whole new offering for clients called Complete Transfer.

The Problem: Moving a Huge Amount of Disorganized Data Under Pressing Deadlines

While Consilio hadn’t previously handled the client’s eDiscovery, they were no stranger. Consilio’s Regional Director Jason Perkins had long-standing relationships with senior people at the pharmaceutical company. He and his partners came to learn that the client’s then-current eDiscovery provider had failed in several respects and that the company was struggling to see the value in what they were paying for.

It was clear that it was time for a change, and Consilio was the answer. The problem, though, was that the amount of data to be transferred was massive. The company’s existing vendor estimated it to be more than 100 terabytes of data – in reality, it was double that, with more than 220 terabytes.

Even worse, the data was so disorganized that the company and its former vendor couldn’t adequately identify what data existed and exactly where it was. That’s when Greg entered the picture. “We brought Greg in largely because he had experience migrating large tranches of data and could help us develop an iterative and consultative process with the client,” Jason explains. Greg and team got to work understanding the client’s goals and deadlines to be able to set a measure for success up front.

Because Consilio was essentially taking over the project, delicate conversations were required. Greg needed to have an open dialogue with the other provider about what databases existed, how they were handled, how data was received, and whether each individual workspace had any unusual quirks in relation to how it housed data. This allowed Consilio to get up and running as quickly as possible once they received the data.

“I started working with the client on a smaller set of data that wasn’t currently active with their outside counsel to understand what transfer speeds were possible,” Greg explains. “From there, we started designing a process with outside counsel to determine the best path forward for transferring large-scale, active litigations.”

Litigation timelines and production deadlines were obvious challenges that had to be considered in determining a data transfer plan. Working in collaboration with many internal teams, Greg had to design, build, and test the data transfer process, and utilize technology to expedite every step of the process, all to ensure the process would not interfere with the company’s ongoing litigation. To achieve that, the company prioritized different tranches of data or specific collections and matters, identifying what needed to be moved and when.

“Everyone handles their work in a slightly different fashion,” Greg explains. “So, going through that prioritization and understanding the nuances of every one of these databases and trying to figure out what the unique components were was essential for getting the data to work within the Consilio environment and ensuring that there was as little impact as possible to our client and its outside counsel.”

Because of the volume of data that needed to be transferred, traditional methods were insufficient, which forced Consilio to think outside the box. In one unique approach, the Consilio team collectively decided to purchase a highly advanced piece of equipment to bring onsite to the company’s previous vendor to begin copying the data, and then moved that equipment from location to location, which is something Consilio had never done before.

In the end, Greg describes the whole undertaking as “an elegant dance of a lot of technical people to get the data up and running with only about a week’s worth of total impact to the case team.” Consilio performed that elegant dance not once, but twice, successfully transferring two massive tranches of data.

The Importance of Communication

Throughout the entire project, Consilio engaged in a fully iterative and consultative process with its client to define goals and make sure the goals were continually being met. “A major factor that led to success,” Jason says, “was how quickly Greg developed a rapport and trust with the client’s discovery team manager. This enabled them to consistently work well together through weekly calls and almost daily communication for six months.” By the time Consilio was fully responsible for handling the client’s data, they were comfortable that the relationship would continue to be a successful one.

Greg confirms that communication was critical to his success on such an enormous project. “The things that really made a difference were open communications, managing communications with all stakeholders both internally and externally, making sure that all the steps were understood as much as possible, and having a core team to work with that was dedicated to achieving the client’s goals,” he says.

In Jason’s view, Greg was instrumental to the success of the project. “Greg did a great job of explaining  to the client what the challenges and risks were and walked them through how we would deliver the solution,” he concludes. “He’s a rock star.”

The Emergence of Complete Transfer

While this was the largest data transfer project Greg and team had undertaken by a significant scale, it wasn’t the only large data transfer Consilio was being asked to carry out. Consilio’s leaders realized that there was a need in the market for large data transfer services, and decided to evolve the work of Greg and his team into a Consilio service offering called Complete Transfer.

Consilio built out an expert team and a secure, custom-designed solution to help clients seamlessly transfer large, complex matters to Consilio’s infrastructure regardless of the stage of the matter or the matter’s timeline requirements. Their consultative approach allows Consilio to continue satisfying clients with tailored services that lead to successful, large-scale data transfers.