Emerging Data Expertise Helps Solve Complex Linked Content, Business Automation and Technical Data Challenges in Multi-Jurisdiction Price Fixing Investigation
An Asia Pacific-based shipping company was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and competition bureaus in numerous countries for alleged price fixing. The company was required to collect, review and produce documents from numerous emerging data sources, including Google Workspace and AppSheet. FTI Technology’s emerging data sources team was engaged to help navigate the nuances of linked content and collecting relevant electronic evidence residing in Google Workspace.
Alongside the rise in emerging data sources as core communication, productivity, collaboration and document management platforms within corporations, the process of responding to regulatory requests for company documents and data is becoming increasingly complex. The once straightforward workflows of collecting email and other files from traditional systems have evolved into complicated processes involving an ever-growing volume of information and hundreds of unique data types. This matter underscored many of the now common challenges that legal teams face when required to produce data from systems such as Google Workspace, Slack, Microsoft 365, Box and other cloud-based platforms.
The client in this engagement used Google Workspace as its primary internal productivity suite, meaning that the entirety of the organization’s communications and documents were cloud-based. This meant that many documents in scope in the matter were dynamic, shared documents with multiple versions that were created, accessed, revised and shared by numerous employees with varying levels of permissions. Also, when documents were included with emails or chat messages, they were typically sent as a live link rather than a static attachment. This fluid environment added several e-discovery challenges, including matching linked content within communications with the associated document.
The client also used AppSheet, a Google Workspace application that allows users to automate business workflows without requiring traditional software development. This is similar to other “no-code” platforms, such as Microsoft PowerApps. Many of the pricing decisions and issues under investigation were created and stored within AppSheet, however, the data and artifacts generated by AppSheet were not compatible with any e-discovery review platforms, adding another technical obstacle to the matter. Before adopting AppSheet, the client used Google Forms to facilitate the pricing workflows, so relevant pricing information was stored within that repository as well.
FTI Technology has extensive experience developing workflows and technology solutions to ensure defensible and efficient collection, processing, review and production of data from a wide range of emerging data sources. In this matter, the team provided solutions for AppSheet, Google Forms and Linked Content.
AppSheet and Google Forms solutions:
- Interviewed client IT professionals to understand the architecture of the AppSheet application and the location of the data.
- Analyzed the AppSheet application definition and AppSheet and Google Form source data, identified all AppSheet artifacts in the collected data and identified additional data to collect.
- Developed a model of the AppSheet workflow based on client interviews and data analysis. Used this model to recreate the AppSheet objects in the review platform, so that each instance of the workflow and the supporting documentation could be reviewed in the same format as the user would have seen it.
- Educated counsel on the AppSheet workflow and helped digest the data and understand the nuances of conducting e-discovery on Google Workspace and AppSheet data.
- Created reports identifying missing or incomplete records for each instance of the workflow.
Linked content solutions:
- Collected email and Google Drive documents from Google Workspace, maintaining relationships between emails with links and the Google Drive target documents.
- Used data engineering tools to extract and analyze links from email to Google Drive documents.
- Created views in the review platform to relate and visualize the relationships between emails and linked documents.
- Created reports identifying missing or invalid links.
Positioned counsel to respond to government inquiries efficiently and accurately
Tailored emerging data processing output to accommodate familiar review platform technology.
Emerging data expert advisory assistance with client IT to design bespoke workflows for extracting key information. FTI Technology’s navigated through significant technical complexity that counsel and the end client were not equipped to handle.