Guidance Software this fall plans to open an application store to let customers integrate other company’s products into its flagship EnCase series of forensics and e-discovery software.
The strategy is similar to Apple’s pioneering App Store — customers pick and choose their desired add-ons, which are then accessed without leaving the platform. Guidance’s new App Central marketplace is due this fall, officials recently posted on an agenda page for the Computer Enterprise and Investigations Conference, scheduled for May 21-24 in Summerlin, Nev.
Guidance officials declined to comment on App Central ahead of the event. Many of their existing partners already focus on providing forensic and data collection capabilities that are built using Guidance’s own EnScript programming language. For example, Belkasoft, a computer forensics software provider, in August 2011 created a module to let EnCase analyze instant messages, and on Monday this week connected EnCase to its own Evidence Center software. Belkasoft, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, intends to supplement its technology with support for handling mobile devices, pictures, and text messages, CEO Yuri Gubanov added.
An unanswered question is the extent of the applications and partners Guidance hopes to land. It’s not clear whether Guidance, headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., will allow third-party software companies to integrate with e-discovery products from CaseCentral, acquired in February for $17 million.
Wave Software is expecting to integrate with CaseCentral products. “We were excited to see the acquisition by Guidance,” said Alex Lewis, director of client services. Wave updated its Trident Pro early case assessment product in April and the underlying technology is already designed to work with systems like CaseCentral’s, Lewis said. Wave is also hoping that Guidance offers an application programming interface and a method of keeping the software up to date, he added.
Wave, in Orlanda, Fla, also previously integrated its software into the Relativity document review platform from kCura, which launched its Ecosytem marketplace in July 2011.
At kCura, CEO Andew Seija said he expects other companies to follow suit. He noted that the challenges in making a business-class app store are not just technical, but also process-related, such as in customer service. “It creates a new breed of user that you have to continue to develop for to provide them — and the ultimate end users — a great experience with the software,” Seija said, in Chicago. “Since the investments in time, resources, and money are significant and don’t necessarily start paying dividends for years, it’s important for organizations to have a clear strategy for how this fits into their long-term business model.”