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The Challenge
The Solution
The result
Case Studies

Kroll Ontrack disrupts established market & grows revenue $200M

The Challenge

In late 2001, Kroll Ontrack was faced with a strategic opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity lay in the potential market for an electronic document discovery solution for the legal industry. The challenge? Creating an effective market strategy for a business still in its infancy. They had failed on their first two attempts at market entry.

“The term ‘paperless office’ was just coming into vogue,” notes Andrea Johnson, Kroll Ontrack’s vice president of marketing and communications. Lawyers were finding that many documents relevant to a legal proceeding were available only in electronic form. Competitors who had historically served the market were able to meet the paper discovery needs of lawyers but were ill-equipped to manage the discovery of these electronic records.

As Ben Allen, CEO of Kroll and former Kroll Ontrack president, explains, “We knew the potential for electronic discovery—all of the underlying foundational elements suggested that this would be an important industry opportunity. What we didn’t know was how to understand what clients wanted to achieve in a way that could be translated into an efficient and effective strategy for growth. The electronic discovery market was so new that if you asked clients what features they wanted, they didn’t know what you were talking about.”


Strategyn helped us understand customer needs for a product that didn’t yet exist. They also helped us formulate a growth strategy that led us to a position of market leadership. If the big, well-established companies in this space had applied Strategyn’s outcome-driven concepts, they could have dominated. Instead, they were all disrupted.”

The solution

In order to define a market strategy for a product offering that was still in its infancy, Kroll Ontrack relied on Strategyn’s ODI methodology.

“After going home and reading 17 strategy books,” Allen recalls, “what struck me about Strategyn’s ODI thinking was the concept that outcomes wouldn’t change over time. We were really at the stage where we were trying to figure out what lawyers were trying to accomplish, not what features they wanted.”

The Outcome-Driven Innovation process we used for Kroll Ontrack included five steps:

  • The first step was to define their market around the job-to-be-done and the people executing that job. For Kroll, they focused on lawyers who were trying to find information (evidence) that would support or refute a case.

  • The team conducted qualitative interviews with 40 lawyers. This resulted in the creation of a Job Map and the discovery of 73 customer outcome statements (needs) describing the perfect execution of the job-to-be-done.

  • Using ODI-based quantitative research techniques, Kroll Ontrack had 177 lawyers prioritize the 73 outcomes. The opportunity landscape revealed that 9 outcomes related to information management during the litigation process were underserved, as were 11 outcomes related to extant electronic discovery approaches.

  • The opportunity landscape revealed a number of opportunities that could not be adequately satisfied on the current platform. Guided by this strategic insight, Kroll Ontrack introduced innovations in electronic document discovery that led to a market leadership position.

  • The insights resulting from the ODI research guided the creation of a product strategy road map for Kroll Ontrack’s electronic discovery product—a novel, technology-based collection of capabilities that would help lawyers get through the discovery phase. Kroll Ontrack added innovative features to its electronic discovery product every quarter to address lawyers’ desired outcomes. This allowed them to secure and maintain a market leadership position for years.

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The result

Using Strategyn’s ODI process, Kroll Ontrack gained a better understanding of the opportunities presented by electronic discovery, and it used this knowledge to develop an effective product strategy.

Kroll Ontrack focused on e-document discovery and the outcomes that members of the legal community desired, which led the company to develop a groundbreaking new solution. Kroll Ontrack’s electronic discovery product was a disruptive innovation to the paper discovery products offered by entrenched competitors. Prior to Kroll Ontrack, competitors had been attempting to address the challenges presented by electronic documents with modifications to the paper document discovery systems.

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Strategyn helped us the most by taking a lot of guesswork out of the process. If you know the outcomes that you are trying to solve, your innovation is focused. You don’t spend time and money innovating against any outcome that the customer doesn’t care about or is already completely satisfied with.”


Kroll Ontrack leapfrogged the competition with a revolutionary innovation, because it added capabilities based on the job that customers were trying to get done rather than seeking to improve the current solution platform.”

Andrea Johnson, VP of Marketing & Communications

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