Part 2 – E-discovery: Creating and Managing an Enterprise-wide Program

Image Post

Business today relies on three key elements – people, process and content.  To stay agile, relevant and to exist inside a framework of rules and acceptable practices people are compelled to create content and process.  The capture, distribution and consumption of content across both physical and digital forms are requirements to stay in business.

All businesses, regardless of size, location or market require and use content-documents, publications, and other information-throughout the day.   As volume and complexity of content increases, so does the need to manage and classify that information.  Enterprise Content Management solutions must support five key stages of the life of content:  Creation and Capture, Collaboration and Review, Integration and Optimization, and Experience and Consumption.  These categories site on top of Records Retention and Archiving to meet electronic discovery and preservation requirements.

Organizations extend core components – document management, records management, document-centric workflow, content archiving, imaging and application integration – through ECM extensions to support enhanced collaboration and digital content management, reporting and analytics, ERP solutions, portal integration, and rich application layering.

The point of content is to empower end-users, allow for business agility, and of course control costs and risks.

Managing information is becoming more complex.  Corporations are just beginning to get interested in the concept of “information governance.”  It is a term used to describe “the collection of decision rights, processes, standards, policies and technologies required to manage, maintain and exploit information as an enterprise resource.”  Businesses that rely on information and innovation, technology development, patents, regulated products, and creative arts must protect this core information as assets.  Organizations exploring an information governance strategy are seeking to guide how managers make decisions about content stewardship.  Organizational technology and business objectives are aligned and articulated to employees, key players, decision makers and external stakeholders.

eDiscovery is a component of an information governance program.  Content-centric best practices help meet compliance and risk mitigation mandates imposed by law, regulators, or internal quality standards.  Enterprise Content Management systems are getting better at incorporating ediscovery as a content-centric process to govern preservation and discovery collection, while balancing the needs of consumers and creators of that content.  Preparing for ediscovery may have the added benefit of valuing content – preparing internal inventories of electronic content, understanding the sources of content creation and consumption, deploying systems to capture business records, etc.  These activities may help streamline content flow, and offer opportunity to evaluate information for bottom line compliance, including ediscovery obligations.

To begin an information governance program corporations must ask themselves:

-Where to start?

-How do we articulate and execute a strategy for our own enterprise content?

-What are our fundamentals?

-How can we address the fundamentals?

-How do we balance regulatory compliance pressures against productivity?

-What are the right change management and technology improvements needed here?

-What are the demonstrable, tangible savings?

eDiscovery is a significant component of an information governance program simply because this process generates so much content that must be managed.  The challenges surrounding enterprise content management are ever abundant – ever increasing volumes of information, fractured systems, intellectual property, merger and acquisitions – all these result in disconnected IT systems and generate business records that may have value for a period of time.  Further most IT and business systems are ill equipped with effective search capability to identify content for compliance or ediscovery which makes managing content that much more challenging.

Leave a Reply