While information governance (IG) may be a gigantic, broad category, GCs and CIOs were hit with a startling realization: For their organizations to significantly reduce e-discovery costs they must proactively manage electronic information at an enterprise level. This starts with information governance.
David Rohde, Esq., Senior Director, Consulting Services at Epiq Systems, works hand in hand with large organizations to create processes to proactively manage information and governance policies to maintain legal defensibility, all while reducing e-discovery costs. David will be presenting on Exterro and Epiq Systems' upcoming complimentary CLE-accredited*, Information Governance & E-Discovery Update: New Realities for 2014, which airs on March 19th.
I had the chance to speak with David about his recent emphasis on information governance and its effects on the field of e-discovery.
Mike Hamilton (Exterro): In 2012 it was predictive coding. In 2013 it seems that information governance has become a buzzword within the e-discovery community. Why do you think this is the case?
David Rohde (Epiq Systems): Information-based risk has had its profile raised significantly over the past 12-18 months—with both consumers and information owners gaining a sense of urgency in the governance of information. Also, the answer to “why information governance versus predictive coding" is at least somewhat related to the use and adoption of predictive coding itself. Attorneys and courts are getting comfortable with the idea of machine classification, and that in turn is opening opportunities to move from traditional records management into the much broader information governance arena. In addition, the continued focus on risk and regulatory issues—from data breaches to cloud-based storage—is moving from the IT department to the C-suite, and those stakeholders now have more incentive to see a more comprehensive approach to information lifecycle management and beyond.
Mike: Information governance is such a broad topic. For legal professionals who are involved in e-discovery tasks, what are the major information governance trends that they should specifically be aware of in 2014?
David: The use of existing e-discovery tools (those based on “search"), and standards (“reasonable, proportionate, and in good faith") can often be extended to the beginning phases of information governance initiatives.
Drivers such as reduced risk, exposure, and cost also overlap in the case of legal professionals addressing business problems, so there is a natural inclination for legal to “hear" much of the information governance objectives as familiar.
Finally, organizations are moving to bring legal, risk, IT, compliance, records management, and the lines of business together to solve the problems created by “cheap" storage and the hoarding it enabled.
Mike: Do you have any examples of how organizations are dealing with these trends?
David: Yes, we are seeing organizations target information based on volume, risk, storage cost, or classification (e.g., non-record/non-legal hold), and begin to fashion policies and processes to address both the backlog and the going-forward retention, use, access, and storage of information. As noted above, the most successful of these embrace cross-functional teams to bring efficiencies and buy-in to the initiative.
Mike: There is no doubt that e-discovery and information governance policies are a necessity to managing regulatory and litigation requirements. But what about the role of technology tools? How can technology help leverage/enforce these information governance policies?
David: Tools play an important role. Information stores are too vast to handle in the absence of automation; but technology is only one part of the equation. Equally important are the policy/process development and the impact of the business people involved as a result. Tools are being developed and will continue to evolve and adapt, but only if the feedback from the user community is grounded in real-world experience that furthers the goals of information governance. In the absence of tried and tested functionality, all you get are lots of features, but not necessarily great functionality.
Mike: You spoke on Exterro and Epiq Systems' webcast, Information Governance & E-Discovery Update: New Realities for 2014. What do you hope viewers came away with from the presentation?
David: I hope that at the end of the hour viewers were left with the sense that beginning an information governance initiative is not an impossible task, or just the latest catch-phrase to sweep LegalTech. We tried to impart some practical, real-world experience, and to share some insight as to the framework for undertaking successful information governance or e-discovery projects.
To learn more from David about emerging information governance trends in 2014 and best practices for dealing with them in a defensible and proactive manner, watch Exterro and Epiq Systems' complimentary on-demand webcast, Information Governance & E-Discovery Update: New Realities for 2014.