“Information is the oil of the 21st century” and organizations are amassing and storing more than ever before. According to the Gartner group, data is growing 40-60 percent year-over-year. For enterprises to successfully manage this exponential growth of information, they must first understand what data they have across the enterprise and how it will affect their operations. Gaining that knowledge is the first step toward developing an information governance (IG) strategy that will extract more value from data and minimize the costs and risks associated with managing it.
"It's not like we actually have economic growth today. So we actually need technological breakthrough, we need AI ... Our responsibility is to have the AI augment the human ingenuity and augment the human opportunity." - Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
These were just a few of the key questions that a panel of legal technology experts considered during the Relativity Fest 2016 session entitled The New IG Playbook for Addressing Threats from Personal Clouds, Cyber Attacks, and the IoT. Joining me for the discussion were Judy Selby, managing director of technology advisory services for BDO Consulting; Darin Sands, who chairs the Privacy and Data Security and eDiscovery Practice Groups at Lane Powell PC; and Donald Billings, manager of litigation and practice support at Sidley Austin.
Studies of resilience focus on how we respond to both “environmental” threats—problems that are chronic and less intense but no less difficult—as well as “acute” threats that cause shorter bursts of intense adversity or trauma.
According to the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) Annual Report 2015-2016, organizations are starting to grasp the full scope and impact of information governance (IG). In fact, more than half of the organizations currently doing IG predict their IG spending will grow by at least 30 percent in 2016.
Additionally, as the concept of IG becomes more widely recognized, its definition among practitioners narrows. Since last year’s report, the number of facets most survey respondents included in their definition of IG has decreased significantly. The focus of this year’s report, then, is not “What is IG?” but rather, “How do we do it?”
There’s no time when disorganized data becomes more of a challenge than when e-discovery arises—the point at which a mess of data needs to be searched and reviewed for litigation or an investigation. The good news is that it isn’t too late to get your house in order, even after the e-discovery clock starts ticking.
You can leverage the effort of document review to make progress toward sound information governance practices. At Seyfarth Shaw, we recently walked a client through a case combining review with organizational efforts to implement positive changes without slowing down the project at hand.
Here’s what we learned.
During a time when business buzzwords such as “synergy” and “growth hacking” are inspiring companies across all industries to improve processes and collaborate across business units, e-discovery simply can’t be ignored. Traditionally treated as an ad hoc process requiring loads of time and attention for a short sprint, the fire drill approach to litigation is quickly falling by the wayside as companies seek to mitigate stress, time, cost, and risk by taking a more deliberate approach.
As a Relativity Best in Service Partner in Canada, we’re seeing this shift become the norm. There are a number of factors driving the trend: Canadians aren’t as litigious; litigation stakes aren’t as high; and our legal community is smaller. The combination of factors has a tendency to drive corporate clients’ demand for a more pragmatic approach. The ultimate goal is to keep costs down and take a more strategic approach. Key side effects include streamlining of processes and developing a more collaborative approach.
Digging through digital information to answer questions about the strategy, risks, and compliance efforts behind your business is a growing function of corporate counsel. Given today’s data volumes, though, finding the right information quickly is often a harder task than it might seem.
This is a difficult process because it largely involves finding, evaluating, and setting aside the wrong data—in other words, the dead weight data stored on your company’s resources even though it has nothing to do with core business operations. Fortunately, as legal technology advances, it’s becoming easier to eliminate that unnecessary information at many points in the legal process, particularly during information governance and e-discovery.
Though it is one of corporate legal’s hottest topics, it’s no secret that information governance, or IG, isn’t universally understood. Still, e-discovery plays well with IG, and both fields make a compelling argument for why it’s important to organize your data. So what should inside counsel know about information governance right now? Start by understanding the top challenges of three core IG areas—adoption, its relationship with e-discovery, and compliance—and you’ll be well on your way to tidier data.
The State of IG: Adopting and Getting Started
Information governance may be a hot topic, but many organizations are still figuring out how to organize and manage their growing data. Since IG is still emerging in terms of the formalization of the movement, organizations may not consider it a top priority—or just haven’t had the time and resources to put a policy in place, knowing that even after a policy is defined, it takes ongoing work to ensure it’s successful.
It’s no surprise that the general counsel’s role is evolving beyond knowing the legal circumstances facing his or her corporation. As new technologies emerge—from billing tools to streamlined e-discovery and compliance applications—to automate processes, the onus is on the GC to understand and manage old and new risks. To do so, it’s critical to have a firm grasp of the automation technology doing the job.
GCs today are better equipped to make informed technology decisions. However, with many still learning about what technology exists in their organizations and how it affects their role, it’s a struggle for some to identify what to prioritize learning—or how much they need to know.