In our quest to better understand eDiscovery and everything it has to offer, CMSWire has spent time talking with various companies that tackle the very essence of search and discovery of electronic documents. In part one of this initiative, we reported on two companies that focus on the right side of the popular Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). The right side focuses on the processes involved in synthesizing and analyzing the data.
In our part two, we focused on the left side of the model -- the one that deals with the information management part of the eDiscovery process.
CA is an IT management software company based out of Islandia, New York. They work with clients from the "inside out" often residing in the same space, so that they get to understand and know the environment. Reed Irvin, vice president of product management, spoke with us about how the company approaches information management and the inevitable evolution of the industry.
Irvin agrees that the need for a precise and structured process for gathering, organizing and retaining a company's content is born out of the frequent mistakes companies repeatedly make, which often results in litigation. Most times, lawsuits are settled outside of court, based on the assumption that neither side has an efficient solution in place that allows them to search and discover relevant information.
Yet, legal costs are on the rise, because companies are mismanaging their content. Thinking proactively is key, but something companies rarely do when it comes to content management.
By having policy dictate the process, rather than the actual content, CA works to integrate their solutions within a company's existing infrastructure. The ultimate goal is to make it so a company's legal counsel is the one managing the content, while IT is the one supporting it.
Transparency is the Key to Compliance
Opening up the dialogue between legal and IT is not always easy. By determining the rules and regulations by which a company operates, CA's solutions let documents to be searched and declared automatically. Having policies and guidelines for compliance strategies can ensure that the technology is consistently applied. Irvin says that it's "not about being perfect, but about being consistent."
Once records are organized accordingly, the risk of the records needs to be assessed. Irvin says that companies often hold onto to records much longer than needed. However, holding onto the documents past their shelf-life may bring a certain level of risk. Again, Irvin urges consistency; it is okay to keep records for the shortest period of retention allowed, as long as it's consistently carried out.
You could say the CA is not just about software management solutions, but about mentorship as well. They are dedicated to helping companies and their employees understand the processes and issues involved so that they can have confidence in asserting control over the content management. Irvin predicts that in the next few years, the eDiscovery industry will start to cater to "in-house" operations that relieve the need for third parties. In order to make this happen, eDiscovery software must seamlessly integrate with the existing infrastructure.
Kazeon is very clear on what it isn't. It isn't an eDiscovery service provider. It is, however, a software company that offers proactive and reactive solutions for eDiscovery and information management.
We spoke with Sudhakar Muddu, CEO, and Karthik Kannan, vice president of marketing and business development at Kazeon. Based out of Northern California, the company helps Fortune 500 companies that are plagued with multiple lawsuits to effectively manage their way through the search and discovery process.
Another thing that Kazeon maintains they aren't is process driven. Instead, they are most focused on the event that drives the process. Yet, much of Kazeon's work starts well before a company is involved in litigation.
Like CA, Kazeon is focused on providing an "in-house" solution that can enable general counsel to use a seamlessly integrated set of tools, so that they can search and declare to their heart's content. Muddu believes that in the next few years, 80% of eDiscovery operations will be based out of a company's headquarters.
Unique to Kazeon is their belief that data doesn't necessarily need to be organized in order for it to be managed. Muddu uses an analogy about a garage -- although, it may appear to be messy, one could effectively know where everything is. Taking the time to file and organize only slows down the process and isn't proactive, when you're faced with an impending lawsuit.
Kazeon is able to functionally integrate with a company's existing infrastructure. There's no need for them to push another product that isn't compatible with most of the software and hardware a company uses. Instead, searches can be done across many applications including SharePoint, multiple content management systems, as well as over remote networks.
Kazeon has bold goals. Ultimately, it wants to be the Google of enterprise search and discovery. And while there's always the potential for a better prepared client to reduce the amount of lawsuits with properly and proactively managed information, Kazeon seems to be very comfortable with the idea that lawsuits may never grow extinct. It's good for business.
eDiscovery As We Know It
Whether you're focused on the left or the right side of the EDRM model, it's clear that they are both important aspects of the eDiscovery process. As many of these vendors have maintained, the process is almost cyclical.
The eDiscovery providers are helping companies become better organized and more informed about the policies and guidelines that regulate them. It is not only good for information management, it's good for business.