When it comes to the massive amounts of information that companies have to sift through in to effectively search and review for litigation, it’s hard not to be sympathetic to their claims that e-Discovery has become a costly and time-consuming process. In December, we reported that the burden of e-Discovery was put on trial, so to speak, at a Congressional hearing aimed to better understand the issues and how they might be able to improve the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Recently we spoke with Simon Taylor, senior director, information access management at CommVault, about his perspective on the Congressional hearing and how its prospective outcome can affect the enterprise.
The Wrong Policy or Platform?
Do companies have a lot of information because they were unprepared and failed to select the right platform from which to manage their information? Or have the right platforms failed to account for the massive amounts of information growing within organizations. Either way, they seem to be a costly predicament that has left them paralyzed with too much information managed by too many or not enough custodians across unstructured and structured mediums. Taylor seems to think that the more proactive organizations are about "what kinds of information they have" and "where it is," the better prepared for the e-Discovery process.
Just as companies are being urged to develop policies to address social media management, Taylor recommends that companies develop policies that take responsibility for how e-Discovery is handled. Such policies need to answer questions like:
- What does e-Discovery mean to the organization?
- Who should participate in the development of the case management and discovery plans? (e.g., company in-house legal, company IT/IS department and outside legal counsel)
- What kinds of data tracking systems, software, development of a data map and procedures can be implemented to better enable inside and outside counsel to identify potential sources of discoverable documents (e.g. the correct databases, IT systems, archives, etc.)?
Because many of the burdens companies face when it comes to e-Discovery are not technology related, an e-Discovery policy or leadership panel can help create a dialogue between the departments involved, especially legal and IT.
Making the Right Technology Work for You
This, of course, doesn’t mean that the right technology can’t help. CommVault, in particular, helps alleviate how much information companies store by offering a unified and integrated method for consolidating not only data management processes but also the long-term retention of data down to one place to store data, one method of processing data and one place to search and recover data. Such advanced features and capabilities are designed to solve countless problems related to the storage and access of an organization’s data and information.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve suggested merging people and process to improve e-Discovery. However, as we wait for Congress to make a decision, companies should begin to learn from others’ mistakes. Neither technology nor policy alone will decrease e-Discovery costs or burdens. Put together, however, they may be the best defense.