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Using What You Have to Jump-start Your IG Program

Rene Laurens

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?”

Two Common IG Challenges

We found two main takeaways from the report: 1) quick wins are not so quick; and 2) the biggest IG barrier is education, not money. As the report explains, IG projects frequently take a while to launch—between six months to a year on average—and this is partially because of the lack of agreement over what software is needed. More fundamentally, IG teams often need to be educated by others in the business on which data serves a purpose and which can be deleted (i.e., data remediation).

There are similarities here to how organizations need to educate folks on e-discovery, although IG can sometimes be even easier to grasp. Good IG programs can solve many tangible and expensive business challenges such as cost of storage, data privacy, data security, backups, knowledge transfer, and more.

So, what does all of this mean for you? Your organization’s data is growing by the second, and maintaining that data is no small feat.

What Can You Do Today?

As we mentioned above, disagreements over what software is needed often slow the development of IG programs. What if you already have e-discovery software? How can it help you take those first small steps?

There are a few key things e-discovery software is meant to handle really well, including large amounts of data and advanced analytics to help you make sense of what you have and find exactly what you need. If you think of your software more holistically, you’ll find many of its features can be leveraged in innovative ways to help govern your information.

In Relativity, for example:

  • Legal Hold can be used as a communication tool. You could use a questionnaire to figure out exactly where people in your organization store their files and build a network map to help visualize the information in your organization. Knowing where existing employees store their information will make it easier to identify what you should collect and what is shared information.
  • Collection can be used to identify and grab specific information that exists from a current or former employee to aid in knowledge transfer and investigatory workflows.
  • Processing can be used to filter through data and extract information that allows you to identify and find records. Additionally, because it indexes files, you can search and review your information and start making decisions on what to keep and what to delete.

The ability to use e-discovery software for IG shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the two practices are closely connected. In fact, by using information governance to proactively get a handle on your data, you can alleviate the headaches associated with e-discovery. You just need to take the first step down the IG path.

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