Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Why does eDiscovery cost so much?" ... Make a living Archive & Retention Policy it will save $1,000's

By no means do I claim to be an authority in Records Management. As of date eighteen years and six months of experience with the Discovery phase of litigation have shown me that not enough emphasis is placed in Archive and Retention. Every organization has a policy ... fact is that its just that ... a policy. A policy is dead without enforcement. Thus Discovery Professionals flourish as a result of negligence.

Try this out for size...

1. Legal matters rise from information one party claims against another to be damaging or acquired and used in bad faith;

2. Information is presented in the form of correspondences and other evidence whether in paper, electronic or audio format;

3. All forms of information are subject to evidence discovery in response to an investigation or legal claim; unless

It can be proven that only a signifcant set of isolated evidence information is responsive.

"ARMA International (www.arma.org) has been in existence since 1955. ARMA provides standards for managing records and information - paper and electronic."

No matter the Industry there is a regulatory stipulation defining a specific time requirement for maintaining business related records on and off-site. The boom over the last decade has been to create the electronic file room or eFile Room. The concept involves scanning both archival and day forward paper records to servers like Microsoft SharePoint. Additionally any and all electronic documents from all departments, including emails are stored in the eFile Room. All this is done to ease the burden of File Managers and increase efficiency with the accessibilty of business documents. The eFile Room provides a sense of security as the probabilty of ever losing a document is minimized. Record Retention Compliance just got simple (or did it).

"... eFile Room records management platforms save the environment while at the same time expose serious risk when faced with a regulatory investigation or a legal matter ..."

What!?!...
........Why!?!...
.............."Prove it" says the Bright Idea Professional

The latest commercials from Intel, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and other leaders of collaborative technology paint a picture of safety in the "Clouds". The message is the future for how families and business professionals will be able to manage their day-to-day affairs without fear of ever losing a document. As well as the sublimable message that your data is "Safe". Yet another great tool to save the environment; its efficient and productive records management; provides ease of on-demand accessibilty and lets not forget it will be just as easy to get all evidence in response to an investigation or legal matter.

It is darn right scary to imagine the effect of an investigation or legal matter that demands a response where evidence is requested from a person or business entity that doesn't "recycle".

Adherence to a documented Archival and Retention Policy will save $1,000's in cost associated with responding to a claim or investigation. Business and/or Personal.

"...most people... like to be nostalgic and collect junk ... " know when to unload

Here are some basic items to consider for the eFile Room and/or "Cloud":
Active Records
Archive Storage
Rules for Destruction

Just like two decades ago, businesses depended on the document clerks and file room managers to be responsible for archive and retention rules. Today this type of responsibility is no longer centralized. Yes there is a central efile room, yet anyone can make a deposit with the hopes it is in the correct "cabinet" (directory or folder). The major difference now is the activities of the efile room require a Monitor better referred to as the eLibrarian. The same governence that set the standards for Records Management then apply today for the eFile Room Managers.

eFile Rooms require continuous development, implementaion and monitoring of a Smart Archive & Retention Policy. The policy can no longer just be written by IT and Human Resources. The Legal Response Team must be included along with a traditional Records/File Room Manager.

Again, Yes! the type like everyone had in 1980! Not like these newbees who don't know true organization techniques. The tenured Records Manager knows the rules for document retention and is the best translator for defining where documents should live within the network. They will also know who should be allowed access to business critical documents including those related to human resources, accounting, legal and regulatory matters. These Professionals also have the knowledge and experience for the Archive storage (off-site) and destruction schedules.

Get the picture ....

"... The more eRecords one has reasonably accessible ... The more it will cost in time and dollars to develop a response ..."

Consistent education and communication are the keys to success. All IT Professionals and anyone claiming to be an eManager, eLibrarian or whatever your college has dubbed as the cool name...should be required to register and actively participate in ARMA. The decisions made by these professionals for corporations will either be viewed as Smart Policies or be the nightmare of the Discovery Phase of a Regulatory Investigation or Legal Matter.

"don't be an eRoom dumper & don't be a follower when playing in the CLOUDS as the dangers are unforeseen ..." (similar to that of a Prickly Pear Mojito)