Global and Proper Information Management in Reach

By Johannes Scholtes posted 04-19-2010 15:17


Now, more than ever, AIIM’s goals of global and proper information management are within reach!

For over 60 years, AIIM has been the leading association focused on helping professionals understand the challenges of information management. Originally known as the National Microfilm Association as early as 1943, AIIM has grown into an authoritative industry community with members all over the globe. Now more than ever, there is a need for standards, best-practices and guidance for information management and information governance. Why? Well the answer is very simple: eDiscovery happens all the time and it is very costly.

Very few organizations have the resources for new knowledge management, ECM (Enterprise Content Management) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) initiatives; most of us in the enterprise world are in survival mode because budgets have been slashed, and very soon the government will also start cutting back, particularly as a result of the enormous government spending. But, if your organization is involved in a large scale eDiscovery process as a result of a civil matter, or even worse, as part of a regulatory audit, then you have little choice: you have to initiate the (high-cost) process in order to avoid even more costly penalties and sanctions down the road.

Now, what makes eDiscovery so costly? Well, by far (>70% in many cases) the largest component is the cost of legal review by your external counsel. Simply put, the cost of a legal review is directly proportional to the amount of documents your lawyer needs to review. The fewer documents you have in the eDiscovery process, the better off you are in terms of costs. Unfortunately, opposing counsel or regulators always want to have everything that is potentially relevant, so how can you meet their needs while also minimizing the quantity of documents requiring external review? The answer is simple: proper information management and information governance. Records management, filing plans, retention policies, employee training and enforcement of the policies are just a few of the tools that are available. And that is exactly what AIIM has been evangelizing for all these years!

I strongly believe that eDiscovery will turbo-charge our industry in the coming years, similar to the way Sarbanes-Oxley litigation did a few years ago. As Information Management professionals, we can demonstrate how the likelihood of eDiscovery and its enormous price tag justify preemptive information management now. Why are there still employees with more than 100,000 messages of unclassified email in their inboxes? Why is it so much more difficult to manage electronic records as opposed to records in paper form? What will be the impact of data in the cloud, such as outsourced email and social networks, and how are we going to handle the next big challenge: multimedia? These are all questions to which AIIM has answers, standards and best practices.

We can help our organizations to go from litigation responsiveness to litigation readiness by applying the principles AIIM stands for. We can help our colleagues understand how to manage eDiscovery threads and how to control the ever increasing cost and risks of legal proceedings. It is possible to turn eDiscovery into a daily operating procedure and avoid the stress and distraction of a typical eDiscovery process, but most important, we need to start applying information management and information governance principles. Not only for our paper documents, but for all our information, including email, electronic, backup tapes, our cloud data, cell phones, everything!

This may seem more like a stick than a carrot, but if the end justifies the means, so be it. Therefore, I strongly believe AIIM is closer than ever to achieving our main goal: delivering education and best practice recommendations so that every organization can succeed with proper information management.

My contributions to this great new AIIM blog will be in that spirit! 

#sarbanesoxley #litigation #costofediscovery #ElectronicRecordsManagement #e-discovery #ECM