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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Corporations are Evidence Machines

In my never ending quest to find the best technologies in the industry, I have recently discovered Humanizing Technology (HT), a emerging player in the sophisticated search technology market.

The Problem
As I have been "preaching"on this Blog, after Enron and the changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), it has become increasingly risky for companies to rely solely upon reactive or remedial measures with regard to electronic compliance. Through (FRCP) directives, courts continue to impose more stringent eDiscovery requirements, increasingly mandating that companies better understand and manage electronic communications and records. These mandates, combined with the sheer volume of electronic communications and the proliferation of communications technologies, pose a serious risk to companies.

An October 1, 2007 Forbes magazine article titled, The Data Explosion, noted: "Corporations are evidence machines, generating terabytes of electronic documents, e-mails and digitally recorded phone calls each year." Non-compliance problems, many of which are perpetrated in electronic communications, can be and frequently are image-damaging publicity events for companies as well as a basis for significant financial and legal risk. Managing e-compliance in the midst of the data explosion, as opposed to having it manage you, is a key challenge to company boards, executives, and managers as well as their professional advisors.

HT History
HT began as a technology development company in early 2000 and soon began focusing upon applications that required the mining and extraction of hard-to-find information as a core competency. As such, HT developed a unique concept search technology and deployed it as a utility within its news search applications and patent search product. In these products, the technology proved its ability to deliver unique concept search capabilities and so HT embarked upon efforts to leverage its concept search technology by applying it to other markets.
In mid-2007, HT de-coupled its concept search technology from the news and patent search products to deploy it within various text-search applications. In just a few short months, HT proved the technology’s uniqueness within the following applications:
  1. A significant mid-size manufacturing business searching various data stores that, when complete, will involve up to 2 tera-bytes of data searched.
  2. Two leading Universities for searching intellectual property, research expertise, knowledge base information, and library archives.
  3. A law firm searching its database of legal documents.
  4. A medical information application searching various data stores for relevant patents, patient record data, and clinical trial results.
  5. An Indiana law enforcement agency searching data stores of evidence.

Based on the success of the technology, HT sought to identify various business and/or legal problems that were complex and costly to organizations but could be solved by deploying superior technology that searches, finds, and retrieves critical information. Initially, HT was advised to deploy its technology toward electronic discovery. While this is an attractive market and involves complex business and legal issues, HT believes that it makes more sense to help companies avoid trouble (i.e., be proactive) rather than simply helping them get out of trouble (i.e., be reactive). Thus, the emerging area of electronic compliance became the focus of HT’s concept search. HT is bringing together expertise and state-of-the-art tools for the implementation of Best Practices in electronic compliance for its customers.

The HT Solution
HT’s Audit Quality Search (AQS) technology seeks to assist corporations in risk management by carrying out various aspects of a compliance audit program including routine internal monitoring, more thorough periodic internal audits, and very thorough external text audits. HT has the ability to assist executives, officers, board members, high level managers, audit committee members, and professional advisors in assessing regulatory compliance gaps, identifying and managing risk and, in general, carrying out a broad set of corporate governance and oversight responsibilities. HT AQS can be used in the following ways:

  1. As an investigative tool to research specific suspected wrong-doing.
  2. As a gap analysis tool to carry out proactive but general compliance assessments.
  3. As a compliance audit tool to provide a basis for sampling and summarizing a company’s overall state of compliance (similar to the function of financial audits).
  4. As a records management tool to analyze electronic record data stores and provide a basis for making retention/deletion decisions.
  5. As a due diligence tool to analyze electronic record data stores for completed and/or prospective acquisitions.

By utilizing AQS technology as part of a comprehensive compliance audit program, company executives, managers, board member, audit committee members and professional advisors can reduce financial risk and legal exposure by implementing Best Practices and "reasonable state-of-the-art methods" for assuring compliance.

I would encourage anyone who reads this Blog to contact Michael Mulcahy, the VP of Business Development at HT to get more information about this interesting and very promsing new search solution.

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