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Navigating into the New World of Information Governance

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Navigating into the New World of Information Governance

Over the past six (6) months I have spend many hours talking to CEOs, the General Counsel and CIOs of some the largest companies in the world about information governance and eDiscovery. And, the common theme has been that there is a tremendous amount of confusion in regards to where the market is headed and which technologies and outside consulting services they should be using.  And, probably the most urgent question is how much is all of this going to cost and what will the impact be on my business and career.

The volume of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is increasing at an accelerating rate, the migration to the cloud is a fait accompli, electronic communication platforms (i.e. social media) are mutating quicker than most of us can keep up and now email is no longer the number one target for eDiscovery searches (Source: Email slips as ediscovery target says Symantec).   There is no doubt that the IT world and therefore the information governance and eDiscovery world are in the middle of a paradigm shift.  As such, the Global 2000 need to quickly figure out how to survive in this new world or parish.

As Geoffrey Moore states in Escape Velocity: Free Your Company's Future from the Pull of the Past"enterprises.. need to overcome the pull of the past and reorient their organizations to meet a new era of competition."  In other words and in the context of information governance and eDiscovery, litigation and compliance aren't about copying, scanning and reviewing paper documents anymore and its time for BIG changes.

This Blog post is the first in a series of Blog posts that I am working on to provide some insight and guidance to the Global 2000 and by association to the vendors that serve the Global 2000 in regards to how to succeed through this paradigm shift.

eDiscovery is a Subset of Information Governance
The processes, procedures and technologies that are required to support eDiscovery are the same basic set of "tools" that are required to support the much larger and broader demands of information governance.  Therefore, I contend that the Global 2000 should consider designing, implementing and maintaining a single comprehensive information discovery platform that supports both information governance and eDiscovery.  After all, its really all about federated data / big data consolidation, search and analytics. Please note that I plan to dedicate an entire Blog Post to this topic later this year.

It's Strategic

Global 2000 stakeholders can no longer afford to view information governance and eDiscovery from a tactical standpoint and only prioritize it when there is a pending law suite or compliance issue.  Information Governance and eDiscovery need to be considered strategic business imperatives within the boardrooms of the Global 2000.

Its in the Cloud
If the board of directors and senior management from any Global 2000 organization don't know about the cloud or think that cloud is just some passing fade, they need to replaced or retire.  Cloud computing and all of its associated technologies and capabilities (i.e. mobile computing and social media) are the most significant changes in IT that has happened since the introduction of the PC.  And, to drive the point home even further, according to Forrester Research, the global cloud market is set to explode in the next 10 years, growing from $40.7bn in 2011 to more than $241bn in 2020.  Further, the resulting impact on the way that we now MUST and can conduct business is enormous. Please note that I plan to dedicate an entire Blog Post to this topic later this year.

Information Governance and eDiscovery in the Cloud
As a logical extension of the fact that IT has moved to the cloud, the board of directors and senior management from Global 2000 organizations need to also realize that information governance and eDiscovery also need to move to the cloud.  The same basic processes and technologies that are required to support eDiscovery fulfill the basic requirements of information governance.  Its really all about consolidating ESI/ federated data/big data, search and analytics anyway.  Whether its for information governance or eDiscovery shouldn't matter at the core.  Please note that I plan to dedicate an entire Blog Post to this topic later this year.

Who to Trust
As indicated int he opening paragraph of this Blog post, these dramatic changes have a tremendous amount of confusion among Global 2000 stakeholders in regards to where the market is headed and which technologies and outside consulting services they should be using.   This is always a BIG question during a paradigm shift.  And, it is even a bigger question during this paradigm shift because the stakes are so high.

However, the answer is complicated.  First of all, it is highly likely that only a small percentage of your stable of legacy trusted advisors will be of any use in this new paradigm.  When markets change, there is a natural turnover of experts and consultants.  And, it is even more likely that an even smaller percentage of your current technology providers will have solutions that work in this new paradigm. As is the case with the natural turnover with consultants, BIG changes in markets also cause big changes in the fabric of the technology vendor communities that service those markets.  As an example, we have already seen Symantec acquire ClearWell ( and HP acquire Autonomy (  And, believe me, this is just the beginning of the consolidation and restructuring of the players that service this market.

So, my advice is to move slowly, listen, read, investigate and don't be afraid to make a change.  After all, the future success of your business and  your career may depend upon the decisions that you make over the next 6-12 months regarding who you partner with to navigate through this brave new world.

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