This afternoon, at the Central Ohio ILTA Lit. Tech. meeting, we started our series on the EDRM model with a presentation from Brett Burney on Information Management. If you’ve ever seen Brett speak, or met him, you know he can talk energetically and passionately about e-discovery and technology for hours at a time, and this was really no different. He went through the various areas of Information Management, and all the various acronyms used to discuss things like content management, or lifecycle management, etc. It was quite good, and led to a really good discussion among the group after he was done.
One of the interesting things that Brett said, was that sometimes he felt like Information Management was the “black hole” of the EDRM. Those of us working in the legal field could understand what was going on in the other areas of the EDRM, even if we didn’t do that work, like forensic collections, but when it came to information management, we tried to stay out of that.
Of course we try to stay out of that, in many organizations, their information isn’t exactly what you would call “managed”. Trying to make sense out of an organization’s data can be trying, to say the very least. So, it’s maybe the least understood part of the EDRM, but the most crucial, because, as I mentioned in my Ignite Presentation, if you can get a handle of your data ahead of being involved in litigation, the rest of the EDRM workflow will be pretty smooth sailing, and if you don’t, it’ll look like Columbus traffic when it snows. (Those of you not familiar with the driving habits of our neighbors during snow events, trust me when I say, it is anything but smooth driving!)
Anyway, after taking us through some of the trends in this records management world, Brett had a slide that simply said that records management is a business decision, not an IT decision. I had to comment on that in the meeting, mostly because there are not a whole lot of folks with an IT background in our Lit Tech meetings, and to me, this was a huge point that Brett was making. When you do IT for a small company, you look at Information Management so differently that people from a record management or legal background.
If you had come to me back when I was the one-man IT department, my “solution” to problems with data management would have been to buy more disk space. It’s easy, relatively cheap, and most of all it keeps with the one theme that was beat into our heads about redundancy. You see when you work in IT, you are constantly reminded about having backups. You have to backup, you have to test your backups, and you have to have backups to your backups, just in case of failure. In fact, the more redundancy you can build into your systems, the better! No matter what fails, we’re prepared with a way for people to access their data!
That’s all well and good, but it leads to IT people being the worst kind of pack rat you can imagine. We never get rid of anything, because someone might want it some day. If they want it, and I don’t have it, somewhere, they’re going to yell at me, and I don’t like getting yelled at. So, I keep everything, somewhere. It’s the antithesis to lifecycle management!
Besides, how many organizations do you know where the IT people have enough power to make management adhere to a retention and destruction policy? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Let’s put this responsibility on people who can get something done about it!
Overall, it was a good meeting. It was great seeing Brett again, especially since I won’t have the chance to hang out with him at Techshow this year, but if you’re going to be there, definitely look him up and say hello! Tell him I told you to check out his presentations. Looks like he’s got a few on the schedule.