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Guest Blog: Information Governance is in IT’s Best Interest

Guest Blogger: Brian Babineau Brian Babineau - Senior Consulting Analyst, ESG

We are excited to introduce this week’s Guest Blogger, Brian Babineau, Senior Consulting Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

I recently authored an ESG Research Brief “E-mail Archiving Supports IT’s Role in Electronic Discovery” where I highlighted the need for IT to invest in information management solutions that do more than just solve a “system administration” problem.  My thesis is straightforward – IT staff’s responsibilities now extend well beyond running systems.  They are now mired in business process, compliance, and litigation support procedures.  Consider that 67% of respondents in a recent ESG study said that IT was primary party responsible for collecting e-mails in response to an electronic discovery inquiry even though such an activity is part of a legal workflow.

The expansion of IT responsibilities into things like electronic discovery dictates the need for IT to change their strategies when looking for and evaluating information management solutions.  As I point out in the Research Brief, IT frequently takes a shortsighted tactical approach to information management without considering the long term consequences even if the repercussions make their jobs worse.  The most obvious example is using e-mail quotas – a tactic deployed to control storage costs.  While quotas do reduce the amount of storage a company needs to support an e-mail application, they decrease employee productivity (employees can spend hours every week deleting / moving / archiving messages to avoid triggering a quota) and make electronic discovery a nightmare as personal archive folders have to be tracked down across PCs, file shares and backup tapes.

According to 80% of organizations still use quotas, but many have figured out how to govern this process via purpose-built e-mail archive solutions.  When a quota is reached, messages are automatically moved into the purpose-built archive solution repository where they are still accessible to employees as well as compliance officers, records managers, and other authorized constituents.  This way when a discovery request arrives, IT only has to collect e-mails from the primary message application and the archive.  A purpose-built e-mail archive solution simplifies electronic discovery processes while reducing storage costs and automating other e-mail management tasks.

A purpose-built archive offering is just one example of an information management solution that delivers more than tradition system administration benefits.  There are many more out there – it just takes an IT department to more strategically think about governing information over the long term to find them.

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