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Records and Retention Gaining Popularity in California Thanks to eDiscovery

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with customers and partners lately

Principal Product Marketing Manager, Information Governance

about the changing Records environment.  I also spend more and more time with my eDiscovery colleagues, because our two worlds have collided.  We talk about the fact that eDiscovery isn’t just for litigation anymore – any time an organization needs to find a subset of its information and cull through it to find the relevant set of documents, for any investigative purpose – that’s when you need to have eDiscovery.  And if you’re going to have investigations with any frequency, then you’d better be adopting the principles of records management to handle that content appropriately.

I just read this article in Government Technology today talking about how the California Electronic Discovery Act (Assembly Bill 5) has had such an impact on IT officials in California’s cities.  It has upped the requirement on what is discoverable – extending even beyond email and contracts.  The article addresses the fact that many cities are starting to purchase eDiscovery tools to help them – and that the costs can be justified.  But it also wisely mentions that retention and disposition policies are increasingly critical in managing information.

In my opinion, it’s not enough to purchase the tools.  You have to take a process approach to this on two levels – do you have retention and disposition policies for all of your content, or just some of it?  There need to be processes in place to manage retention and disposition in an automated fashion for most content.  And then you need to have a process in place to handle these disruptive investigative requests as they arise.  If you have a process in place, you are less likely to wind up in trouble, and you’re also more likely to use your resources better.  eDiscovery and Records tools enable you to build those policies.  But if I had a dime for everyone who admits they have tools but haven’t really used them well… well let’s just say I wouldn’t be worried much about the economy anymore.

What about you? Do you have retention and disposition in place?  Are you getting more requests to find information?  Are you using eDiscovery tools on a regular basis?  Have you put the processes in place to manage this?  Let me know what you’re thinking and what you’ve found works for you.

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