In collegiate sports and information governance alike, planning ahead has its benefits.
I had the unique opportunity of not only being able to attend one of the top universities in world, but to also be able to play four years of collegiate baseball for the institution. I taught me a lot about time management; because I had to juggle both time-consuming responsibilities, I quickly learned the importance of getting my work planned and started well in advance. This idea also applied for baseball as early preparation for games, both during the offseason and during the season itself, left both the individual and the team poised for success. One of my coach’s favorite sayings has stuck with me over time: “get your homework done early.”
The enterprise also has an opportunity to get their homework done early when it comes to information management and governance initiatives. Like schoolwork, it’s often tough to start early and stay on task. But by having a comprehensive information governance program – comprehensive strategy backed by a fully-fledged records retention schedule and file plan -- the enterprise has the ability to be prepared for any sort of eDiscovery case or audit they may face. Instead of having to go to offseason weightlifting sessions or needing extra batting practice, the enterprise needs to get the records, legal, IT, and compliance/risk departments together early on in order establish an information governance game plan. The extra preparation from the beginning helps ensure not only a smooth eDiscovery process, but also numerous other benefits that accumulate steadily over time.
This became widely apparent than in the now-infamous Apple v Samsung case in 2012. In the case, both parties had adverse inference rulings made against them for not exercising control over the required documents for the case. In both cases, it was the poorly constructed policies that ultimately lead to the ruling, as Samsung had aggressive 2-week automatic deletion policies for emails and Apple had policies limiting the number of emails an end user could retain. Both sides failed to adapt these policies to exclude or “freeze” the information that was supposed to be under legal hold, therefore putting them in violation. Had a comprehensive information governance policy been created and an information governance solution been in place, both instances could have been avoided. Luckily for the companies, since both parties were in violation, the violations effectively cancelled each other out. If not, than it may have resulted in tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties. Hindsight is 20/20…. everyone realizes they should have started that final project sooner.
Similarly, the normal litigation costs faced every day by organizations that choose to outsource the collection through presentation parts of the EDRM to outside counsel or forensic firms can be drastically reduced with an information governance program and end-to-end solution. Having a solution that can manage the entire lifecycle of information as well as navigate the length of the EDRM allows for more pointed searches for information, as opposed to mass transfers of data for review. The less data needed for review -- particularly since most will not be relevant -- reduces the time and money needed to prepare for an eDiscovery case.
At the end of the day, even though it can be a significant cost or time commitment at the beginning, “getting your homework done early” with information governance can reduce the time and money for years to come. Just remember to pick your study buddies wisely.