This couldn’t be more true. As data volumes become undeniable barriers to doing things the old way, technology is, once again, poised to help address another of the challenges it has created—this time for the enterprise, not the courtroom. As current search and review technologies, whether predictive coding or other forms of technology-assisted review (TAR), become more and more the heavy-lifters in the document review process, executed with the appropriate human expertise at hand, these tools that can fathom content, cluster, sort, tag, slice and dice, can play an equally constructive role in the enterprise.There are caveats, however. At the moment, there’s nothing off the TAR shelf that is a perfect fit for performing the rigors of classification that many companies require day-to-day for their records management endeavors. In fact, with the explosion of data to multiple platforms, mobile devices, social media and the cloud, even the data sources themselves sometimes seem to need classification. Information governance is an effort that must be contemplated strategically, to be sure, but for the time being, it can be approached tactically with the very tools that Barclay is considering.
How? There are a few ways. Using them for preemptive purposes is a start. Some forward-thinking companies, for instance, are using such tools day-to-day as filters to identify and direct to appropriate repositories all emails with content on pre-defined topics that could relate to serial litigation. Should litigation come, they’ve already done their email collection. Other companies take advantage of routine or one-off data migration efforts, using TAR-type tools to classify data in transit and direct it to pre-determined locations.
Another area overly ripe for the application of TAR tools is data cleanup (aka “defensible disposal”). All of that legacy data living indefinitely on growing stacks of servers can be electronically “reviewed” for relevance—business relevance that is—in much the same way a document set is reviewed for litigation relevance. Using technology-assisted review tools in this context makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, a data-cleanup exercise isn’t usually at the top of a C-suite priority list (or included in the annual budget), but this is shortsighted, especially when it comes to any potential litigation. Those terabytes of errata that could have been disposed of are now in play for (very expensive) collection and review. Just saddle up to a beleaguered GC who wishes their company had done a bit of data housekeeping when they had the chance if you want a tale of woe.
The bottom line? Using TAR-type tools for the full-fledged day-to-day management of business information may still be a ways off, but there comes a time when you can start mowing the grass you have with the tools you have before you landscape the yard. That time is now.