For quite some time, I’ve seen the eDiscovery market as an entry channel for broader information management solutions. Many of the expertise location and knowledge management applications of the early 2000’s found a home in the social network analysis function that can help in early case assessment and review. Machine learning and predictive analytics are helping make predictive coding and tagging a reality. And, we’re starting to evolve beyond just eDiscovery. Our recent information governance survey results showed that a majority of respondents believe that auto-classification is the future of information governance. Such solutions can help organizations with defensible disposition and storage management.
I was reminded of this fact by a couple recent events. I was able to meet with a company called Catelas this week. The company runs analytics on data to provide actionable intelligence. Catelas refers to managing the “risk gap.” They believe that companies have a very poor understanding of their current risk profile, whether it’s: information risk (employees stealing information and no one ever knows; going beyond the keyword searches that DLP systems might use to understand the chain of communication); regulatory risk (insider trading, FCPA, government vendors, off label promotion, etc) or litigation risk (settling due to potential cost of discovery without really knowing the facts).
Catelas believes the risk gap exists “because it’s currently impossible to provide analytical reports on data without collecting it.” The company claims to be able to create rules and reports on the entire communications network of the company (including social media) without collecting data. Catelas uses the analogy of an MRI: “currently the process is all about costly, disruptive collections rather like surgery of old, when you really only had a vague idea of the scope of the issues, whereas today’s operations leverage MRI’s to understand where the issues are before they operate and then use key hole surgery to remediate the issue without disruption and with minimal cost.”
It’s an interesting concept and really where the future of ECA is going – to leverage content analysis in order to glean real intelligence from huge volumes of information. This isn’t replacing humans; rather, it’s empowering humans. That’s the power of business intelligence (BI). The HP acquisition of Autonomy validates the fact that BI is extending out into unstructured content – and that the greatest opportunity for BI going forward is in marrying unstructured content intelligence with structured data intelligence.
For Catelas and other companies, there is an opportunity to prove the use-case in eDiscovery and related activities like compliance and internal investigations and security. Once the case is proven, there is a HUGE opportunity to spread that functionality to other areas of the business. Hopefully, this means a new renaissance for information management.