Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2012-05-31 05:00:04Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Do you file your critical email in folders or just search for what you need? “Filer” or “finder” status does not matter until your company decides to clean up its digital landfills. Records management sounds easy at first. Users designate actual business records and some system expires (deletes) non-record communications and loose Office files after an acceptable time for business use. Microsoft introduced Managed Folders for Outlook 2007 to support this exact process. Although they could have replicated the same functionality into normal file shares (directories), they chose to nudge the market to migrate loose content to Sharepoint for many reasons. The entire ‘foldering’ concept is dependent on overburdened users taking the time and effort to make active decisions on every email they send or receive. Many users have given up trying to file email or files into the appropriate folders and instead just rely on Outlook/Windows search (weak) or aftermarket desktop search engines like X1 or ISYS to find items when they need them. So how does a company minimize user (and productivity) impact while implementing a selective retention initiative (i.e. stop keeping everything)?

The first question to answer is whether you are even a good candidate for selective retention.

  • What portion of your ESI must be kept to comply with legal regulation or litigation preservation requirements?
  • How long do most of your users really need to keep ESI to support the normal business cycle?
  • What portion of your users are filers vs. finders?
  • Can you realistically compel finders to file or designate records?
  • What is your company risk vs. cost tolerance?
  • How fast is your unstructured ESI growing?
  • What is the proportion of legacy to active ESI in your environment?
  • Do your legacy repositories (file shares, PSTs, etc) contain sensitive or confidential content that need to be properly expired?
  • Is there a large portion of actual records in your repositories?

Most of these questions can be answered by simple interviews, sampling and data profiling. None of these questions by themselves will dictate whether your company should invest in retention management or better search/retrieval capabilities. Taken in context, they should give you a foundation to assess whether your business and legal profile is suitable for a retention initiative to begin draining your digital landfills and decreasing your eDiscovery burden. I hope that some of the more innovative Technology Assisted Review (TAR) solutions can be adapted to ease the actual user impact of record designation. After all, the challenge of relevance review is essentially the same as record designation. We always are interested in hearing about innovative solutions to these problems, so please comment or send me a note at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com if you are willing to talk about your process.

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