eDiscovery, IT and Enlightened Self-Interest

We’ve posted a few blogs (and we’ll be posting more) about how IT is a big part of a company’s eDiscovery success…or a big factor in its failure. This wasn’t always the case. Indeed, as Christine Taylor over at www.enterprisestorageforum.com notes:

As long as IT could maintain a minimum effort or even ignore eDiscovery entirely, they were frankly happier. And why not? IT resources are already strained by just trying to keep up with the core computing environment. Server virtualization, storage management, network unification, data retention, application management, data security: these are IT’s major tasks and reason for being. eDiscovery was just an annoying support call from the Legal department and IT didn’t want to hear it.

However, as Taylor observes, this has changed – and IT is playing a bigger and more important role in the eDiscovery picture; especially around collection and early document review.

She calls this dynamic of IT embracing eDiscovery as a kind of “enlightened self-interest.” That is, IT is taking a shine to eDiscovery, if for no other reason than doing the opposite causes severe IT headaches (and they’d much rather spend their time playing World of Warcraft than butting heads with legal…you didn’t read that here).

Taylor points to four factors that are contributing to IT’s larger and happier involvement in eDiscovery:

  1. Data is growing exponentially and legal simply can’t keep up. Whether or not IT likes it, this is a mess that they – and they alone – must mop up; because nobody else can.

  1. Lawyers aren’t persuading judges responding to eDiscovery requests in a timely fashion poses an “undue burden.” Instead, judges are wagging their gavels and fingers, and responding with: that’s not the court’s problem, buddy. Oh, and they’re also assessing fines and sanctions, too. Put this all together and IT is starting to look like a knight in shining armour.

  1. More IT tools and equipment, such as data management systems, function as eDiscovery data retention and compliance systems. As such, IT is getting more involved from the ground floor on how eDiscovery systems should be built, managed and scaled.

  1. We’ve blogged about how, thanks to eDiscovery, IT and legal are becoming closer and no longer want to see the total obliteration of the other. And just like any budding romance (where obliteration is not a chief goal), it takes some lovin’ from both sides. So just as legal is starting to remember IT’s favorite Beatles song, IT is starting to remember that legal likes chocolate sprinkles on its latte. Or something like that.

Call it enlightened self-interest. Call it cooperation. Call it whatever works. The bottom line is that IT is getting more involved in the eDiscovery picture, and that’s good news for companies who want to stay on solid legal ground in the new digitally-dominated world.

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