World still struggling with e-discovery: Survey

World still struggling with e-discovery: Survey

June 4, 2009:A global survey undertaken by HP found that less than half of business decision-makers have a high confidence level in the quality and accessibility of information within their organisations.

Most organisations remain ill-equipped to manage information for electronic discovery requests in a timely and cost-effective manner. This is due to the lack of a proactive strategy, solutions and funding to properly address requests.

When asked which “information-centric” projects they would spend on in the next two years, respondents noted document workflow transformation, records management and e-discovery/compliance.

However, companies are still struggling with these fundamental requirements, primarily because they don’t understand the requirements for responding to e-discovery requests. In addition, they lack the funding for the right technology solutions to support finding the information they need.

“The industry-accepted Electronic Discovery Reference Model for best practice e-discovery identifies the first step to ensuring companies are best prepared for legal or audit search requests is the implementation of an information management solution'" said Claudia Currie, Governance and E-Discovery Solutions Marketing Manager, HP Software Australia.

"By adopting this proactive approach Australian organizations will be able to more easily comply with the newly amended Practice Note 17 by the Federal Court of Australia” .

“HP has several customers who are already showing preparedness for PN17 through their adoption of document and records management processes, namely The City of Ryde. PN17 represents a significant regulatory change in Australia, which will require that organisations re-view their e-discovery strategies.” said Currie.

More than half of respondents from small and medium-sized businesses cited a lack of understanding of e-discovery requirements as the main reason for not establishing an effective e-discovery strategy.

They also noted the lack of a business case.

“Customers can avoid costly legal fees and reduce business risks by having a proactive e-discovery strategy,” said Andrew Belger, Director, Information Management Solutions, HP Software & Solutions, Asia Pacific & Japan. “A proactive e-discovery solution includes a clearly defined records management process, an established information retention system and the support of the appropriate personnel within the organization. These all must be in place before the need for e-discovery arises.”

What organizations find most valuable with electronically stored information

Of the respondents surveyed, nearly 80 percent recognized a need to address at least three types of electronically stored information with an e-discovery solution: emails (89 percent), office documents (78 percent) and data in databases (72 percent).(2)

As much as 80 percent of content within organizations today is “unstructured,” or information that is not held within a database.

Very few organizations said they would be looking to address multimedia information sources through e-discovery. This raises the question of how organizations would deal with the complexities of an e-discovery request that includes other forms of unstructured content including text messages, video, audio and social media content.

The survey included telephone interviews with 142 business and technology executives in organizations with more than 10,000 employees in the US, UK, Australia and Singapore. Interviews spanned industries such as manufacturing, finance, wholesale, retail, construction and government.

HP also conducted an online survey on the barriers, priorities and requirements associated with establishing an e-discovery strategy. Respondents were predominantly senior executives based in the United States.