As something of a follow-up to the special report we did last fall on the market for eDiscovery tools and technologies, we’ve begun work on a similar report meant to look more deeply at that first process phase in the EDRM — Information Management.
Information management sounds like a nice manageable topic, doesn’t it?
We’re looking specifically at the market for technologies meant to help organizations manage unstructured info (often ad-hoc, like email and unmanaged docs) more effectively so that eDiscovery won’t be such a firedrill if and when it occurs.
eDiscovery isn’t the only reason to get a better handle on this ad-hoc, unstructured info — there are compliance-related reasons in some cases and the costs and risks associated with storing lots of stuff for long periods of time when it should have been culled or deleted. Conversely, not retaining information or at least having a documented retention and disposition plan is also risky.
Here are some of the things we’re learning so far with our research:
- There’s no question that governance is a hot issue with many organizations. Getting a better handle on email is the biggest pain point. Check out this recent AIIM survey for some interesting data on this.
- Better preparedness for eDiscovery is the biggest driver, followed by the complexity of compliance, the need to reduce costs, and security concerns (security-related governance is really a separate market and not one we’re looking at here).
- One of the fundamental questions seems to come down to whether organizations want to take an archive-based approach to governance or one that is tied to an ECM platform.
- Since email is the big problem, email archives are a big part of the solution for many companies.
- Email archives are expanding to handle more diverse content types with more sophisticated retention, classification, legal holds and eDisco tools.
- The disconnect with this approach seems to be when emails or other content actually are records and need to be managed as such. How data moves from one system (e.g., archive to records management system) or is managed in-place in an archive by an RM system seems to be mostly an unexplored issue for most organizatins at this point.
- Because of this, ECM vendors paint archive-only vendors as “point tools.” ECM vendors see governance as an ECM problem and come at with platforms that generally include both archiving and records management. But the archives from ECM vendors are generally newer or not traditionally as competitive in pure archiving scenarios.
All of the above makes for quite an interesting, if difficult to label, market. We’re not really writing a report on the ECM market, since the archives are so critical to handling email especially, the major problem area, and most of the leading email archiving vendors are not full ECM vendors. But there is definitely an ECM and records management component to this so we’re not just profiling the email archiving market. In fact, we’re trying to only profile those vendors that can manage multiple content types and, ideally, do so across repositories.
Which I think leaves us talking about the information governance market. This concerns me a little bit, as I worry that “information governance” is a vague tag and not really an identifiable sector. But I see no other easy way to describe the intersection of vendors and technologies we see coming at this problem from different areas of strength.
I’d love any comments on what others think about this – is information governance a market?