Autonomy & three phases of eDiscovery/information governance

451 clients will have seen my report of Autonomy’s Q2 results last night, so I’m not talking too much out of school here, but one of the more interesting things for the longer term from its conference call was the identification of three phases of evolution from basic eDiscovery through information governance.

The spot in the call where this was examined was given over to COO Andrew Kanter, who is a lawyer. He didn’t elaborate on it as we has clearly reading from a script (so much so that he said “click,” at the end of each slide ;)), but nevertheless I though it was interesting to note and pass on.

The three phases, which the company believes will encompass roughly five years at most large organizations are:

  1. Archiving and basic e-discovery as companies deal with litigation or are not in compliance
  2. Legal hold and early case assessment – part of what it calls advanced e-discovery – when companies come to the conclusion that manual methods of legal hold – sending emails out to the employees saying not to delete things – don’t work.
  3. The third phase is information governance, i.e. the policies and technologies meant to dictate and manage what corporate information is retained, where and for how long. 

At the moment, the company is seeing ongoing work in phase one and the start of work in phase two. It has one unnamed client doing phase-two work – a Wall Street institution – with 70,000 desktops and 490TB of data to manage across six geographies. Autonomy says the number of potential deals in its pipeline for phase two has increased in the last quarter, but its timelines are still a bit fuzzy. But it seems like Autonomy is not seeing any phase three, i.e. full-on, enterprise-wide information governance work at the moment.

We have seen this movement from e-discovery to information governance in our own research, but we’ve also noticed how early we are in that process. In fact Kathleen Reidy is about to publish our report on information governance that picks up directly from where our December 2008 report on e-Discovery and e-Disclosure left off. In this new report we will examine various approaches to information governance and how it will impact the market for archiving, content management, search and e-Discovery going forward. Kathleen or I can provide more detail should you require it.

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