An interesting article on InsideCounsel by Dean Gonsowski of Symantec-Clearwell called The e-Discovery Maturity Model considers the stages through which an organisation goes through in reaching a level of skill and competence appropriate to the issues which it faces.
Picking up on a recent paper by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) Dean refers to these stages as “maturity levels”. He says:
The lowest maturity level is aptly named Chaotic. The next levels are Managed, Standardised and then Semi-integrated. The pinnacle of eDiscovery enlightenment is Integrated and Optimised.
He quotes the saying “Where you stand depends on where you sit”, that is, whether and when you reach your destination depends on your starting point. It is the same idea as it turns up in the old Irish joke whose punchline is “Well if I was going there, I wouldn’t be starting from here”.
There are two components to this – your pre-existing level of skill, and the frequency and difficulty of your discovery exercises. Dean refers to the one-off “hair on fire” case which will almost certainly involve dependence on third parties and which may or may not be one of a sequence of such events, and takes us through to a full-blown information governance situation where policies, processes and appropriate teams are aligned with the recurring needs of the organisation.
Every organisation, and every law firm come to that, ought to know where it stands in terms of its skill and experience on the one hand and its target on the other. Dean Gonsowski’s article is a good start in understanding both these things.