The most interesting topic of discussion at LegalTech 2014 was not some new technology nor the proposed revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but the launch of the Information Governance Initiative. That is certainly not to dismiss the technology at LegalTech – Equivio launched Equivio Zoom for Information Governance in the same week as the IGI, and Recommind’s Axcelerate 5 made its appearance at LegalTech for example – but the technology is servant to the objectives, and information governance is increasingly seen as the objective which matters; that is why Equivio and Recommind are among the supporters of the IGI.
The inspiration behind the IGI comes from the strong team which has assembled at Drinker Biddle & Reath – Bennett Borden, Jay Brudz and Jason Baron who, with Barclay Blair of ViaLumina and others, have long been the instigators of constructive thought about information governance.
What is information governance exactly? That is addressed in the description here of IGI’s mission, which lists thirteen key components of IG. None can deny their importance; it is evident too that things will be missed – benefits and opportunities as well as risks – if the management of information sits in thirteen separate silos within a corporation.
The IGI’s primary functions are of advocacy, of benchmarking, of defining thinking and of encouraging standards. It sees itself as an umbrella organisation and as a bridge between the various disciplines both within corporations and across outside organisations who provide advice and services to them.
I spoke to Bennett Borden before the launch and asked him why this was the right time to jump given that the expression “information governance” has been widely used for some time now. Bennett said that electronic discovery, for so long the dominant subject, was merely one of several uses for information. It has been the driver for much of the technology, which is now sufficiently advanced to be applied to anticipating problems rather than merely solving them. The paralysis of thought which has been the norm now seemed to be breaking down. Improvements in the economy now allowed companies to think strategically rather than merely reactively.
The Information Governance Initiative is supported by several companies with skills and interests in information governance, including Equivio, kCura, Nuix, Recommind, Xerox and ZyLAB (to name only those who are supporters also of the eDisclosure Information Project).
I took the opportunity to record a video interview with Jason Baron and Bennett Borden in which they explain both the drivers and the purpose of the information governance initiative. I will publish this shortly.