EDRM is Not Linear – So, How Do We Close the Loop?

EDRM, the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, is the dominant model for eDiscovery. With each new case, you begin an iteration of EDRM until you complete the case.

When this happens, most people believe that the linear instance of EDRM is now complete.

But what they have either failed to notice or have been unable to take to heart that EDRM is  not a linear process.

The EDRM is, in fact, a cyclical process with the addition of the IGRM or Information Governance Reference Model to the left side of the model. You’ll note that thin arrows are coming off of the main processes toward the bottom of the model and then back to the IGRM at every stage in the right-side process.  

These arrows represent your opportunity to learn and improve.

How can you improve without communication? 

What do these arrows mean for your eDiscovery processes? They are an opportunity for learning and improvement; but that opportunity, in reality for most, is a missed opportunity.

It’s far too often a missed opportunity because, again, for most, those cyclical arrows don’t have processes attached to them yet. In some firms, attempting to reflect the true nature of the EDRM, they’ve built into their eDiscovery process, touch-base, and communication points – but to whom do you have those conversations for improvement?

We need to talk about the connections between the left-side and right-side of the EDRM, Information Governance and eDiscovery. Yes, Information Governance is such an essential aspect of eDiscovery that it is shown within the primary model for eDiscovery, and yet, a reflection of that remains rare in ‘the wild.’

That’s because of the lack of processes tying together eDiscovery and Information Governance, so where there have been successes in making the connections, it has been by sheer will of the professionals in each discipline driving communication and improvement.

Kudos to them, but there has to be a better way to drive improvement than by sheer willpower, no?

How can you improve without the tools?

For those firms whose primary method of improvement is communication, we say kudos to you.

But at IPRO, we’ve taken a firmer tact: build into both your eDiscovery and Information Governance software an engrained connection for organizational information improvement.

We’ve designed those connections that drive improvement to happen organically with seamless handoffs when driving eDiscovery and Information Governance through the same platform. Creating new processes within your organization to facilitate connection is excellent, but it works more effectively when you also have the tools to execute the improvement.

Information Governance professionals are adept at executing on one-time projects that drive improvement of information capabilities. Think about typical information cleanup projects that look to remove “ROT” (redundant, outdated, and trivial information). For Information Governance professionals, they’ve been running these projects every few years (depending on their organization’s tolerance for keeping junk lying around). They’ve learned that you don’t need to run individual projects more than once when you have the right tools at your disposal for maturing Information Governance programs.

In our view, the right tools allow you to run your one-time project and then take the rules and policies that you’re using for it and enable them to run continuously in the background on an ongoing basis. This kind of improvement is how the leading Information Governance professionals achieve such great successes – by essentially replicating themselves and their expertise through the power of our software.

What is eDiscovery if not a one-time project?

Now, take that thought one step further – what exactly is eDiscovery if not a one-time information-related project?

We’ve missed a huge opportunity by not taking the learning from each of our cases and using it to drive organizational information improvement by pushing that acquired knowledge of our organization’s information back into our Information Governance processes.

It is this topic that Pierre Chamberland, Chief Innovation Officer at IPRO, and I are planning to probe and discuss during our upcoming session at the MER Conference.

I hope you’re able to attend and learn together with us a new path towards organizational improvement by leveraging the best of both eDiscovery and Information Governance and finally closing, in earnest, the EDRM loop.