Friday, August 17, 2007

ILTA Conference First Post--"KM 1:" The Alignment of Information Management, Knowledge Management and Records Management

I'm in Orlando at the International Legal Technology Association annual conference, by far the largest group of peers & near-peers that I've attended. Past KM conferences have had on the order of 50 to 125 or so attendees. This one has 1300 professional attendees and 1200 vendors to boot.

Topic: Alignment of IM, KM, and RM

Catherine Monte is the moderator. She is the Vice President of the ILTA KM Peer Group and the Chief Knowledge Office at Fox Rothschild in Philadephia.

I am a big fan of Sally Gonzalez and attended this session over the one about intro to Web 2.0 because she was a presenter. She's at Navigant Consulting. She showed a "drawn & quartered" slide showing information getting pulled in four different directions by discovery preparedness, compliance, operational effectiveness, and knowlege sharing. Where records management, KM, and IT information management are taken as separate initiatives, these requirements may lead to oppositional forces.

She also showed a flow chart for decision-making and business processes in the Records, KM, and Electronic Information areas. The key determinations are: a) is the info a business record?, b) does it have business value? and c) does it have KM value? and d) when should it be deleted or stored?

She exhorted us to find ways to organize information within organization that leave you operationally effective, compliance-ready, and have your knowledge managed.
The most difficult area is in records without business value. The key is to classify and store for shortest possible period.

An app called "Odyessey" classifies records without user intervention. They found that 25-40% of email has no business value.

John Szekeres, ("Seh-keh-resh")*, Director of KM-Business Systems at Cleary Gottlieb presented on his records management initiative. Cleary was locked out of its offices for 3 months after 9/11 and couldn't get to its paper records. So that wouldn't happen again, they developed Virtual File Room or "VFR." More & more information is going around in email attachment. Secretaries used to make a copy of all correspondence for chron file and another for the records department. Now people are less & less diligent about filing.

The VFR system requires attorney or paralegals to check a radio button to choose whether or not to put the email in VFR, and asks for client/matter number if it is going in; staff can separately categorize attachments. After the first week, they got calls such as "you ruined my life". Calls died down after a week or so however.** A watermark was added to each email to show others that email has been filed.

Retrieval of info out of VFR has been difficult. Interwoven tools have not been "as refined as they needed to be." Using Recommind to search all of Worksite repositories--each office has own, each matter owned by an office. (sure would be nice). KM helped "fashion the solution."

Records Dept. reviews each document sent to VFR to make sure they are properly titled, named, categorized. Now 400,000 documents behind. Reccomind has automatic categorization. Did bakeoff between reccomind and records people categorization--Reccomind categorization was very good, higher level of consistency than records people.

IT built VFR. KM & Records built VFR records structure. KM provided holistic perspective on all types of database.

Peter Krakaur is the CKO at Orrick; previously, he spent four years as a practicing attorney, then started his own internet company. He's been at Orrick for five years, and also writes on "pseudo-ethics" of internet use & technology. His KM program has three focuses: 1) work product 2) practice--what do we know about matters & clients, 3) people, who knows whom, including judges, appearances.

The panel spent most of its time addressing three questions.

1) What are the competing interests between KM, IT, and RM?

IT: prioritizes operational effectiveness. How can I back it up? How can I reduce the volume of email? How can I get Exchange to work? How can I implement a litigation hold consistently and effectively?

KM: Knowledge Management wants to retain as much information and documents as possible, definitely first and last versions, maybe more; KM wants to integrate records retention with KM classifications; KM wants sustainable useable system, or"How can you find it?" KM has shifted from document-level to attributing information to matters. KM may classify a document one way because of a high-level metadata need, while records is taking another way. Goal is to have same classification scheme in Worksite as in records system. Sally Gonzalez noted that KM may want to redact/sanitize records for classification. John Szekeres addressed how removal of a document from its deal or case context removes much of the value of records storage.

RM: wants to make sure files are organized, document retention policies are adhered to, documents get deleted at the right time in many different stores, whether DMS, hard copies, CD, or blackberry.

Do you make lawyers records managers?

Q2--What is happening at firms that is affecting the relationship between these groups?

  • Growth/office changes

  • Practice group changes--leadership may not recognize extent of business changes needed to external web site, mailing lists, records classifications;

  • more documents coming into system, greater need for documents to be organized so that they can be find--records no longer an effective way of making documents findable.

  • SG--challenge for IT is to control, identify flow of information across the organization---should IT have the responsibility / take on the burden to dialogue with business constituencies, facilitate discussions

  • development of extranets, client-facing KM systems pose challenges--how do records processes get handled in the context of those sites--adapting internal process to external informaiton coming in.

  • SG reports that some NY firms' clients are cooperating with investigations, waiving privilege, and being asked to produce all emails with client in 24 hours.

  • Can firms set up information systems to comply with clients' records policies? Should this affect engagement letters? Can client determine what happens with its records in terms of a records retention policy?

  • JS--European privacy directive--governs what information can and can't flow between offices. Are some things not supposed to come to US?

Q3 How can KM help RM or IM?

--KM team can be collaborators, part of the group struggling to keep people aware of what's happening. KM can foster communication and collaboration by running changes by people in other groups.
--Opening up matters under "general" numbers destroy ability to track matters
--Don't assume your issue is just an IT, RM, or KM issue--could be more than one.
--e.g., backup of Worksite libraries not just IT, impacted KM, West KM "crawling" by KM started to impact performance / IT.

Two fronts to push:
1) Classification & operational action, business rules driven by new technologies, such as autocategorizing.
2) Search & navigation--enterprise search can deliver autocategorization also.

*John's name is spelled correctly, but I apparently mucked up the phonetics on this Hungarian name. Corrected version above.
**Additional follow-up per JS, 10/3/08

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