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Autoclassification tools aid information governance strategy

Companies are using autoclassification software to get a handle on their ballooning enterprise information.

As companies move from searching information for specific purposes to categorizing information more generally,...

they have to think differently about this information.

Historically, companies were using technologies such as autoclassification to search their information in the event of litigation. But today, information is proliferating at such a pace that companies need to think strategically about how to store, find, manage and destroy this information efficiently, and they are seeing the virtues of using autoclassification technologies for these purposes as well.

Vicki Clewes, VP of global records and information management, McKesson Corp.Vicki Lee Clewes

In doing so, enterprises are moving well beyond e-discovery to manage information assets more broadly. But information governance experts caution that technology tools have to be supplemented with solid processes and policies that employees can follow.

“You're looking for specific things in litigation -- the universe gets narrower and narrower, as you categorize the documents between those you need for litigation and those you don't," said Vicki Lee Clewes, vice president of global records and information management at McKesson Corp. -- a San Francisco-based healthcare information provider and pharmaceutical distributor -- and a speaker at the InfoGovCon conference Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Hartford, Conn., discussed using autoclassification technologies for broader information governance . "But that's not what you do in records management. You're looking at truly classifying all your information."

Clewes sat down with SearchContentManagement to discuss her role in records management at McKesson.

Why did you move out of e-discovery and into records management?

I started in e-discovery, and then I wondered why we kept certain things when we were in litigation. Seven or eight years ago, I wanted to go toward the left-hand side of [records management] and looked at being proactive, and that's what sent me down the records management path.

I've said all along, "Why can't we use these tools to be proactive, not reactive?" It was difficult for a long time because tools were meant for specific populations of documents. You are looking for a key set of terms in e-discovery. That's harder in the records world, because the universe is broader. You're searching the company's whole footprint of information.

The idea is to take humans out of it as much as possible. I'm not one of those who think that people make the wrong decisions about retention. I think most of the time, they make a defensible choice, but I would love to have a way to help them not have to do some of that. There's no way we can know everything we need to know about all the data that's out there, and this is where technology comes in.

Why is autoclassification different in records management?

In records management, you're looking at truly classifying. Finding data by content and then mapping back to your retention schedule. There might be a layer that narrows because you can dispose of that data. In e-discovery, you are going to specific stakeholders and looking for specific data to support your inquiry. Autoclassification in records management doesn't have those boundaries; you're dealing with all enterprise information.

I have 10 different business units that all do different things. So, I need to look at records from 10 different places, and map those back to retention schedules and so on. There needs to be human intervention in technology-assisted review.

Why is information governance broader than e-discovery?

Information governance is so much broader than just records.
Vicki Lee Clewesvice president of global records and information management McKesson Corp.

E-discovery has been the tail that has wagged this dog [of information governance]. [The tasks of e-discovery] are not what happen out in the rest of the business. For us, information is an asset. We want to mitigate risk by applying appropriate retention, but we don't have concern over privilege. The things we worry about are privacy and security related.

Information governance is so much broader than just records. I lead the information governance working council for McKesson. It includes the head of privacy, security, four people embedded in business units, including HR, finance -- it's just so much broader.

Are you concerned about having a patchwork of content management tools whose data you have to manage?

I don't care about the technology, as long as I can govern it consistently. Even if different business units use different technologies, they have to follow the rules I set for governing information. Do I believe having one place to store data is better? Yes. Is that practical in our company right now? No. I have to be practical.

When I was at a [former employer], we had 8,000 people, we had Documentum and that' what you had to use. But at McKesson, we have 100,000 people all over the world, with different business units with their own presidents and their own budgets -- it becomes much more complex. My main thing has been focusing on creating the information governance structure, so whatever they do, it must fit in that structure.

For more on information governance strategy and #InfoGovCon2015, check out SearchContentManagement.

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