eDiscovery Daily Blog

Is Information Governance “Too Important to Be Left to Humans”?: eDiscovery Trends

According to a recent report by AIIM, there are “huge volumes of content in most organizations that are not under any form of information governance (IG), retention management, or eDiscovery”.  In their new report (Information Governance: too important to be left to humans), AIIM takes an in-depth look at the scale of IG issues, the drivers to bring it under control, the effectiveness of automated classification, and the impact on risks and costs.

The survey used to provide report results was taken using a web-based tool by 398 individual members of the AIIM community.  In the Executive Summary, AIIM provided key findings in a number of areas, including IG Drivers and Issues, IG Maturity, Storage and Data Reduction, Automating IG, Cloud, E-Discovery and Spend.  Here is a sample of some of the findings:

IG Drivers and Issues

  • In the light of recent leaks, hacks and email issues, IG is very high on the senior management agenda for 28% of organizations, and 53% have new IG initiatives. 57% of respondents say senior management are only interested when things go wrong;
  • 51% have had data-related incidents in the past 12 months, including 16% suffering a data breach – half from external hacking and half from staff. Staff negligence or bad practice is the most likely cause of data loss (20%).

IG Maturity

  • The volume of paper records is increasing in 33% of organizations, and decreasing in 39%. This net difference of 6% decreasing compares to 10% increasing in 2014. The largest organizations (5,000+ employees) are making most progress (21% net decreasing).
  • Information retention, access security and data protection are covered by most IG policies, but only 47% cover mobile access and mobile devices, including BYOD (39%). Only 36% have specific policies for cloud-based content sharing.

Storage Reduction and Data Retention

  • As well as replacing file-shares with ECM, 22% are considering a cloud model to reduce storage costs, and 25% are automating retention, deletion and data cleaning. 25% will just go on buying more discs.

Automating IG

  • 34% feel that automated classification is more consistent than humans, including 20% who feel it’s more accurate too. 48% prefer the idea of machine prompt with human review.


  • Cost saving is the biggest driver for cloud (66%), then business resilience (49%). Easier cross-enterprise access and adoption is cited by 42%.


  • 50% rely on manual search for eDiscovery across electronic and paper records. 14% have a dedicated eDiscovery application within or across systems.
  • 54% of the largest organizations will have multiple legal holds applied per year. But so will 11% of the smallest.

As the Introduction notes, even if day-forward policies are adopted to classify and tag the currently unclassified content, the volumes involved, and the change in staff attitudes needed, represent a huge hurdle to jump. Automated processes or prompted assistance are likely to provide the only enduring solutions. Tagging and classifying the existing content to add value and remove redundant, obsolete and trivial content (for which the clever acronym is “ROT”) would be quite impossible without automated agents working on rules-based algorithms that match the defined governance policies.

You can download the FREE Executive Summary with a more comprehensive list of key findings here.  If you’re an AIIM Professional Member, the entire report is free; if not, you can become a member for only $169 to access this report as well as other AIIM resources.

So, what do you think?  Is Information Governance “too important to be left to humans”?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.