IBM Acquires PSS Systems – You Might Be Asking Why?

In case you missed it, IBM announced today the acquisition of PSS Systems.

You might be asking why?  Organizations are striving for rigorous discovery, more effective information retention, and legally-defensible data disposal because of rising eDiscovery pressures and exponential information growth.  According to Information Week, a whopping 17% – and rising – of organizations’ IT budgets is now spent on storage.   A new Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC) Benchmark Report on information governance revealed fewer than 25% of organizations are able to dispose of data because they lack rigorous legal hold practices or effective record retention programs.  eDiscovery costs average over $3 million per case yet an estimated 70% of information is often needlessly retained; as with escalating IT costs, the root cause of escalating eDiscovery cost is the inability to dispose of information when it is no longer needed.

Organizations struggle with these issues.  What has been missing up until now are: 1) a way to coordinate policy decisions for legal hold and retention management across stakeholders; and 2) a way to systematically execute those policy decisions on high volumes of information that are often residing in disparate systems.  To effectively determine what is eligible for disposal, organizations must determine and associate the legal obligations for information and its specific business value with information assets.  With multiple stakeholders, litigation intensity and information diversity across the enterprise, it is essential to coordinate and formalize policy decisions in real time as they are made by legal, records and business groups and automate the execution of those policies on information across the enterprise.

These problems are of high importance to legal and IT executives; 57% have established executive committees to drive better legal and lifecycle governance outcomes but less than 1/3 of organizations have achieved the desired cost and risk reduction results.

Organizations lack sufficient internal competency or resources to quantify the cost and risk business case and define the program structures necessary to achieve their defensible disposal goals.  While 98% of organizations cite defensible disposal as the results they are seeking, only 17% believe they have the right people resources at the table1.  The analysts predict that the market for these kinds of governance solutions will experience significant growth through 2014, they also point out that internal cooperation and competencies are barriers today.

Now with the acquisition of PSS Systems, only IBM provides a comprehensive and integrated enterprise solution for legal and information lifecycle governance, along with the business expertise that customers need to reduce legal risk and lower discovery and information and content management costs. The PSS Atlas legal information governance solutions complement and extend IBM’s existing Information Lifecycle Governance strategy and integrated suite of solutions.  This joint olution and approach is unlike others that address only a single silo such as legal, which fail to systematically link legal decisions to corresponding information assets and therefore don’t fully mitigate risk or actually increase the cost of compliance.

Until now, organizations’ choices were limited, and reinforced their problems by failing to systematically link legal obligations and business value to information assets. Often initial selection of tactical eDiscovery applications left organizations with high risk and compliance cost and no path forward to defensible disposal because these tactical applications don’t integrate holistically with records and retention management, email archiving, advanced classification and enterprise content management systems and infrastructure.

Those days are over !!  If you can’t tell … I am excited about the future of how we plan to help customers tackle these problems in concert with our new colleagues from PSS Systems.

Adding Storage or Enforcing Retention: The Debate is Over

I did a joint webcast this week with InformationWeek on strategies to deal with information overload (which made me feel guilty about my recent lull in blogging).  On the webcast we conducted a quick poll and I was fascinated by the results.  The poll consisted of two questions:

The first question was …

What is your organization’s current, primary strategy for dealing with its information overload?

The choices and audience responses were:

  1. Adding more storage  35.2%
  2. Developing new enterprise retention policies to address information growth  29.6%
  3. Enforcing enterprise retention policies more vigorously  9.3%
  4. Don’t know  25.9%

The second question was the same except asked in a future tense:

What is your organization’s future, primary strategy for dealing with its information overload?

It had the same choices but far different audience responses:

  1. Adding more storage  19.1%
  2. Developing new enterprise retention policies to address information growth  29.8%
  3. Enforcing enterprise retention policies more vigorously  25.5%
  4. Don’t know  25.5%

Holy smokes Batman! … I think we are coming out of the dark ages.  Keep in mind that InformationWeek serves an IT centric audience and generally not the RIM or Legal stakeholders who are already passionate about retention and disposition of records and information.  From this survey data I concluded the following from this IT centric audience:

  • 29.6% already developing retention policies today in addition to those that already have them – this is progress.
  • Adding storage as a primary strategy will decrease from 35.2% to 19.2%this is amazing … and may be the first time “adding storage” wasn’t the automatic answer.
  • Enforcing retention as a primary strategy will increase from 9.3% to 25.5%IT professionals clearly understand that enforcing retention is “the” answer to controlling information growth, see Spring Cleaning for Information and How Long Do I Keep Information?
  • 55.3% will develop or enforce retention policies as a primary strategy in the future – more than 3 times now prefer this to adding storage.
  • Developing and enforcing retention policies is now the clear choice for a primary strategy to address information overload and growth over simply adding storage.

This isn’t the only data that supports this of course.  According to Osterman Research, 70% of organizations share the same concern.  A number of related resources can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2fayjwf including a webinar from Osterman and others.

Here is the replay link to the information overload webinar Content Assessment: The Critical First Steps to Gaining Control that serves as the backdrop for this posting … I hope you check it out.

In any case, rejoice with me … Ding Dong the Witch is Dead !

Developing and enforcing retention policies is now the clear choice and current primary strategy over simply adding storage by all stakeholders … IT, Legal and RIM.  Are you seeing the same change in thought and action in your organization?  Let me know by sharing your thoughts.