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Q & A With the Men Who Made the EDRM Mold: Tom Gelbmann and George Socha

Created: 11 Feb 2013 • 1 comment
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Q. On a daily basis I discuss the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) with customers, of course attributing credit to you two, and I find it is a very actionable and helpful paradigm to describe eDiscovery and Information Governance. Not too long ago, the EDRM was supplemented by the IGRM- can you explain the history of both? 

Tom: IGRM (Information Governance Reference Model) is a response to the growing focus on addressing arguably the most significant issue facing organizations with respect to managing internal information – getting their electronic data house in order. Many of the cost components associated with electronic discovery can be lessened by effective information governance policies and processes in place. The IGRM provides a framework to help organizations develop and implement these policies and processes that reflect the active involvement of the key constituencies in an organization – Legal, IT, Records, Management, line of business entities, and Privacy /Security.

George: As Tom noted, organizations need to get their electronic houses in order.  To do that, they need the appropriate people at the table, all equipped with a something to use as the starting point for their discussions and as means of focusing their efforts.  Our IGRM framework is meant to be that something.  The new IGRM framework grew out of the first box in the EDRM diagram, Information Management.  That box started in 2005 as Records Management, but in 2007 we changed the name to Information Management to reflect that broader scope implicated by eDiscovery.  We launched the Information Management Reference Model (IMRM) project in 2009 and in 2011 changed the name from Management to Governance.

Q. Can you explain the appropriate use case for each? 

Tom: Best to review materials posted at on IGRM including the IGRM Guide, Using the IGRM Model, and the whitepaper developed jointly between IGRM and ARMA International.

George: Use cases abound for both the EDRM and the IGRM frameworks.  The intent with both frameworks is to provide a structure that allows for many different use cases. For example, one dealing with legal hold issues will approach the EDRM framework from a different perspective and use it in a different fashion than one concerned with choosing appropriate forms of production.

Q. I also see Privacy has been added as a key component to the IGRM. Many of the customers we talk to outside of the U.S. don't have the litigation drivers that prompt U.S. companies to purchase eDiscovery software. However, when a privacy breach occurs- litigation typically follows, therefore they benefit from implementing aspects of eDiscovery in-house. Moreover, archiving and document classification can enable compliance with the requirements of data protection and privacy. Can you explain why you added Privacy from your perspective and your thoughts surrounding this issue? 

Tom: Privacy and Security were added this past year in recognition of the growing importance of this function within organizations.

George: With the growing attention paid to areas such as data transfer and data privacy, security and privacy issues have been receiving heightened scrutiny.  Were these likely to be short-term issues only, we would not have modified the IGRM diagram to add Privacy and Security.  Indications are that these issues will continue to grow in importance for many years to come, hence the addition.

Q. Finally, since you are both at the forefront of eDiscovery, please enlighten our readership on your 2013 predictions. 

Tom: Increasing focus on Information Governance, defensible disposition of ESI, increasing interest in Computer Assisted Review (EDRM recently published the Computer Assisted Review Reference Model (CARRM) to bring clarity and common understanding of basic principles involved), consolidation of providers in the EDiscovery space and the arrival of new providers  - a continuation of what we have seen in the past couple of years.

George: I suspect that we are going to see a dramatic growth in efforts to redirect "traditional" e-discovery tools and techniques, pointing them toward the much larger set of issues encompassed by information governance.  While some providers will continue to absorb others, the growth in new providers will continue to outstrip and decrease coming from acquisitions, mergers, or collapses.  Costs will remain of great concern, but with luck their will be a greater emphasis on how to make better use of the ever-growing array of tools and techniques to accomplish what we really need to do more of in the e-discovery arena - support and enhance the ability to build and tell a persuasive story.

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Authored by: Orville Milholland

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