Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Knowledge Management and E-discovery

The first session at the roundtable was about trying to reconcile knowledge management and e-discovery. Is there interplay between the two?

There is certainly a technology tools theme. Both are trying to deal with big volumes of information. However, with E-discovery it is mandatory; with knowledge management it is discretionary.

With EDD, you’re willing to cull down to smaller and smaller sets of documents. With KM, you want the one document or a very small set of documents.

The money is in EDD (and more risk). As a result there seems to be more innovation in EDD. Auto-classification, clustering etc. coming from EDD.

Another theme the panel discussed was business process. Both need the development of business processes of people with skill sets. They need to educate lawyers as to process, issues and benefits. Both have the need of project management. EDD can be revenue generating but KM is rarely revenue generating (directly). One participant pointed out that for EDD he would probably hire a manager from Toyota than a lawyer to run Electronic discovery. The needs of project management, quality assurance and quality control exceed the needs of legal analysis.

One benefit combining of combining EDD and KM is the revenue generation from EDD. The crowd railed against this as covering up real issue. You are just trying to sneak KM in and hide under the EDD budget.

Another common theme was the emphasis on metadata. Both EDD and KM about adding metadata around documents and putting documents and information into context. With EDD, you have a defined domain of interest and a defined social network of participation. With KM, you do not have a defined decision often anticipating demand and requests for information.

I have to admit that I came into the session pooh-poohing e-discovery. After the discussion I came away with the understanding of common themes and ideas. I am not sure if I am going to act on it.

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