There is well-known idea throughout the “industry” that the E-Discovery and the Content Management folks just don’t get along. The reasons are pretty simple. The content management folks say if an organization has a proper content management solution in place then there is no need for an e-discovery solution. According to the e-discovery folks many content management solutions are not robust enough or are simply not designed to address e-discovery effectively. These both seem to be good arguments, but in fact the sides are coming closer and closer together. As companies merge and products are bundled more and more content management solutions and for that matter e-mail management systems are incorporating e-discovery solutions in their products (hello, Exchange 2010).

On the other side of the coin it seems that a major advantage of having an e-discovery solution in place is better overall content management. When installing an e-discovery solution organizations may begin to view the issue of “content chaos” in a different light. Instead of a headache that needs to be addressed someday in the future issues such as managing e-mail as a record, over-flowing and unstructured data on shared drives, content classification schemes, and the like are pushed to the forefront.

So it seems to me that these days’ e-discovery and content management solutions share much in common. That is not to say that one or other take care of all your needs. Different businesses will require different solutions and some may require several (enterprise search anyone?). However, it does seem like both side of the CM/ED schism are closer than they may think and both will help users get a better grip on managing “content chaos” and reducing potential liability.

Miller Montague November 17, 2010