Utility Week

UTILITY Week 17th July 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Page 22 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 17TH - 23RD JULY 2015 | 23 Operations & Assets Market view T oday's working environment is increas- ingly dominated by the use of mobile and social media, raising important implications for corporate data management. Mobile media is firmly integrated into our everyday activities, enabling convergence between our working lives and personal social media. The rise of enterprise social networking sites such as Jive, SharePoint and Yammer has contributed to the growth of corporate data volumes by 40 per cent annually as organisations move tasks and content over to these collaborative platforms. Social enterprise networks are becoming more widely used within the utility industry, particularly for organisations with large, geo- graphically-dispersed workforces. Given the distributed nature of utility assets, combined with the need for more efficient asset man- agement and employment of labour, social enterprise networks are a valuable tool for utility companies. As a communication platform, enterprise social networks combine the relationship- oriented nature and user friendliness of consumer social media like Facebook and Twitter with more powerful features and enterprise level control. When used cor- rectly, these internal communities enable employees to find company information and resources and contribute their exper- tise across the entire organisation quickly and efficiently. However, the implications of these systems for electronic disclosure pro- cesses and the management of electronically stored information, must also be considered. When a company finds itself subject to litigation or a regulatory investigation, it will need to search the entirety of its data sources for potentially relevant documents and data, including data held in enterprise social net- working sites. In these circumstances, for- ward planning and process-driven electronic disclosure expertise are essential in order to ensure effective response. The broad definition of "document" in the civil procedure rules continues to expand as modern means of communication evolve and new tools gain popularity. In litigation and regulatory investigations, the importance of this information is undeniable. Indeed, the judiciary recognise that: "Emails, texts, Twit- ter postings and the like are oen the most revealing and reliable contemporaneous evi- dence of what someone said or thought at a particular timeā€¦ Memories are notoriously false and self-serving for any fact-finding judge." The rise of social networking in the work- place is said to be the third-largest concern to a range of IT and electronic disclosure pro- fessionals, suggesting that companies have yet to comprehensively understand and meet this challenge. Companies must take proac- tive action to ensure that they can properly store and extract data from these evolving data sources. It is important for utility companies to understand what kind of data is likely to be produced and stored by new social and mobile media, particularly given the highly regulated environment in which they oper- ate. Companies should continuously inves- tigate the extent of possible new sources of electronically stored information in light of new communication practices. This will involve the development and maintenance of a data map to record all existing data types, technical infrastructure and storage solutions. Professional networking sites, workplace communications platforms such as Yammer and Chatter, Twitter and other technologies, produce huge amounts of cor- porate information, and companies will need to manage the retention times and deletion of content held on these social networks. If a company's data map is not regularly updated, it is likely that it may not include many newly introduced media types and rel- evant information may be missed. Companies face serious consequences if they do not maintain an accurate data map governing all admissible data, be it email attachments or communication records from workplace social media such as Yammer and Chatter. The current attitude can be summed up by the comments of one UK judge who wrote that "one expects [the party, a large corporation] to have an efficient and effec- tive information management system in place to provide identification, preserva- tion, collection, processing, review analysis and production of its electronically-stored informationā€¦ failure to disclose such critical information to assist the court is surprising and to be deplored." In this case, the com- pany in question was penalised. The implications of not including new technologies in a thorough and regularly updated data map can be far reaching. In a litigation case in the UK the presiding judge awarded costs against the claimant following deficiencies in the process of disclosing elec- tronic documents. Today's digital landscape means using social networking sites to share informa- tion is increasingly the norm. On paper the benefits posed by enterprise social networks include greater collaboration, more sharing of ideas and a streamlining of information, skills and experience within the workplace. However, the growing popularity of enterprise social networks and the result- ing increase in data serves to highlight the importance of a continual data management strategy. The consequences of neglecting this monitoring process can be costly both finan- cially and in terms of reputation. Martin Bonney, senior director, interna- tional consulting services, Epiq Systems Message management Social enterprise networks are a useful corporate tool, but utilities must be mindful of the need to monitor and store the data they generate in case of litigation, says Martin Bonney. Key points Social enterprise networks are an effective communications platform at the enter- prise level. Companies must have plans and process in place for the electronic disclosure of such networks in case of litigation. Companies should continuously monitor the extent of new sources of electronically stored information. The courts expect large companies to have ready access to archives of such data, and will penalise those that do not.

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