BY ZACH BEAUCHEMIN
Law firms are increasingly bringing their information governance (IG) policies under scrutiny. Creating a well thought out policy requires some time investment but can be relatively easy to accomplish with the help of a trusted consultant like InOutsource; however, many firms find that once they create this policy they are faced with another major challenge, adoption. This is where we believe analytics can help.
Utilizing an analytics platform, like Qlik or Sisense, to bring together data scattered across multiple repositories (i.e. FileTrail, NetDocs, Aderant, and Iron Mountain) will help to provide better access to information, control costs, and reduce risk. In this post, we will highlight several different ‘analytics for information governance’ use cases and we will direct you to a free Qlik Sense product download, as well as free training resources you can use to get started.
Create Central Hub for Managing Disposition of Physical and Electronic Files
Even the most mature IG program may encounter challenges when attempting to enact final disposition. The data required to make destruction decisions may exist across multiple repositories, including the records management system (RMS), the financial system, and possibly even offsite storage vendor databases.
In years past, when working with law firm clients on disposition projects, InOutsource initiated query requests from the firm’s financial system, for matter status and activity data. We combined these results, with ad-hoc queries from the RMS, in Excel. Using this data, we were able to identify eligible and upcoming populations. While these reports and spreadsheets provided immense value, they were oversized, difficult to maneuver, and contained stagnant data. The solution: Qlik.
Using Qlik, we have been able to connect directly to the RMS and the financial system, providing better access to live information. Additionally, we are able to incorporate document management system (DMS) metadata, offsite storage cost data, and a policy reference table. As a result, members of the IG team now have a single source of truth they can use to drive their process.
Physical Records Space Assessment
Law firm management is under consistent pressure to cut waste and improve efficiency. One of the largest overhead expenses for any law firm is real estate. As our clients become increasingly digital, we often find, through our assessments, that they can significantly reduce the amount of space dedicated to physical records storage.
InOutsource completed a physical records space assessment of a large law firm’s Manhattan office. An InOutsource consultant measured the filing space for all file storage locations. The total linear feet designated to physical filing was captured. The Firm’s utilization of this space was calculated. InOutsource also calculated the square footage occupied by physical file storage. Using these numbers, in conjunction with the per square foot real estate expense provided by the Firm, InOutsource calculated the total cost of onsite physical file storage.
Following the onsite assessment, a thorough analysis of the data collected was accomplished using Qlik. Other data sources, such as, offsite storage rates and incentives, RMS data, and matter information from the financial system, were incorporated to augment the analysis and add context.
Within Qlik, we were able to quickly zero in on areas for improvement. For example, we immediately noticed, that while the firm had allocated approximately 60,000 SQFT to physical records, representing an annual cost of approximately $3.2 million dollars, only 48% of that space allocated was actually being utilized (exact numbers have been changed to preserve anonymity). The firm now armed with this information, had the flexibility to reallocate the space, or potentially reduce their total real estate for that office.
Monitoring Email Usage and Activity
Are your law firm’s mailbox sizes ballooning out control for some users? It is scary to consider the types of information that may sit buried away in one of your user’s inboxes. Have you considered pulling a report on mailbox size by user and stacking this data alongside another report containing information on filings to the DMS?
We combined these data sources in Qlik, and the results were very interesting. We found that often, our users with the largest mailboxes, filed most infrequently to the DMS. While a large mailbox may not present concrete evidence that a user is not filing, it may highlight a potential issue worth further investigation. Equipped with this information, IT or IG can provide early intervention.
Let’s stop talking about analytics and start playing with some data. InOutsource partner, Qlik, offers a free version of their software called Qlik Sense Desktop. You can easily download this product on your PC and develop your own visualizations. With Qlik Sense Desktop you can easily connect to databases, excel spreadsheets, and many other data sources.
Here are some videos and other resources to help you get started with Qlik Sense Desktop: