Jul 24, 2007

Argh Matey, it's a business model!

I just finished reading a great Vanity Fair article on Internet piracy and how Hollywood just isn't getting it. If you get through the first part where author Steve Daly amusingly chronicles his piracy - including some handy tips - you get the low-down on the raiding of the Pirate Bay offices in May of 2006 and the Hollywood puppet-masters behind what has turned out to be a Swedish political nightmare.

Apparently Anne Sweeney, President of Disney-ABC, in her 2006 MIPCON address, hits the nail on the head by calling piracy a business model and that it "exists to serve a need in the market". Right-on! Now there's someone in this town who gets it. While I'm not endorsing piracy, it certainly is a model for easily acquiring content that may be harder to access using traditional media distribution models.

Daly wraps up the article with the following query:

So, the question remains: Will Hollywood adapt and survive, or will it continue to escalate its apparently futile battle against the collective intelligence of a million resourceful and highly motivated computer geeks worldwide? (The kind of people who recently unlocked the supposedly resilient copy protection on Hollywood's new HD DVD format.) Once again, the situation was adroitly summed up in the words of Anne Sweeney, no matter how unpalatable they may have been to the lunchtime crowd at the Ivy. In her 2006 MIPCOM speech, Sweeney plaintively stated, "We want to go wherever our viewers are. Viewers have control and show no sign of giving it back.''

It's article like these that encourage me to renew my VF subscription, even after I angrily swore it off when they published the TomKatSuri photo-sploitation. But hey, I don't need the print publication, I can avoid the nauseating perfume ads and just get the good content on-line! Arrrrggghhh!

Pirates of the Multiplex: On The Web: vanityfair.com

Jul 23, 2007

E-mail and records management

Last week I participated in a seminar on e-discovery that the Burton Group held in Chicago. I've been immersed in the subject lately, specifically with regard to tools that support the archiving and records management of e-mail content and how they  can support e-discovery. My analysis of the current market will be detailed in forthcoming report on e-mail records retention, so please stay tuned.

My colleague Craig Roth posted his notes and impressions on the topic from that morning: 

This was just my first taste of a topic I hadn’t been exposed to before. Just as we had three groups in the room - legal, IT security, and IT communication/collaboration/content - many organizations need to build bridges between these groups before e-discovery issues come to a head.

E-Discovery: What’s in That E-Mail? « KnowledgeForward

Craig's comments shed some light on the complex situation that all enterprises face when dealing with e-discovery. The bottom line is that all corporate records are subject to e-discovery, including, but not limited to content that comes into the organization through electronic channels such as e-mail, Instant Messaging (IM), and web-based collaboration or communication tools.

If asked today what is their most important desktop application, most information workers and organizations would say e-mail. However, most companies do a poor job of managing e-mailbox content and many of the policies for retaining e-mail deal with recovery/restoration concerns over corporate records management concerns. Putting aside the e-discovery and compliance sticks, what carrots are being kept out of reach by not having the content of such a valuable resource managed in a way that makes it easy to search and store? What about user productivity when trying to recreate correspondence with a client or being able to search all records to that pertain to a particular project, including how decisions were made?

It's Information Management 101 in the 21st century. Organizations can benefit greatly by treating e-mail (and other unstructured content such as IM or even blogs) as corporate records and implementing tools that move e-mail content into records management systems. Not only will they be shifting the costs of e-discovery and compliance to earlier, less expensive stages of the process, but they will also benefit from being able to find the information for other business related activities. As my colleague Trent Henry said the other day, don't make e-discovery the goal of your system, rather make e-discovery a requirement of the system. This may mean going back and looking at the corporate information management architecture to reconsider how to optimize it to support new channels of information.