What does “document retention” mean to you? More importantly, what (or who) is the driving force behind managing user information? Whether they’re looking to preserve, mine and/or retrieve data, or simply manage data storage and retention, Sherpa Software’s customers are seeking solutions to help control electronically stored content.

Exchange email, Lotus Notes email and databases, SharePoint stores, email attachments, data stored on file shares or local workstations are all examples of content that you may want (or need) to be able to centrally manage.

Simply purchasing a solution, whether from Sherpa or another vendor, is only one step in a long and potentially ever-evolving process. In order to truly manage document retention, you need to treat it as more than a software issue, but as a management issue.

There are key questions to ponder before jumping into the e-Discovery and document retention marketplace:

• Who will be responsible for implementing and maintaining the solution?
• Are you looking to preserve data forever or allow it to expire and then purge it?
• How many users do you have? Do you need to manage the data for everyone or only a select few? Are all users treated the same or do you have different expectations for different user groups within your organization?
• Do you need to be able to search the data? What criteria (age, owner, keywords, etc.) are pertinent for e-Discovery?
• Will users actively participate in selecting which email/attachments/documents will be managed or will this decision be dictated to them and enforced “under the covers?”
• Who needs access to the data? Will the original data owner need access? Are there other internal users? Will customers or other external entities require access? What about internal or external legal counsel? And don’t forget regulatory or other governmental agencies.

An experienced vendor may offer professional services to help guide you through this process, but at the end of the day, these types of decisions will be your responsibility. Don’t let the solution dictate the process.

Determine your needs and establish procedures before you make a decision about what email management and/or e-Discovery solution (or solutions) to deploy. Avoid purchasing extraneous features that don’t match your requirements. A quality solution will be one that’s flexible enough to accommodate your procedures rather than force you to adapt to someone else’s preconceptions.

For more information on our email management solutions, contact Sherpa Software at www.sherpasoftware.com