ive cities completed between April and May. We flew to New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco, and as we complete the Q2 Leadership Breakfast series, we begin setting up for the second half of the year.

But what about what we discussed, what we shared and what we learned?

The topic, “Big Data: An Emerging Influencer for eDiscovery, Compliance & Information Governance Careers,” continued to spur thoughtful and insightful discussions in each city. David Cowen and I, along with the help of Adi Elliot from kCura and Damon Goduto from Iris Data Services, set up each of the discussions, stealing each other’s talking points along the way and sharing insight into what we learned from the city before.

We continued to see that defining Big Data was an issue, and at times participants struggled with the topic because it lacked clear definition and real life examples. The “Risk, Cost and Value” question grew in scope and depth. Instead of coming to define what big data is, these developed into conversation drivers. Each attendee conceded that all three were important, but one usually was more so and thus became the de facto driver for what that attendee’s organization was doing with their data.

Each breakfast ended with questions about how to tackle the many issues surrounding big data, but in each city we reached this point much quicker. Big data is moving and growing so fast in Velocity, Volume and Variety that is it hard to put your arms around it. Additionally, it means such different things to each organization and the various departments within that organization. How in the world can you make any headway on it? There are two valuable pieces of advice that could be helpful in answering this question and they came from two topics that repeatedly presented themselves in the conversation. First, one must have clearly outlined goals.

You don’t know how to get there unless you know where you are going. The simple rule of project management is to ask what the goals are before beginning a project, and the same holds true here. If you are attempting to mitigate risk, build value within the data or control costs, the goals have to be clearly defined first. Again, do not think broad brush, but start with small tasks and tangible wins. This will help to keep from falling off the track and keeping to a goal.

The second is how do you measure it, in a word: Analytics. Some older organizations have no means of measuring, analyzing, understanding, quantifying, organizing, etc. all of their data. This lack of measurement and metrics of the data leads to the anxiety of stakeholders within these companies who need to know what to do with it and what is relevant. So, start to measure it, begin to gain some metrics around it and at the very least use these in the future. Start small. Some newer organizations have this ability and those organizations lead the way in creating value from their data. Arguably, most of the data within an organization has little to no value, but finding the data that does should be a goal of any organization.

As David Cowen would say “What happens after what happens next?” Let’s see where summer takes us.


bolandMichael Boland is the Managing Director for Drinker Discovery Solutions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP. Drinker Discovery Solutions, LLC provides full life cycle eDiscovery consulting, technology, and project management services. In his current role, Michael has full managerial responsibility, operational control, and oversight of Drinker Discovery Solutions, LLC. DDS works with Drinker Biddle & Reath clients as well as external non-firm clients to identify, preserve, collect, process, review, and produce data for use in adversarial proceedings. The DDS philosophy is to simplify eDiscovery and bring clients cost effective solutions by leveraging leading technology and processes driven by top tier project management.

Mr. Boland has worked for eDiscovery vendors, boutique and national consulting companies, practiced law relating to eDiscovery matters as well as worked in a consultative and project management capacity with AmLaw firms and Fortune 500 corporate legal departments.

Mr. Boland is a member of the American Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar. Michael received a BA from the University of Notre Dame, a JD from Golden Gate University and an MBA from the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University.

For more information about attending or sponsoring a TCG Event, contact The Cowen Group at 212-661-0025 or info@cowengroup.com.

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