‘In The Trenches’ With Hines’ CIO, Jesse Carrillo

Source: Reposted from: ‘In The Trenches’ With Hines’ CIO, Jesse Carrillo
The power of collaboration can be a great tool in solving the sticky technology issues that we all struggle with. This week we are featuring the first in a series of articles called ‘In the Trenches’ written by Chris Saah, CIO, Transwestern. They are brief, informal, ‘water cooler’ conversations with some of the brightest, most innovative technology professionals in our industry addressing problems that many of us are facing today.
In this conversation, Chris interviews Jesse about how he’s helped Hines resolve their email retention policy issues.
Jesse, when we spoke at Realcomm last month, you mentioned your success with an email retention policy and solution. That’s an issue a lot of us struggle with – can you tell me more about that?
Historically, we’ve been pretty lenient with mailbox sizes, letting some approach two GB, since for many of our users Outlook is their primary document management platform. The volume was getting mind-boggling, and with it our costs for the Exchange platform and storage; along with that came an increase in the time that it takes to perform our nightly backups, not to mention performance was declining.
The December 2006 amendments to the federal rules of civil procedure were the precipitating event that compelled us to take action. We realized that the cost and risk related to our current retention policy and these new e-Discovery procedures would be huge. We saw this as an opportunity for both a business and technology win.
What did you do?
We are instating a two-year retention policy on all email, and we’re using Symantec’s Enterprise Vault (EVault) for the technology.
Wow, that’s pretty aggressive. How were you able to sell that?
I was fortunate to find a strong proponent and sponsor in our Chief Administrative Officer. And together, over a period of about a year, we made the case of how costly and time consuming compliance with discovery could be. We attained sponsorship from the very top of our organization. The business case was made primarily on the basis of the risk and costs of e-Discovery. The benefits to IT were secondary.
How did you develop the retention policy?
We engaged a legal team to review standard practices and make a recommendation. In working with other organizations, they saw everything from 30 days to three-years, and recommended one-year for Hines. Our execs wanted two-years because of the degree to which email is used for document storage so we went with that. We hope to someday get down to one-year. We then went to our document storage partner, Iron Mountain, to develop a schema for retention, and set up folders in EVault to mirror the paper retention policy for legal, financial, HR, etc.
So your e-policy mirrors your paper policy. Who administrates the policy?
IT forces the deletion of email older than two-years from Exchange. End–users self-categorize and move emails that should be retained to the appropriate folders; those emails are then deleted according to the schedule for that type of document. We’ll provide a report to management on the archived email so they can police if there are abuses.
How have you implemented the plan?
Once the case was made and we received executive sponsorship, we spent a great deal of energy on a communication plan. We’ve been informing the end-users of the mechanics and their responsibility while we’ve put the technology in place. We now have 200 people on board, with the balance of our U.S. users being implemented by the end of August. The international users pose a different set of challenges since the policies for retention can vary by country, so we aren’t tackling that as of yet.
Who’s doing the communicating?
Our executive team. Once we sold them on the benefit to the company, they have taken complete sponsorship of the project; IT is simply providing the supporting technology.
Thanks for your time, Jesse. Sounds like you have really solved an issue that many of us face in a way that addresses both the risk and technical concerns and that your executives are truly behind.
My pleasure. I have benefited greatly from the knowledge many of my colleagues have shared, so I am always anxious to share when I can.
Jesse Carrillo is Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Hines. Jesse is responsible for directing all corporate technology, strategy and standards for Hines world-wide. He has been with the company since 1994, and his team of 30 in Houston and 17 support staff around the world support 3400 global users.