Rolling out new enterprise content management (ECM) technology has enabled ING Investment Management reduce information retention risks, and avoid significant IT labour and hardware costs.

A global financial institution of Dutch origin, ING manages more than 75 million private and corporate clients in over 50 countries.

Its network also handles the communications traffic from an estimated 120,000 employees.

To better store, manage and discover its vital business information, ING deployed Symantec Enterprise Vault, an archiving and data discovery software tool from Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec.

The results were swift and impressive.

The financial behemoth has been able to speed up response time to e-discovery requests by as much as 80 per cent, while reducing e-mail storage requirements by nearly 40 per cent, according to a top executive at the firm.

“Before we implemented Enterprise Vault, it took up to three weeks to respond to each discovery request,” said Mark Kolodzej, vice-president of IT and head of the infrastructure service department of ING.

“Today it takes two to three days.”

Protecting the integrity of communications and ensuring compliance with government regulations are required under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and specific Securities and Exchange Commission rules.   

And meeting these demands requires and effective mechanism for collection and retention of corporate data – including business records and e-mail communications.

However, aggregating and monitoring the massive data that ING generates had become very resource intensive and administratively challenging.

To resolve this issue, Kolodzej said, the company reviewed content and file storage products from various vendors.

It ultimately opted for Enterprise Vault as the product provided the best fit with the asset managements firm’s existing hardware and applications and operational demands.

Enterprise Vault delivered significant benefits in three key areas, the ING executive said.

These are:

Lower storage costs

ING has an estimated 100 per cent growth in e-mail and file system data annually.

With the help of Enterprise Vault, the company’s IT staff is able to store unstructured data more economically.

The tool acts as an online archive for older items that are moved from primary application storage to secondary or tertiary storage media, based on company defined policies.

The product also uses single-instance storage and compression technologies to reduce the data size.

By cutting down the size of the message, applications and servers that host them are allowed to focus on real-time transactions.

Enterprise Vault also allows for automated or user-driven classification of content to enhance control over documents’ storage – depending on their business value.

Once content is classified, policies enforcement procedures regarding retention and deletion automatically kick in.

This process keeps the archive size under control.

ING expects to save more than $1 million by avoiding storage hardware costs, and another $300,000 annually from end-user and IT staff productivity.

 Reduced e-discovery risks

By streamlining the automated archiving of documents and e-mail, Enterprise Vault helps ING personnel to search and recover various communications files for litigation of regulatory purposes.

Improved data handling capabilities have also lowered risks associated with inaccurate or incomplete discovery.

The product helped free ING’s IT staff to work on other priority tasks, and the reduced e-discovery process equates to more than $70,000 in annual savings, said Kolodzej.

Strong compliance support

With its Compliance Accelerator feature, Enterprise Vault does a supervisory review of all e-mails to ensure they comply with the requirements of various regulatory bodies.

The tool automatically searches documents to determine all essential operational and financial information is captured and that reports are completed accurately.

An effective ECM system is crucial for large enterprises, according to George Goodall, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group, an analyst firm in London, Ont.

“Content management tools are effective in weeding out non-vital documents,” he said.

The essential features of an ECM tool include: data capture, document access editing and control, hold features that govern document lifespan, search indexing, archiving and Web content management.

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