Skip to content

Reflections on the annual MER conference

Authored by David Gould - Jun 3, 2021


Held in Indianapolis, Indiana, organizers of the MER Conference – in my humble opinion, the best venue for learning about the information governance industry – braved the COVID threat and limited corporate travel budgets to deliver an innovative and highly effective event that was genuinely packed with great content.  

Many of the attendees were investigating new cloud technologies designed to help them discover, analyze, govern and use the ever-growing corpus of data flooding repositories, file shares, and applications across their organizations.  

Here are some of my key observations:  

1) Conferences like MER need to survive – Congratulations to the MER team – Seth and Lynne Williams, Chris Glatz, and Mike Salvarezza – for having the fortitude to schedule and successfully continue a very important industry event.  It really felt good to meet folks in-person, and discuss their business challenges and how state-of-the-art technology is adapting, particularly in our post-COVID world.  This view also celebrates the 120 MER virtual attendees, who couldn’t make it in person but still participated in the discussion in a very important way. 

2) Microsoft 365 governance is perhaps the single, most compelling challenge facing information governance professionals across the board, no matter whether they work for a governmental agency or commercial entity.  New information challenges, already present pre-COVID, have accelerated.  Collaboration platforms have transformed the business decision-making platform away from email to chat, channels and video.  The growth of Teams is exponential – there is a real driver behind this and it is not just because many employees are working from home.  Teams offers the flexibility and immediacy of sharing ideas, conversation, content, and response with voice, video, and online presence.   

These sessions really bolstered the idea that organizations that previously relied almost exclusively on email to make and confirm important business decisions are now making these same business decisions through Microsoft Teams.  Most important is the ability to classify video calls captured in Teams as decision-making is now based on video conferencing rather than relying on “snail e-mail.”   For information governance practitioners, this means a rapidly shifting focus to where the real content action is, and the need for new programs and technology solutions that can discover, analyze, govern and promote the controlled usage of content across the enterprise.   

3) The use of artificial intelligence – primarily machine learning – to analyze information for auto-classification and policy management is working its way into the information governance mainstream.  Reasons behind slow acceptance is the scale of information velocity, the timely ability to produce answers to important business-bearing questions, and, most importantly, the ability to explain machine language-driven information recall.  Clearly, we are seeing more trust and confidence in ML as an everyday tool in the battle against information growth, privacy regulation and information security.  If you are interested in additional perspective, my presentation from MER called “Hiding in Plain Sight; How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Information Governance” can be found here.

4) Last, but not least, is the changing nature of how the content lifecycle is evolving as a result of digital transformation.  Information governance professionals, particularly records managers, have long been custodians of “passive” content; that is, information kept only for retention and legal hold purposes.  This custodial role will and must change.  With information squarely positioned as the top enterprise asset, there are now new and exciting opportunities to extract tremendous business value from content no matter its age, format, or intended use.   

At MER, EncompaaS showcased how our platform can help organizations create real business value out of reposited content.  For information governance professionals, EncompaaS offers you the capability to better leverage unstructured data by identifying trends, context, and insights in repositories across the enterprise. 

Harnessing the value of unstructured (or semi-structured) content and giving executives better information to support better decisions is the emerging goal of information governance.  If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please feel free to send me a message. I look forward to better understanding your business challenges and plans to harness this “last frontier” of information management.

David Gould

Chief Customer Officer

Reach out to [email protected] for more information.

Book a demo

Let's get started

Experience the Power of EncompaaS!


Submit this form to see EncompaaS in action with a demo from our information management experts.

Request a demo today

* indicates required field

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By submitting this form, you consent to be contacted by a member of our team by email or phone. You can unsubscribe from our communications at any time via the unsubscribe option in the email received. For more information on how EncompaaS uses your data, please refer to our Privacy Policy.