An Untapped Resource: Electronic Communications Data

June 17, 2021by Smarsh

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Step 1: Capture data

We previously discussed how capturing electronic communications is the first step to reaching new heights in compliance and risk mitigation, operational awareness and optimization, and driving innovation. The secure, effective capture of electronic communications is a prerequisite for enabling critical functions like recordkeeping, supervision, e-discovery and internal investigations.

The ever-increasing volume and diversity of communications channels and data makes capturing that content a distinct challenge. People are communicating through more channels than ever before: email, text messaging, collaboration, conferencing, mobile apps, chat, and more. That’s a lot of unique information and data that needs to be collected. Most existing capture tools aren’t built to handle more than one content source and haven’t evolved since the days of “work email” being the primary communications tool.

Step 2: Store data

Equally important is the process of preserving these communications in a content-agnostic, context-aware, cloud-based platform that can index, normalize and play back captured data at scale. A single, searchable repository of data that is stored in native format makes the process of retrieval easier and more efficient. Organizations can manage risk and provide a line of defense when responding to e-discovery or regulatory inquiries.

Because of this, many companies today are still using a hodgepodge of tools to collect and store data from disparate sources, stripping away necessary context in the process. This makes the process of retrieving and sorting through information less efficient and effective, requiring technical resources and more hours for legal, compliance and risk teams. Streamlining communications capture and archiving with a comprehensive tool is vital to establishing a scalable, sustainable compliance and risk program that can evolve alongside the changing communications landscape.

Step 3: Analyze data

The initial objectives of moving to modern capture and archiving platforms tend to rightly focus on compliance, risk mitigation and cost reduction. But there is an additional, proactive use for collecting and archiving the growing cache of electronic communications data. Organizations that have modernized their communications data platforms are uncovering a uniquely valuable result: the ability to leverage information as an asset.

Regulatory risk and beyond: managing risks holistically

Business risks and processes have changed — in many cases dramatically — because of the pandemic. Enterprise teams are now scattered around the world, working at home or in remote offices. But even before the pandemic, the risk vectors affecting global organizations were becoming exponentially more complex due to our collective reliance on digital communication. The ability to analyze potential cybersecurity, regulatory, legal and data privacy risks in a disciplined, data-driven way can spell the difference between corporate survival or failure.

Compliance and risk teams will need to rely on systems, reports and data analysis to stay ahead of risk and contribute to the strategic position of the enterprise. The increase in communications channels and resulting data spells an opportunity to utilize that information, rather than sidelining compliance as a standalone, resource-heavy function. The ability to capture, preserve and analyze a growing mountain of communications data can help companies across sectors reveal patterns, trends and business opportunities. But it requires a strong commitment to modern, AI-enabled, future-proof technology for communications capture, archiving and analysis.

Getting more out of your communications data with AI

AI-powered analytics can help to understand human communications and behavior more deeply while also identifying critical insights within that data, including:

  • Increased risk discovery: deep learning models identify new and emerging risks
  • Reduce false positives/identify true positives more precisely
  • Lower operating costs from disparate technologies and inefficient review processes
  • Client insights to grow cross-selling opportunities
  • Proactive management of legal, internal, cybersecurity, brand and privacy risks

Analyzing an evolving accumulation of electronic conversations can reveal specifics that were hitherto difficult to quantify. With a magnifying glass on client communications, for example, companies can understand what clients are saying, proactively manage client requests for expanded services, and resolve concerns. This level of insight can help the entire organization level up performance, manage compliance, mitigate risk, and provide a competitive advantage. And now there’s a term for it: communications intelligence.

As we’ve discussed before, communications intelligence is comprised of the strategies and technologies used for the collection and analysis of human communications data. It helps organizations quickly identify risks, recognize new business opportunities and improve operational systems.

Data analytics is a powerful skill in any sector today and will be crucial to running compliance and risk management programs in the future. With a foundation of expertly captured, sorted and stored data, this shift has the potential to unite organizations around communications to completely reform how they do business.

This piece is the third in a 3-part series about creating the infrastructure to use communications intelligence as an enterprise business strategy. See our previous posts on content capture and archiving.

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Smarsh handles information you submit to Smarsh in accordance with its Privacy Policy. By clicking "submit", you consent to Smarsh processing your information and storing it in accordance with the Privacy Policy and agree to receive communications from Smarsh and its third-party partners regarding products and services that may be of interest to you. You may withdraw your consent at any time by emailing privacy@smarsh.com.