Customer stories

Pacific Life

Financial enterprise enhances information governance and mitigates risk. Pacific Life ensures compliance and speeds electronic discovery with OpenText Email Management for Microsoft Exchange and other information management solutions

Challenges

  • Limited, disparate email storage
  • Laborious discovery hindered compliance, posing risk
  • Decentralized environment, separate policies

Results

  • Enterprise email governance and security

  • Faster discovery supports compliance and reduces risk

  • Integrated information management based on central policies

Story

Established by a long history and distinguished clientele, Pacific Life turned to OpenText for enterprise-caliber information management— starting with its center of business communications, email.

For Email Management, we take advantage of OpenText feature sets without introducing new complexity to users. Emails are there and readily available. Management is happy and users are happy. Everyone has access to information when they need it and how they want it.

Dan Galan
Manager, CIT Messaging and Document Management, Pacific Life

‘Old Way’ for email lacks control

Matching typical corporate use, Pacific Life generates millions of emails every year. Most emails are transitory or only useful for a short time, while others constitute records or references that must be stored in compliance with industry regulations and obtained, when needed, for litigation requirements. For instance, insurance policies—often spanning decades themselves—and related email documentation must be maintained for seven years after termination. Finding emails amid the years and lists can be a monumental undertaking.

The “old way” of handling email couldn’t support progress, as described by Dan Galan, Manager, CIT messaging and document management for Pacific Life: “Mailboxes would grow, they’d run out of space, everything would get dumped into public folders. Then, data would be everywhere.” Accommodating storage for terabytes of email content is enough to induce headaches and budget woes. But, that’s the good news. Legal risk and discovery costs associated with unmanaged email can be devastating.

Volume and ubiquity made email a prime target for modification. Cindi Vega, consultant and document management specialist for Pacific Life, explained, “Our corporate compliance area knew they needed to start reining in all the unstructured data and the first area they attacked, because of volume, was email.” However, she notes, the largest challenge in the process was not finding the right technology, but gaining agreement for its use.

“Pacific Life has a decentralized environment,” she said, “so each business unit has autonomy to buy products they need to support business… the key challenge related to setting a policy and for all groups to all agree upon that policy.”

To mitigate the risks of noncompliance and litigation concerning email content, Pacific Life formed a committee involving several departments and focused on finding a systematic way to store legally required documentation while disposing of unnecessary material.

Email governance and security

Pacific Life needed a system that would keep or sweep emails, based on business needs and rules, then ease the process of finding information when called upon. “Our initial implementation of OpenText technology aimed to archive email, enable retention rules for corporate compliance, and make it discoverable,” said Galan. The insurance company implemented OpenText™ Email Management for Microsoft® Exchange for email governance and security, then expanded content management to other areas with integrated solutions, including OpenText™ Content Suite and OpenText™ Archive Server.

One key to successful information management at Pacific Life is that the compliance department makes decisions on policies and the IT team puts them into action. Galan noted, “When compliance stands behind you and says, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ and we get consensus from the appropriate committee groups, there are no issues.” To offset its distributed organizational structure, Pacific Life executed a successful email management campaign to gain input, acceptance and involvement from managers and users. But the process would only have been an exercise in teamwork if the technology was not the right solution for Pacific Life.

Galan and Vega confirm OpenText is a fit for the large and long-standing company, referring to enterprise-caliber content management with customizable capabilities, security, and integration with external systems. “Our investment in OpenText allows us to be flexible to business needs,” Galan noted.

Our investment in OpenText allows us to be flexible to business needs.

Dan Galan
Manager, CIT Messaging and Document Management, Pacific Life

For general email, IT built managed folders: Users drag emails into their managed folder area where they are automatically archived. Pacific Life is actively grooming transitional email at 180 days. Soon, the company will start compliance deletion for managed folders, but only after a patient preparatory process.

“People like to keep their stuff,” Vega said. “It’s difficult to convince users, ‘You really don’t need that email for longer than three years. If you do need it for longer than three years, then it’s a record that should be in a place that everybody in your workgroup can access.’” And that place for storing official documents is not the email client itself, Galan added. “We had committees, user groups, and enterprise architectural groups strategizing around the right solution to help the company streamline and make it more efficient from a regulatory perspective,” he said, noting that the solution must then be presented to all users. “OpenText is helping us because we can demo on-the-fly and show everyone how easy it is.”

Since email is so ubiquitous, it is a good forum to practice behavior change, according to Galan. “We had to roll Email Management out in a manner that would not highly impact users.” He recalls several lunch-and-learns and visits to staff meetings with the message, “You need to manage your email. This module will help,” and, in a manner less obvious, it will modify behavior since users have 180 days to handle emails before they are removed from Microsoft Exchange.

Streamlined control, compliance and protection

Email Management ensures emails that can be deleted are removed and information that must be retained is archived and searchable, according to retention policies. “With Email Management we have control over the back end for governance, compliance, and electronic discovery,” Vega said. In fact, the insurance company’s eDiscovery team reports searching and pulling information from Content Suite is more efficient than other vendors’ solutions used at the enterprise. As a result, the proper files are easier to access for legal purposes. “The biggest benefit has been in mitigating risk more than anything else,” Vega said.

Streamlined, yet transparent, is a common theme for OpenText products at Pacific Life. “For Email Management, we take advantage of OpenText feature sets without introducing new complexity to users,” Galan said. “I can build it on the back end so emails are there and readily available. Management is happy and users are happy. Everyone has access to information when they need it and how they want it.”

Training is minimized since the OpenText repository is seamlessly integrated. “We don’t have to train every person who works for Pacific Life to be a records manager,” she said. “It’s really not their job. Instead, they can focus on what they do well.”

Classification on the back end will be advanced with the use of OpenText™ Records Management that will automate the disposal of aged material. Pacific Life’s compliance department is planning a big bucket approach set at one-, three- and seven-year increments, according to information type and compliance requirements. Documents already warehoused will likely stay until aged and eliminated. “Because of success with email management policies, I think that applying records management and retention to other areas is going to be an easier option,” Vega said. Judging from experiences thus far, she and Galan expect smooth integration for future efforts. For instance, the process to upgrade Content Suite was straightforward and well-supported. “It blew away my expectations,” Galan said. “I was very happy with the support and the application, the way it responded.”

Future plans

Pacific Life is expanding its footprint to the international market on reinsurance. The company plans to extend Email Management to the Asian and European markets, particularly for divisions with a large number of regulatory users. “Because of what we’ve done with OpenText so far, it’s easy to turn on instead of starting all over,” said Galan. “We will just add new markets to the process. And that will impact users because they’re not going to run out of mailbox space. Also, we’ll work with compliance and with the appropriate groups to come up with the right policies.”

With OpenText Email Management for Microsoft Exchange we have control over the back end for governance, compliance and electronic discovery.

Cindi Vega
Consultant and Document Management Specialist, Pacific Life

About Pacific Life

Offering insurance since 1868, Pacific Life provides a wide range of life insurance products, annuities, and mutual funds, and offers a variety of investment products and services to individuals, businesses, and pension plans. Pacific Life counts more than half of the 100 largest U.S. companies as its clients. For additional information, visit www.PacificLife.com.

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