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Documentum tackles e-mail retention

The company adds records-management tools to its content management software for companies that want to set rules for e-mail, which has become critical evidence in court cases.

Documentum on Tuesday released new software intended to make it easier for companies to track critical documents ranging from sales reports to e-mail messages.

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Documentum Enterprise Records Management Edition adds the tools to the company's enterprise content management software (CMS), back-end software that tracks and controls access to various corporate documents.

The new tools, based on software from recent Documentum acquisition TrueArc, allow companies to set rules for retention and disposal of content types not normally covered by CMS systems, including e-mail messages. Such records-management chores are increasingly vital to businesses to deal with emerging legal issues. E-mail messages have become critical evidence in many high-profile court cases, and new federal laws required strict records management compliance in financial services, health care and other industries.

"All kinds of smoking guns can be found in your e-mail systems," said Grego Kosinski, senior manager of product marketing for Documentum. "You can have enormous litigation costs and criminal penalties."

The solution is to set and enforce consistent policies for how long messages are retained. Specialized software makers have emerged selling custom systems for e-mail retention, but it's more efficient to incorporate such functions with an overall content management system, said Naomi Miller, director of product marketing for Documentum. "Records are really just another type of content, with special requirements," she said.

Documentum expects to expand the software soon to cover other types of records, including instant messaging conversations, an emerging legal area raising some of the same types of concerns as e-mail. "People use IM pretty casually, but there are real issues about how those are stored and archived," Miller said. "Real business gets done in that environment."

Documentum Enterprise Records Management Edition is available now, with pricing starting at $30,000 for an installation on a single-server with an administrator's license.