Are DACH Organizations Prepared for Internal and Regulatory Investigations?

Modern investigations are intensely demanding in every sense of the word. Whether driven by whistleblower allegations, regulatory compliance, or HR issues, the potential fallout for your organization makes taking swift and thorough action to minimize risk, costs and potential litigation paramount.

Recently, we partnered with Legal Business[2] in a survey to find out just how complex and challenging investigations are for DACH region organizations and how they are addressing them. Read OpenText’s position paper, Addressing Investigation Challenges in the DACH Region, for a more in-depth look at these issues.   

Unique investigation challenges and complexity in the DACH region

The results – that investigations are very complex – aren’t surprising. German, Austrian and Swiss organizations must now observe stricter data protection law requirements through regulations such as the GDPR when conducting an internal investigation. The Workers Councils also have a significant input into how investigations involving employees are undertaken and, the EU Whistleblower Directive has recently promoted protections for corporate whistleblowers through the mandate that EU member countries apply the directive to their national law.

In terms of complexity of issues, respondents cited conduct of the business (38%) as top, antitrust investigations (36%) and internal issues related to employee conduct (34%). Lawsuits filed by another organization (23%) and investigations in response to whistleblower allegations (21.3%) are also among the most complex in terms of the issues involved.

Preparing for investigations

Unfortunately, many organizations don’t possess the understanding of sound investigative processes or have the ability to leverage technology and expertise to effectively address these challenges. As detailed in our OpenText paper, the survey found that organizations are bringing in external investigation experts due to lack of expertise in both internal and regulatory investigations.

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Checklist for selecting a corporate investigations provider

1 – Comprehensive eDiscovery software and services

Investigations have become one of the most common use cases for eDiscovery technology and workflows. It is also the second most common eDiscovery use case (trailing only litigation) with 83.2% of respondents identifying it as a use case to which they apply eDiscovery technology and workflows. [2]

Given this frequency, it’s important to select a corporate investigations provider that has both a comprehensive and sophisticated advanced analytics AI-driven eDiscovery solution to support the entire investigative process, from collections and forensics through conclusion, and a team that understands how to best apply the technology to reduce time, cost and risks.

2 – Global footprint

Regardless of where investigations start, the evidence could be located anywhere, in any country, and in any language. It’s important to select a corporate investigations provider that is a global organization and can support the investigation, regardless of where the trail to the truth takes you.

3 – Local presence

The presence of experts physically located within DACH countries who understand local laws, customs and culture of each country is equally important. Investigations in Germany, for example, are conducted differently than they are anywhere else in the world, and, in many cases, the data cannot leave the country.

4 – Language auto-detection and translation capabilities

The EU has 24 official languages, and many investigations are likely to involve evidence in multiple languages. It’s important to select a corporate investigations provider that provides the ability to auto-detect foreign languages and translate those documents to a common language to expedite investigations.

5 – Tools to surface facts faster

The number and complexity of litigation and investigations continues to grow as does the need to get faster access to the facts. Analytics approaches married to the right technology can rapidly drive case strategy for “fight or flight” decisions based on risks and costs.

6 – Cost-reduction tools  

Legal and investigation teams are under increasing pressure to deliver results quickly but also within budget. Applying advanced technology solutions that included front-loaded analytics to surface relevant information more quickly, along with machine learning approaches such as technology-assisted review (TAR), can help reduce costs.

7 – Risk mitigation tools  

Organizations must also combat increasing risks. The larger the team, the higher the risk of losing sight of key information or inadvertently producing a privileged, confidential or sensitive document. It’s important to select a provider that can leverage technology, a lean team and best practices to minimize risks, from automated data detection capabilities (both RegEx and people, place and locations) and automated redaction capabilities to automated quality control (QC).

8 – Frictionless time to facts

Aligning investigation methods to requirements quickly without wasting time on unnecessary roadblocks is vital to conducting an efficient and effective investigation. Select a corporate investigations provider that can make data near-immediately accessible via its eDiscovery platform to the investigative team as soon as the project starts.

Prepare early

The ability to uncover risk has never been more important. DACH region organizations have unique requirements and it’s important to consider specific factors when selecting a corporate investigations provider. Risks, either known or not yet well understood, can be found if your organization understands how to get the right help to look for them!

Learn more in OpenText’s paper, Addressing Investigation Challenges in the DACH Region.  

[1] Legal Business and OpenText survey.

[2] A 2023 State of the Industry Report published by eDiscovery Today.

Wendy Cole

Wendy is a long-time legal technology and eDiscovery enthusiast. Having participated in many facets of the legal and legal technology industries, her broad range of experience spans from being on the front-line of eDiscovery projects as a civil litigator and eDiscovery counsel, to managing and marketing legal technology software and services for global organizations.

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