An Investigation Report: 11 Things You're Forgetting to Do

By scoutadmin - January 17, 2017

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But when you’re a company that’s trying to protect its intellectual property, imitation is often cause for an investigation report.

The next time you fill out an investigation report, keep the following in mind:

#1: Don’t Get Lost!

These reports can be filled with action steps, notes and assorted details that may pull an investigator in many different directions. That’s how people forget things: by running from task to task, overlooking the big picture and attention to detail.

#2: Think of Your Report as it May be Used in a Courtroom

If your efforts lead to a civil or criminal court case, what you’ve compiled may be the single most important resource for your company’s team.

What you and the counsel is able to say with confidence depends upon the facts you uncover during the internal investigation, and how well they’re presented.

#3: Quality Control on the Two-Fold Case Framework

Some folks may be better at collecting evidence while others excel in presenting it. Whether or not you have team members to assist you, be sure that both the investigation and the report yield a convincing argument.

#4: Ask the Right Questions – Especially Early on

Perhaps you got what seems to be a promising lead, but before you get lost in what could be a fruitless time-suck, ask yourself: “What does my ideal lead/document/evidence look like?”

Often, the best leads come indirectly -- after verifying the veracity of something else.

#5: Don’t Skimp on Your Homework

Accusing someone or something of a crime is a really big deal. Someone compiling an investigation report may feel like they have adequate details.

But just because something seemed sufficient in an earlier case doesn’t mean it will prove so for the next one. Err on the side of doing more than less homework.

#6: Stick to What You Know

Depending on the size, scope and nature of your investigation, you’re liable to feature multiple experts to build a case.

If you make significant headway on your end -- something that really makes the case -- you may opine about things that are beyond your expertise. Don’t get overexcited. Let the other experts do their job.

#7: Make Sure Your Investigation Report is Polished

Again, the report is how everything comes together and is the first impression that important decision-makers get from a case. The report is a reflection of your organization and the claim it’s trying to make against apparent theft of IP.

#8: Have Available an Audit Trail of Case Activity

Investigations can go in very unexpected directions. Knowing how and where to review some of these twists and turns yields authority on your claims. An audit trail can help you answer that all-important question: How do you know?

#9: Don’t Recreate The Wheel for Each Case

Do you have a system in place to handle leads involving separate cases? If you feel like you’re piecing together the steps to see through action steps, then there’s probably a better way to handle your caseloads.

#10: Streamline Your Workload With an All-in-One Hub

Where are your case lists, assignments, reports, team members, notes, files, etc.? Can you get easy access to these resources whenever you need it?

When you put all of these things in one place -- and you can cross reference them -- your workflow is much faster.

#11: Keep Organization a Top Priority

Amid the hustle and bustle of an investigation, it may be easy to let organization go by the wayside. The problem there goes speaks to things people forget No. 1: they get lost, or lose track of important details.

All of these 11 things you may be forgetting to do can all be fixed with investigation reporting and case management software.

Much of the work you’re doing can be relaxed with software, so that experts can get on with what they’re best at and project managers can better steer the ship.

For a natural fit with your team and software that readily inputs your current data, Scout is ready to help.  

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