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Implementing a Successful Data Archiving Strategy

Werner_HopfIn this special guest feature, Dr. Werner Hopf, CEO of Dolphin Enterprise Solutions Corporation, provides his thoughts on how to implement a successful data archiving strategy. Dr. Hopf is Dolphin’s CEO and Archiving Principal. He has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology industry and specializes in SAP Data Volume Management initiatives. Founded in 1995, Dolphin works exclusively within the SAP ecosystem. As the one partner that manages both data and processes, it leads the way in business performance improvement.

In today’s data-driven age, businesses are continually faced with the need to store large amounts of pertinent business information. Archiving data can help reduce the strain on production systems and improve system performance, and as long as business users have seamless access to archived data both the IT group and business users are satisfied. Managing large volumes of data can also be challenging when organizations consider moving to a new system. When considering a system change of any kind, whether that be moving to a new cloud based solution or just upgrading to the latest version of an existing solution, implementing a data archiving strategy will enable organizations to reduce the amount of data in the current system and dramatically reduce the time and expense involved.

Data archiving moves static and business complete data out of online systems and into lower cost storage. When data archiving is done before an upgrade or migration, the size of the original system is reduced which allows any upgrades or data migrations to be faster and less complex. Additionally, the resulting modernized system will be smaller, less costly to operate and able to perform more efficiently. The archived information can still be accessed directly from the new system in the original context, so business users are able to benefit from the new system without sacrificing their access to historic data.

To successfully execute an archiving strategy, organizations must extract all information that needs to be preserved, whether it’s for internal use or due to regulations. Organizations must analyze existing data and create a catalog of all the data contained in the system: master data, transaction data, data output and unstructured documents. From there, businesses can then determine what information needs to be preserved. Corporate retention policies, fiscal regulations, and analytics are all reasons why data should be retained.

3 Reasons to Archive

Cost

There is a direct correlation between the operating cost of a software system and data volume. Reducing the overall size and footprint of systems will lower costs and enable businesses to move quickly off the old system and onto newer technology. A successful archiving strategy removes business complete transaction data from the online system and purges data and documents that are outside of the defined retention period. By implementing a data archiving strategy, businesses can reduce the size of the system which immediately reduces the cost of operating the system.

Performance

Similarly, data volume has a direct impact on system performance. It makes sense that the less data that is stored within the system, the greater the system performance and efficiency. In systems where data volume is managed using archiving, business users can run reports faster, complete transactions quickly, and spend less time waiting for the system to respond. The key is to ensure that business users still have seamless access to historic data and documents. Users can support even small delays in accessing archived data as long as they do not have to change the way they do business. However, in most cases users report that accessing archived data is actually faster, since the online system performs much more efficiently when data volumes are reduced.

Compliance

Compliance is a continuous challenge that businesses must overcome, especially as it pertains to data management. Keeping large volumes of data exposes businesses to additional risk. It is therefore important for businesses to minimize this risk by enforcing compliance with both internal and external retention requirements. Archiving data ensures all information is stored securely and retained according to corporate, legal and fiscal retention requirements. It also ensures that business complete information is protected from modification and premature destruction. When data reaches its end of life, it can be purged or destroyed, which frees up space for new, more valuable data. While many companies follow this lifecycle for paper documents, it is essential that companies put a data archiving strategy in place to ensure online data is retained and destroyed according to the corporate records retention policy.

Next Steps

Organizations would be wise to utilize available solutions to their advantage when making the decision to implement a data archiving strategy. Many solutions are available that allow companies to set up and quickly execute a strategy, resulting in immediate reduced costs and maintained cost savings. Additionally, these solutions manage the complex data dependencies that can exist between the pieces of information that are archived, so information is preserved in context for the future.  Once a repeatable archiving process is set up, data will be archived correctly and as frequently as required to keep data volume constant and maintain reliable system performance. Using an archiving expert to help set up a strategy is important, as there are many nuances of applying retention rules to online data and these experts can help uncover and resolve any unique retention issues.

Once a successful archiving strategy has been implemented, businesses will realize the significant cost savings, increased performance and reduced footprint. However, that does not signify the end of the process. Businesses must regularly archive data to ensure continuous optimization and cost savings. By doing so, they will be better prepared for an influx of information and continue to maintain smooth, efficient business processes.

 

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