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Top Tips for Refreshing the Information Management Lifecycle

In this special guest feature, Dr. Werner Hopf, SVP Data and Document Solutions at Serrala, suggests that whatever your organization’s information management goals are, CIOs, data owners, and IT departments should consider using the following best practices to refresh your organization’s information management plan, so they are able to retain information safely and securely over its lifecycle. Previously, Dr. Hopf was the CEO and Archiving Principal at Dolphin. With more than 20 years’ experience in the information technology industry, 14 focused in SAP, Dr. Hopf specializes in SAP Information Lifecycle Management initiatives including Data and Document archiving, SAP Archive Link Storage Solutions and Business Process solutions. His experience spans both large and mid-sized companies across all major SAP modules. Having worked on SAP projects across North America and Europe, he has extensive experience in global markets and is well known for his expertise.

Businesses are experiencing an exponential growth of data in today’s digitized world and those that know how to manage this valuable asset will be better prepared to innovate and compete in the years to come. Organizations need to control the storage of and access to information from the moment of its creation throughout the information lifecycle, in accordance with policies and regulations. Companies that choose to ignore the importance of managing information are at risk of data breaches or hacks which can be costly, including reputational damage, loss of business, or possibly fines.

Whatever your organization’s information management goals are, CIOs, data owners, and IT departments should consider using the following best practices to refresh your organization’s information management plan, so they are able to retain information safely and securely over its lifecycle.

Archive Information as soon as Possible after it is Business Complete

Archiving is the best way to ensure efficient, cost effective long-term retention of information. To achieve the best results, automate the archiving process so that archiving is done consistently and without error. Also, adjust the data residency period (the period data is active in your production system) according to the data in question. Some technical data can be archived almost immediately, whereas, other business transactions such as information on a product purchase will need to be retained longer.

Due to the complex relationships that can exist within and between business objectives (for example a complex customer order involves quotes, contracts, delivery information, billing and more), it is a good idea to consult data management experts to determine the best archiving approach for your company. You’ll achieve better results in less time. Using software to automate the process will also significantly increase the speed and accuracy of the archiving process.

Use Cost Effective Storage for Archived Information

To ensure maximum performance, your production systems typically use the highest performing, expensive storage in your IT landscape. Although, because archived information is not accessed as frequently as production data more cost-effective storage options should be considered for your archive repository. Cloud storage is ideally suited for archived data because it is low cost and infinitely scalable. However, there can be latency issues when accessing data in the cloud, which can make it better suited for storing data that is not accessed frequently and that needs to be retained for long periods of time.

Modernize Content Management Solutions

Many organizations maintain a separate content management repository for documents and other unstructured information. When reviewing your information management requirements, ensure that the content management solution you are using is capable of meeting your current and future information management needs. Many content management systems were implemented years ago and do not have the same features and flexibility of newer cloud-based solutions that provide a better solution at a more reasonable price.

Decommission Systems that Are No Longer Viable

One of the biggest risks many organizations have is the older systems they keep in operation only for reporting purposes. These systems are often vulnerable to hacking because they do not meet modern standards for data privacy and security. They are also costly to operate as companies continue to pay maintenance fees, pay for the staff to support the systems and for the space to store them.

Retiring these legacy systems provides double the value for companies because it can both save money and reduce risk. With an information management structure in place, the critical business information that resides in these systems can be archived and moved to a central archive repository, thus ensuring that the information is stored securely and accessible to meet long term audit requirements.

Automate Information Retention to Ensure Compliance

Many companies continue to keep data well beyond its useful life and in some cases beyond the time they are legally allowed to retain it. To ensure compliance with policies and regulations, automate the application of retention rules that align with your retention policies. An automated process will ensure data is automatically reviewed when it reaches end of life and ultimately purged according to policy. Automated retention policy enforcement ensures that current staff will be able to keep up to date with and manage the data review and destruction tasks according to corporate policies and regulations.

Improve User Access to Archived Information for Reporting, Audits and Other Queries

Two of the biggest challenges of managing large amounts of information are 1) accessing archived information quickly for reporting and other business purposes and 2) extracting the information you need to respond to audit inquiries, customer disputes, or other requests. Business users often struggle to access archived data using separate tools and processes. If they need to extract that data, it can take hours, days or even weeks of time working with the IT department to identify, extract and prepare the data required.

Many modern solutions exist to enable users to quickly and accurately report on archived information or to pull archived data from enterprise systems according to specific business requirements such as tax reporting, privacy audits, and more. Consider the cost of these solutions against the time and effort your staff use to perform these tasks and implement software solutions to make this process faster and easier.  In the end, you will have a competitive edge and be better prepared to innovate.

 

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