Information is the most important asset of any business and its management is essential to success in a competitive environment.
This is the view of Vic Booysen, operations manager for the EMC line of business at Business Connexion.
“Information is comprised of individual pieces of data that live within the business entity. Whether it is online, live, and active, or historical, archival information, no business can make the correct decisions without it. It is therefore essential to manage this data throughout its lifecycle. Information lifecycle management (ILM) should be a part of every CIO's daily routine,” he says.
Most of the information used today is stored in digital format and storage requirements are growing at rapid rates within all areas of business. According to Booysen, “Information is created, used, and at some point, deleted. Often, however, the information lifecycle is not this simple, as legislation requires information to be stored or archived for long periods of time.”
Under normal circumstances, once information is created and used, the frequency of people accessing it becomes less. According to Booysen, this is where companies should introduce a tiered consolidated storage infrastructure.
Once different levels of consolidated storage are in place, information should be placed on or moved to the appropriate storage level at the correct time, according to predefined policies. This will ensure that information which is only referenced once every one to five years is stored in the right place, at the right cost, and at the right time.
Booysen says that an important feature of ILM is that information is always digitally accessible. Further, critical to successful ILM is the protection of information in the digital information infrastructure. “Protection in terms of business continuity, disaster recovery, backups and archiving will ensure that information is kept on digital storage and users will start moving away from paper storage, for reasons of convenience."
With an ILM system in place people will not have to, for example, limit their mailbox sizes or delete or print copies of information that might be crucial to the business. As such, Booysen says that there is a lot of pressure on CIOs to ensure that a complete ILM strategy, with all its components, is implemented and enforced.
"Companies do not have to resort to a ‘big bang’ approach and implement ILM across all their applications. It’s better to implement it one application at a time. CIOs should address individual applications, but define a cross-application ILM strategy.
"There should be a ‘big picture’ strategy that works alongside a phased implementation. This is to ensure information sharing and collaboration across applications and that sound electronic content management principles are followed,” he says.
“Once a model like this is in place, it will be very easy for any IT ‘shop’ or outsource data center to implement a model where clients are charged for the usage of the information infrastructure, according to the tier of storage used, the capacity used, the service level attached to that tier, etc. Chargeback models within any organization are key, and a properly defined ILM strategy assists with the successful implementation thereof."