Organisations that keep all their information because of the threat of litigation and regulatory action, and the fear of losing something that might eventually prove valuable will significantly overspend on storage.
According to Gartner, many chief information officers (CIOs) are justifying this approach on the basis that storage is cheap and getting cheaper, but Gartner analysts said CIOs should consider other approaches.
"The current explosion of information is outpacing the decline in storage prices even before the resource costs for maintaining data are taken into account," says Whit Andrews, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "This makes it a very good time for organisations to streamline and modernise their information and access systems by identifying redundant information and eliminating applications retained to handle this."
Information access technologies can help organisations reduce the amount of data they hold in both primary and secondary storage, as well as helping them to identify information kept in primary storage that can safely be moved to secondary storage. Information access technologies can provide a shaft through which to view information that no longer has value, as well as a mechanism for extracting it.
Gartner acknowledged the fact that the cost of information access technology itself is not inconsequential. "License costs for mature, reliable products range from $10 000.00 for small deployments to $3-million or more for advanced applications, and there is annual maintenance fees of about 18% of the sum initially paid for the license," Andrews says.
"However, many organisations will use an already-installed search platform for the purpose of cleaning up legacy information, and benefits will still accrue if they have to buy new information access technology."
Interest in the area of content valuation is growing, and Gartner has established methods for valuing content. These include examining a range of different variables, including authorship authority, usage patterns, nature of content and business purpose.
"With information access technology, companies that previously made retention decisions based on intuitive judgments about what was important can now designate criticality and relevance based on more-advanced approaches for measuring the value of content," says Andrews. "These improved judgments are extremely valuable for shared storage and could also be useful for personal storage (on laptop and desktop PCs)."