Most businesses are continuously looking for ways to improve operations, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. In my experience, I’ve seen a large portion of costs originate from operational support technologies. In a world where we are surrounded by seemingly endless amounts of data and information, rationalizing it all is a challenging and necessary endeavor.
I’ve worked with organizations both large and small that want to reduce or maintain their technology spend while increasing their capacity and operational efficiencies. Oftentimes, the challenges in this are not inherent to the technologies themselves, but rather with the people and data. The keys to success frequently involve gaining operational buy-in on data requirements and developing an effective data strategy and roadmap.
Introducing Data Archiving Strategy
Data archiving is the process of moving data that is no longer actively used to a separate storage device for long-term retention.
In the world of transactional systems, the right data archiving strategy can save organizations a significant amount of money. It is also critical for streamlined business operations and adhering to legal obligations.
In my experience, a holistic data archiving strategy that considers people and process is the best pathway to archive older data sets while increasing performance for critical organizational functions without increasing costs. For this reason, data archiving can be a mutually beneficial business and IT initiative, if executed effectively.
Effective Data Archiving Success Factors
Data Inventory and Strategy: Rationalizing data begins with understanding current state. This includes capturing a holistic inventory of data objects, size, and the associated growth rate. From there, you can identify your largest pain points – which data objects hold the most data, grow the fastest, and need higher priority – and recommend a roadmap for rationalization.
Engagement of End Users: It is important to identify and engage with the end-users that utilize the data. As the primary impacted audience, their input needs to be carefully considered. Additionally, outcomes of an operational review might determine some adjustments in your execution process.
Accessibility and Guidance: As part of the on-going governance of data archiving, create a bridge from old to new for end-users. This involves education and pathways for accessibility to the data. Common questions I’ve heard include:
- Where will my data be stored?
- How will I be able to access my data?
- What format will I retrieve the data in?
- Can I access images associated with older documents?
- Can I edit my data after archiving?
Answering these questions will help operations understand why data archiving is important and how it can benefit them, as opposed to something being taken away from them.
The Value of Data Archiving
The value and impact of data archiving can be understood in the context of a few different goals:
- Reducing additional spend
- Increasing system capacity/performance to support key operational processes
- Keeping a clean portfolio of data.
As more organizations seek to create a cost-effective model for increasing efficiency, data archiving coupled with operational involvement will be a key driver for meeting these business goals.