Organizations approach managing product application content in different ways. There are a variety of decision drivers, but overall, we’ve found three fundamental types of organizational approaches: the Deliberate Hoarders, the Confused Collectors, and the Careful Curators.
Deliberate Hoarders are the organizations that have a simple rule for the content created by their applications: save everything, forever.
These organizations store the content created by their production applications right in those production applications. While they sense that this is not optimal, they are not really clear on how to move to a different strategy. They feel that this strategy means they are “covered” because they have not disposed of anything that they may be asked to produce.
There are at least two serious problems, with this strategy, however.
- Cost and performance. When an application generates content over a long period of time, the footprint of the application grows. Every operation takes longer, because the data set is larger, meaning that performance suffers. And storing content, whether it is in the cloud or on your own storage devices, costs money — which means that storing inactive, out-of-date content wastes money.
- Risk. If you keep everything, then when a subpoena arrives requesting documents relating to one subject, you will have to produce more documents than you would have had you been managing the records based on a defined retention schedule. And the extra documents and records you provide may have incriminating information within their contents, not just about the subject at hand but on other unrelated topics.
Confused Collectors have strategies in place, unlike the Dedicated Hoarders. Their challenge is that they do not have a unified strategy nor do they embed their strategies in consistent practices.
Confused Collectors may have an Enterprise Records Management solution in place that is used to store some of their records (such as paper records created by clinical trials), while other record types remain within the application environments in which they were created. While this group has mitigated some of their risks, they are probably not saving as much as they could be in terms of content storage. And they have another problem: it is very difficult for them to search for, access and manage documents relating to one topic because those records are in different systems.
For example, if asked to produce all related documents pertaining to a topic, they have to search in multiple environments and ensure that all the documents are preserved. And ensuring retention practices and periods are enforced across multiple environments presents a major challenge when documents are located across different environments, some of which have no facility for tracking retention periods.
Careful Curators maintain a complete file plan with the locations of all record types located, and the applicable retention policies noted. They move content from application environments when it becomes inactive, and manage that content in a centralized, indexed repository until it reaches its disposal date.
Careful Curators get the benefits of a reduced load on the production applications, cost savings, and reduced compliance and legal risk. Unfortunately, Careful Curators aren’t the minority of organizations.
So now here’s a question for you. Which type of organization are you now? What challenges do face managing your information properly?
Download the infographic: 7 Reasons Information Governance Makes Sense to learn how application archiving strategies are a key element of information governance.