Many of the people I speak with at conferences and events are very focused on legacy modernization and business transformation initiatives. IT architects are trying to rationalize and simplify their existing infrastructure to “clear the way” for new technologies that can deliver business benefits faster. And business unit leaders are desperately trying to get to a new generation of cloud-based applications that deliver dramatically improved user experiences.
For example, in one recent conversation a Human Resources VP was talking about how excited she was at the prospect of moving to Workday…but how challenged she was in trying to figure out how to move that plan forward. She explained that she has years of HR records housed in her existing HR Information System (in fact she actually has two systems as a result of M&A activity), and that until they have a plan for ensuring access to those records, she is stuck with what she has.
Her path is being blocked, as are the paths of many business managers who cannot move to the next generation of enterprise applications. They are being blocked by the existing accumulation of records that have built up over years in their current applications, not to mention all the paper records. And it is similarly a blocker for the IT architect’s plan for simplifying and rationalizing existing infrastructure. The content in those systems — database records and documents — is active but still required, and exists in a no-man’s land from an information governance perspective.
It cannot simply be deleted – that would violate retention requirements and not be defensible if challenged in a legal proceeding. But the alternative, retaining it all in the production application environment, is not just expensive, it is risky. All those records are exposed to the risk of a lawyer’s subpoena or a hacker’s attack.
The accumulated content acts like an anchor that drags down legacy modernization efforts. The path to the next generation of cloud-based, mobile-ready applications is blocked, because with every idea and plan for a move to a new platform or solution, the question of how to deal with the existing content must be addressed.
Migrate it all? Migration projects are notoriously expensive and high risk.
Leave it in the existing system? Keeping a legacy system in place simply to act as a storage system is an absurd waste of resources, both in terms of maintenance fees to the vendor and IT resources to monitor, maintain and, periodically, upgrade the system.
There is really a much better solution. Application Archiving is the process of offloading inactive content from production application environments to a separate, centralized records management system. The benefits include an immediate reduction in operating expenses, improved performance of the existing production application environment and improved compliance with record retention and litigation hold requirements.
But perhaps even more important is the fact that removing inactive content from legacy application environments accelerates innovation. Effective application archiving strategies make IT changes, like transitions to new, modern, cloud-based applications, far simpler because the inactive content is taken out of the equation. That moves to a separate records management system where records can still be searched and retrieved until their retention requirements are expired.
And that means IT architects can proceed with infrastructure rationalization efforts, and business leaders can realize their vision of moving to the new generation of cloud-based applications that promise to take their business operations to the next level. Everyone from the CFO to the IT architect to the compliance team and the business leadership wins…and how often does that happen?