Of all of the business processes of information governance, the one that requires the greatest visibility into the quality, usage, and relevance of data is archiving. When I talk about archiving, I am not just referring to moving old data onto cheap storage, I am talking about all areas of data archiving. This includes system decommissioning, moving irrelevant data out of active data stores on production systems, removing out-of-date documents from documentation management systems, as well as general optimization of removing the data exhaust throughout an enterprise. The effective orchestration of the business processes to execute the variable flavors of archiving is crucial to ensure landing on the right side of the cost/benefit scale.
When Willie Mays first entered Major League Baseball, he struggled severely with his hitting. His batting average was not even .100, meaning he got a hit less then 1 out of 10 at bats. Leo Durocher, the manager of the Giants, had to decide whether or not to keep him in the lineup and get him to a point where he was ready for the league and relevant to the organization. Leo Durocher thought Mays was worth the investment, which gave him the confidence to make the decision to invest the time and resources in cultivating Mays’ talent.
A key aspect of any business process under the umbrella of archiving is the decision making around the relevance and readiness of data for process execution. Data that is no longer relevant to an organization and data that is not ready to be used by an organization forces a decision by the leadership of that organization whether to invest the time to make that data both relevant and ready or move that data off to an archive or off for deletion. The determination of relevancy and readiness is not always an easy one and requires visibility into all areas of the data to make the proper decision.
Along with the decisions for relevancy and readiness, comes much more complex decisions and policies around retention and archiving that must take into account the legal, regulatory, and compliance landscape. In order to properly make and approve the archiving decisions in these complex environments, a business process is required to ensure the proper stakeholders are brought in at the proper time, their input captured, and a single set of decisions and policies formed around what should be retained and how that retention landscape should be structured. Every technical move of data, regardless of tooling decision around archiving, should tie back to a policy decision made around archiving so that the proper stakeholders can trace back each movement of data to the reason that movement was needed.
When data is no longer needed it is no longer needed for a reason. Getting those reasons right and tying the movement of data back to those reasons facilitates a de-risking of the archiving strategy and smoother running systems with less waste.
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