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Signs of Lifecycle

Signs of Lifecycle

Information lifecycle management is not a technology or product that can be purchased. It is a process that requires defining the value of data in the organization and then storing and protecting that data accordingly - even as its value changes over time.

Going on Record

The ISIC study revealed records management as another core driver for ILM initiatives, particularly among companies most directly affected by evolving security and compliance regulations, such as financial institutions. According to Short's research, the distinction between records management and ILM is narrowing as ILM's footprint continues to include records and content, which require information policy management. Short says while the responsibility for implementing records control is delegated several levels below the CIO, the ultimate responsibility often ends up with IT management.

At the ABC, Knowles has established a total records information management strategy that integrates with its archives. "If we take the governance requirements for records as an example, from the time you create a record you need to be able to track that record through until there is some formal, appropriate time to destroy it," he says. "If it is a board record it will probably be reserved forever. On the other hand if it's an order for a pencil it probably has a seven-year life. And if it's administrative, like 'someone has arrived at front desk', it probably has a life span of a year."

The ABC is now attempting to align all of its business to the same model as it begins to build things, like its new e-mail system. If ILM has been implemented correctly, the e-mail system will manage the preservation of the information for the time it needs to be preserved. "That isn't simple because there is a lot of noise in the e-mail system," Knowles says. "Do you really want to have all the e-mails the organization has created and have them stashed away in case you need them? Or do you properly file those into an information storage system?"

The ABC's strategy, one which Knowles believes is appropriate for e-mail, is to put messages in information storage boxes - equivalent to an electronic filing system. This automatically classifies that material into the sorts of categories of information the organization has, including determining how long the record should be kept. "The problem with an e-mail system is I have this big bulk of stuff, [but] if I have it classified I now have what I need to preserve," Knowles says.

By extending this philosophy to all of its content - regardless if the information is stored on disk or tape - the ABC can now apply business rules around its ILM infrastructure. "ABC2 is being produced with a very modest $2 million per year and you couldn't do that with traditional TV," Knowles says. "If data is going to be played back from the ABC the next day it will sit in disk but if it is going to be played back in two weeks it will be held on tape because it's very cheap."

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