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How Data Archiving has Evolved into Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)

One of the definitions out on for Evolution is “a process of gradual, progressive change or development”.  I think that is a good description of what has been happening with data archiving lately.  Within the last few years, the business world has seen many changes in regards to more stringent regulations and legal compliance mandates.  Because of this, the rules and responsibilities for data archiving have also had to adapt to adhere to these changes.  It has become necessary to be able to manage your company’s data from creation to destruction, or manage the complete lifecycle of the data. 

There are many different definitions of ILM.  SAP defines ILM on their ILM homepage  as a combination of processes and technologies whose goal it is to provide the right information at the right time, and at the right place, with the lowest possible costs, over the required life time of the data.

SAP has also developed an ILM Solution.  It consists of 3 main parts:

  • Data Archiving/Data Management: focuses on data volume management
  • Retention Management: focuses on end-of-life data
  • Retention Warehouse: focuses on end-of-life system

There is plenty of infomration on the SAP ILM solution; there are articles in the last few issues of SAP Insider, there are presentations and white papers out on as well as presentations from previous ASUG Conferences on  SAP worked with an ASUG Influence Council (in which I was a member) that helped provide the business requirements for the Archive Routing functionality and the Retention Management tool called IRM.  The Retention Management tool includes functionality for managing data retetion as well as e-Discovery and legal holds.  There will be educational sessions on this solution at the 2008 SAP TechEd conference.  Georg Fischer and Ken Campbell will be presenting the latest and greatest information on the SAP ILM solution.

At the 2008 ASUG/SAPPHIRE Conference, I attended a presentation where the speakers gave a great example of the importance of an ILM strategy.  Or in their case, how costly it was that they did not have an ILM strategy implemented yet.  They had been involved in a legal case concerning their billing process.  The judge ordered that the company pay back money to all of their customers for the last 3 years, plus all others they had on file.  They had not implemented data archiving yet, and they had around 10 years worth of data still in the system.  So, they had to go back through all 10 years worth of information.  Needless to say, once the case had been finalized, they immediately started a data archiving project.

You all were probably already aware that there is a liability for getting rid of data too soon (remember Enron?), but, a lot of people do not realize that there is also a liability for keeping data too long.  That is why it is so important to be able to manage your data from creation to destruction.

I am looking forward to attending the 2008 Community Day and SAP TechEd in Las Vegas. Where I am going to host a session at the BPX Day called: How SAP Data Archiving has Evolved into Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). I can’t wait to see old friends, make new friends and be able to discuss the topic of ILM in more detail.

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