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Information Life-cycle Management – An Overview

Information Life-cycle Management – An Overview

Information has become the oxygen for businesses. Data-driven businesses are
proving to be successful as their strategies are well-aligned to the market
requirements. Businesses either know what their customers demand and provide
them that or approach those customers who prefer their products and services,
all because of the information it collects and analyses in detail.

Every business has to deal with a vast volume of information that it collects and generates over its lifetime and as it grows. Since Information is a critical element that directly and indirectly augments the productivity and profitability of the business, it
should be well-managed as long as the business is live. Information also evolves
along with the business. What is collected, created and classified once is
archived and deleted as it becomes obsolete. Information Lifecycle Management
has thus become an important aspect of businesses that are constantly and
continuously evolving.

What is Information Life-cycle Management?

The life-cycle of information starts well before the business starts. Before starting
a business, it conducts a market research which involves collecting vast amount
of information, based on which the business makes some of its most critical
decisions such as the product/service to focus on, the market/customer segment
to focus on, the right placement and pricing and the existing competition. When
the business starts its operations, it starts creating information which is further
used to finetune its processes. The collected and created information is then
classified and stored such that it can be retrieved when required. As the business
matures, the older information is archived and obsolete data is deleted. Data
stored is secured to make sure that only authorized people get access to it. Data
is continuously analyzed and assessed to use it for further decision-making
processes and for forming strategies.

Why do you need Information Life-cycle Management?

For data-centric businesses such as insurance, banking and telecom, information
lifecycle management is essential. Furthermore, here are some other reasons for
a business to manage its information lifecycle:

Finding difficulties with Compliance Issues

Federal compliance is mandatory for all businesses. Compliance is possible only when the business data is well-managed. If you take the telecom or banking industries, it is mandatory for them to keep the customer information including their social security proofs and the transaction details.

Considering very loyal customers, even those dealing with the same company over 10 years, their contact details and proofs are to be validated and maintained by the service provider. Information life-cycle management will help the business to keep track of the current customers and keep their records updated.

Similarly, tax-related data should also be well-maintained and filed regularly with the competent authorities. ILM makes sure that all required information is updated periodically and filed in the formats mandated on time.

Not performing optimally

Process optimization is possible only when its performance can be quantified and
compared with the plan. Keeping track of related processes will ultimately let the
business understand the time taken to complete them and also to measure the
success and failure rates. For example, for an ecommerce business, the time
spent by a customer on the website, the volume of transactions done, the time
taken for each etc. provides valuable information to optimize the website performance. It also provides information on how effective the recommendations and personalization were. ILM helps all businesses to keep track of the metadata and use it for process optimization.

Facing too many legal actions

If your business is always facing legal actions initiated by customers or vendors,
you must analyze the information available in your database. Metadata may
offer you ample information about the reason for legal actions, and even let you
correct the process mistakes, if any. To counter the legal actions, you have to
provide ample evidences that support your stand and data is imperative for the
same.

Quick and Effective Customer Service

If your business is able to quickly retrieve the customer details based on the
number he/she is calling from, it gives an added confidence to the customer. You
will also be able to resolve the issues much faster which makes the customer
satisfied. Such customers stay loyal to the brand and even offer good reviews.
Good reviews are lead magnets that are more effective than any marketing
campaign.

Phases of Information Life-cycle Management

Though different industries will have different phases in information lifecycle management, it can be broadly classified into the following:

Data Collection

Data is collected from reliable online and offline sources. The internet and social media networks are good examples of sources of large volumes of information that is available for free and paid users. Many companies offer authentic information based on the company’s requirements which more valuable.

Data Creation

As the business starts its operations, it starts generating information on a large scale. Data is recorded on a day to day basis in all processes which is then collected and stored digitally. Attendance, invoices, inventory, and all other transactions are recorded digitally.

Data Classification

The collected and input data are classified before they are stored. Classification makes data storage and retrieval faster and more efficient. Large businesses use databases to store information in a categorized way which also offers many processing facilities, making data more valuable. Data is categorized and stored in tiers for better management and efficient retrieval.

Data Archival

Data collected and input over a period of time becomes
voluminous which makes it difficult to store and sort when required. In fact, data
is expected to grow at a rate of 50% or more every year under the current
circumstances. Such data is archived periodically to be made available when
required so that frequent transactions and queries make use of latest and
relevant data only.

Data Security

Whether real-time or archived, data should be stored in a secured way. Cyber security is a critical aspect of information management because of the increasing number of hacks and threats to data privacy from across the globe.

Data Disposal

Data tends to become obsolete over a period of time. It could happen due to many reasons like changing policies, changing processes, better strategies adopted etc. Obsolete data costs the organizations heftily because of the costs involved in data storage, security, processing and retrieval. Periodical assessment of information should be done to remove obsolete data.

Data Assessment

Assessing what you are storing is important to make use of it. Data management is a costly affair and hence needs to be carefully assessed frequently. Bulk data can be compiled and stored which can be used for computations. Old data can be retrieved for comparisons and analyzed for bringing up patterns that help management decisions.

What are the benefits of Information Life-cycle Management?

Information life-cycle management offers varied benefits to businesses. From
content management to customer service, information has become the driving
force that helps businesses to succeed and survive in a highly competitive
marketplace. Here are some important benefits offered by information lifecycle
management:

  • Content Management
  • Federal Compliance
  • Faster Access to Information
  • Reduced Data Storage Cost

Conclusion

It is interesting to note that irrespective of the industry, the life-cycle of information remains more or less similar. Whether you are in the banking or telecom business, your information goes through these stages at some point or the other. Market data is collected to understand competition, business generates information which is classified and stored for various Business Intelligence tools to analyze and fine-tune the processes. Many business decisions depend heavily upon information collected and created by the business. Data security is given prominence to protect the interest of the business and its stakeholders. Data is periodically analyzed and archived to save disk space and processing time. The smarter you manage information, the more you benefit out of it.

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