In­for­ma­tion life-cy­cle man­age­ment

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology - BENE­DICT KELLY benk@fin­

APART FROM ILM stand­ing for In­dus­trial Light and Magic – the Hol­ly­wood wiz­ards be­hind the spe­cial ef­fects of Star Wars, Pi­rates of the Caribbean and Harry Pot­ter – it also stands for In­for­ma­tion Life­cy­cle Man­age­ment.

ILM deals with how dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion gets shunted around a big cor­po­ra­tion and more specif­i­cally how it gets stored. The choices made are typ­i­cally de­pen­dent on how fast peo­ple in the com­pany need to ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion.

If, for ex­am­ple, a toy man­u­fac­turer gets a con­tract to sell 1m dolls to a large re­tail chain, all the doc­u­men­ta­tion re­gard­ing the deal must be im­me­di­ately ac­ces­si­ble un­til the de­liv­ery is com­plete. This would be the equiv­a­lent of keep­ing it all in a file in your of­fice. If there are any queries you would be able to pull it down and check it im­me­di­ately.

Once the con­tract has been com­pleted, the file could be moved to the fil­ing cabi­net down the hall­way and fi­nally, when it was clear you didn’t need that in­for­ma­tion any more, it could be sent to a big doc­u­ment ware­house where ac­cess­ing it could take weeks.

This is the way it used to work with pa­per. Now imag­ine in­stead of pa­per you are deal­ing with an elec­tronic doc­u­ment. With the new laws gov­ern­ing the stor­ing and ac­cess of in­for­ma­tion, com­pa­nies are be­ing told how long they have to keep in­for­ma­tion and how fast they have to be able to re­trieve it in the case of a query.

Typ­i­cally, ILM in­volves putting rules in place that au­to­mate mov­ing the in­for­ma­tion, first on to the fastest sys­tems, as­sum­ing that the peo­ple who are us­ing the in­for­ma­tion need to ac­cess it quickly, then on to slower sys­tems that may take a lit­tle longer to re­spond, and then on to a tape which is fi­nally sent off to a ware­house.

What users would be left with is a note that the in­for­ma­tion ex­ists but if they ac­tu­ally want to read the email or doc­u­ment, then they would have to put in a re­quest for it to be re­trieved. The fur­ther down the sys­tem the spe­cific in­for­ma­tion has moved, the longer it will take to re­trieve.

De­pend­ing on the type of or­gan­i­sa­tion in­volved, the in­for­ma­tion will be kept for­ever or de­stroyed.

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