THE FINANCIAL AND LEGAL IMPERATIVES OF DATA ARCHIVING FOR AUSTRALIAN ORGANISATIONS

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In today’s information-driven economy, success or failure often comes down to how effectively organisations manage data.

In the past, the main drivers for data archiving centered on legal/compliance aspects and business continuity, including eDiscovery, records retention, audits, and disaster recovery, but as more organisations take advantage of Big Data and analytics to gain competitive advantage in their markets, archiving has taken on a new role.

More organisations are now interested in using their data archives as a source for analytics and are finding new ways to monetise archived information. Little wonder, given the potential large-scale financial benefits to the business from doing so.

For instance, a recent global data archiving study1 – developed by IDC and sponsored by Iron Mountain, which questioned 1,011 members of senior and executive management involved in data archiving in organisations having more than 500 employees across a broad range of industries – found that more than a third of organisations (39 percent) saw $1 million or more in additional revenue during the past year from monetising their archives, with the top 15 percent of organisations realising over $10 million in additional revenue.

The survey focused on eight countries: the US, Canada, the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia.

111 Australian organisations participated in the global study – making up 11 percent of the total survey sample.

Those Australian firms polled are also realising big savings from their data archiving, with 39.8 percent estimating their savings from data archiving in terms of risk mitigation alone being in the region of $1 million to $10 million annually – a higher percentage than any other participating country in the survey.

A further 40 percent of Australian organisations also reported between $1 million and $10 million savings in annual operating or capital costs on the back of their data archives, while just over a third attributed a return of between $1 million and $10 million in annual revenue to their data archives.

But despite these positive signs, there remains much more that can be done to improve efficiencies when it comes to data archiving.

This is clearly evident, given that almost half of those Australian organisations admitted that their approach to data archiving was simply to archive everything, with no processes in place to determine what gets archived, with only 14 percent saying that they had taken a more detailed, analytical approach, with processes established to determine what gets archived from all categories of data.

Just over half of Australian organisations admitted that they only maintain their archives for legal/compliance purposes and do not use them for business analysis, while 40 percent said they could achieve at least twice the value from their archives that they are realising today, and a quarter saying they could realise FIVE TIMES the value or more!

Monetising data

What is “monetising data”?  Monetising data means converting legacy data into useable formats, so that new approaches can generate revenue streams from this asset.  This might include accessing archived digital data on old storage media (eg tape), or conversion of analogue data on paper or microfilm/fiche. 

So why haven’t more organisations done so?

Well, there are many challenges preventing organisations from realising the full business value of archived data. Archiving schemes require attention to structured and semi-structured data, as well as unstructured content. Often, organisations have different levels of maturity in each area. To become successful, enterprises must develop competencies in managing all data types.

This is where Iron Mountain comes in, as our storage services can reduce the risk, inefficiencies and cost of managing data, whilst ensuring that your business is up to date when it comes to meeting new regulatory compliance obligations.

We also help organisations develop processes to use their archive to achieve greater IT efficiency and gain valuable business insight.

There are also a number of steps that organisations can take internally to help them advance down the path of maximising value from their archives:

  • Firstly, appoint a chief data officer (CDO) to be directly accountable for all data issues.
  • Next, develop information maps of all data sources and repositories across the organisation then implement a holistic, consistent archiving approach across all areas of the business.
  • Consider working with a third-party partner (such as Iron Mountain). Partners often have specific expertise that can help organisations optimise their final archiving solution, enabling data to be accessed faster and more easily, and a partner can free up an organisation’s internal IT resources to focus on innovation and strategy that support the bottom line.

Download the “Mining for Insight: Rediscovering the Data Archive” white paper here

To find out how Iron Mountain can help your business maximise the value of your data archives, visit our website.

1Source: IDC White Paper, titled “Mining for Insight: Rediscovering the Data Archive”, Doc #256370, sponsored by Iron Mountain, June 2015.