When you think Information Life Cycle Management (ILM), does it remind you of other industry acronyms that failed to deliver? Such as SOA?

Often, the industry is trying to create new buzz and the manufacturers try to piggy back on that buzz through marketing their products as the silver bullet. For example, what is a SOA manager? Isn’t SOA an architecture and or design pattern? Does SOA manager address design problems? If I buy SOA Manager will I have addressed my SOA strategy? Confusion and delusion I say.

In my job, I have to careful to stay away from buzz words since they generally carry a negative connotation. Most recently, I’ve become very careful in my use of ILM. I’m careful to first level set the discussion by putting the acronym aside and talking to the business and technology problem that spurred the organizations interest in ILM. Generally, organizations look to ILM to solve storage issues such as growing capital and operational costs and compliance risk. If you want to think strategically, throw in some knowledge management, analytics and reporting and creating business process efficiencies.

When most venders try to address an organizations ILM needs, its a tiered storage discussion or a product that delivers the silver bullet. But how does a single product alone address growing capital and operational costs and compliance risk? It doesn’t. Why cant organizations address the gaps on their own? Forest for the trees? Quite simply, organizational complexity and experience.

Why organizational complexity? Years of distributed business applications and processes have created discrete islands of information most of which is (over 80% usually) unstructured (Documents, records, images etc.). To compound the problem, Records Management hasn’t been a focus (properly funded and support by the executives), the business areas have general worked within their own vertical area with minimal collaboration between areas (islands) and the legacy business processes are a direct reflection of this. Therefore some of the greatest challenges are not technical but instead organizational.

So, to address the aforementioned challenges and opportunities? That’s a future blog…

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