Cost Analysis of Managing Data

With businesses these days, data has become as important as time and money. However, managing and storage of data cost money, and the bigger the data that a corporation handles, the larger the expenses. The amount of money required to manage big data is no trivial matter, which is why big companies have implement retention schedules. It allows them to get rid of data on a regular basis. While the principle is sound, a lot of retention policies simply aren’t working.

The Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council for legal and compliance executives recently conducted a survey on data retention and policies of companies in order to find out the most effective means of getting rid of data. Core practitioners were asked what they believe to be the best advantage of information management, and the things that they see as hurdles.

Structural Problems

One of the more significant findings is that there’s structural problems that introduce conflict within most organizations. For example, majority of IT shops believe that they are responsible for information management as well as the disposal of data, but records and management people also believe that they should be the ones responsible for management and disposal of data, and most of the time, the answers came from people within the same company.

According to Deidre Paknad, founder of the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council for legal and compliance executives, the structural problems are actually mirrored in organizational problems. While the historical approach to records management is anchored in paper, organizations have since moved to digital records, but the policies and protocols of most companies have not been revised in order to accommodate the shift, with a lot of people not really understanding what their job entails.

Obsolete Data Retention Policies

Additionally, the retention schedules that still exist today were originally intended for physical records manager, not IT people, which is counter productive due to the fact that the vast majority of business information over the last decade was created electronically. The major disconnect comes from the depth and scope of records management practices not being able to adapt to the changes in our information environment.

Another thing that’s been getting in the way of more efficient data management is the globalization of businesses. The tools and protocols used for data retention are all meant for a company with only one line of business in a single country. But businesses these days have expanded, not just in the countries they serve, but also in the kind of business they provide. A single company may hold marketing information for a credit card company while also holding marketing information for a car parts business, both of which hold very different values to each other.

Wasted Resources on Data With No Value

Basically, the disconnect between different department results in different kinds of data not being managed based on how important they are to the company. For example, data for applicants in the HR department is not as mission critical as data from the operations department when it comes to creating revenue, but if it’s not made clear to the IT people, they will manage both kind of data as incredibly important, which means they’re basically devoting the same amount of resources and manpower on data that is not really that valuable to the company.

Since the average cost of data management is 3% of revenue – which is really big considering the size of corporations these days – the IT people wasting half of the company’s resources on data that has no value means that the company is wasting a huge amount of their capital resources needlessly. Paknad says that the general counsel and the CIO needs to coordinate better even though the two disciplines don’t really mesh well together, owing to the fact that they used to have very different tasks and are rarely in the same room, except when dealing with company disasters.

In order to streamline a company’s data management and retention policies, the general counsel and CIO must learn to work together based on how they can improve the company, not as a means of dealing with organizational catastrophes.

At the end of the day, Paknad says that in order to keep up with the changes in the industry, different departments in charge of information, like the legal, records, and IT departments, need to coordinate better and form a partnership. Keeping them in silos will result in everyone failing.

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