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In an information economy: Information management must take center stage

June Manley, director, Worldwide Product Marketing, Software, HP | Oct. 31, 2011
Studies show that enterprises are struggling to organize, manage, protect, retain and effectively use information.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

People and information are the most valuable assets to any organization. However, recent studies show that enterprises are struggling to organize, manage, protect, retain and effectively use information.

In their efforts to cost effectively manage information, businesses and governments are faced with five big challenges:

1. Exponential information growth -- Content is generated at an alarming rate as businesses grow and communicate faster and more frequently with increased connectivity and escalating use of mobile devices.

Enterprises should improve information management practices

2. Complicated hybrid infrastructures -- Most IT infrastructures are a complex mix of virtual, physical, hybrid and cloud components -- making it difficult to manage.

3. Escalating legal commitments and penalties -- Legal and discovery requirements continue to evolve, distracting executive management with potential fines, penalties, and even adverse publicity.

4. Information in silos -- Information that is isolated across multiple IT environments can create accessibility issues, high e-discovery costs and regulatory compliance hurdles. The result is business and operational inefficiency, diminished competitiveness and increased risk.

5. Disparate stakeholder needs -- Various business segments within an organization require different information to serve customers and outmaneuver the competition. It is up to IT to deliver that information and decide how to pay for it all. For example, the chief information security officer (CISO) needs stringent security measures to protect sensitive corporate information. The legal department, concerned with information governance, needs to ensure that legal and e-discovery costs remain low while demonstrating that the enterprise is compliant with all applicable regulations.

Making a fundamental shift in information management

With the majority of IT budgets allocated to infrastructure maintenance and storage costs, how can an organization avoid spending new money managing old information? They need the ability to locate and access the right information on demand to drive business insight, agility and gain competitive advantage. However, to do this successfully requires a fundamental shift in how organizations manage information, moving from author- or infrastructure-based information management to a holistic approach.

The holistic, top-down approach manages information throughout its life cycle based on its business value, which includes these crucial steps:

• Capture -- Secure, manage and access all types of business content from across the enterprise.

• Monitor -- Keep a watchful eye on information, allowing for automatic discovery of assets to report on topology, configuration and compliance.

• Protect -- Backup and recovery across dynamic hybrid environments, including on-premise and cloud-based infrastructure.

• Retain -- Archive, retain and retire information across all content, and purge information once expired.


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