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ILM isn't just about e-mail archiving and tiered storage.
According to Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst with Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., too many companies think a simple e-mail archive tool or tiered storage alone will deliver the benefits of ILM. In nearly all cases, however, that strategy doesn't work. "People are overreaching when they call e-mail archiving ILM. Archiving is just a tactical solution to a much larger problem." The same goes for tiered storage: It's a necessary component, but not the whole answer. ILM entails many more steps and a deeper awareness of the business context of information. That's why Gartner's Russell says he is always reminding companies that "there's no such thing as an ILM product. Companies need to stitch ILM together themselves, perhaps with the help of a professional services firm, and with up to a dozen different products."
By the same token, George Symons, CTO of information management software with Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC Corp., says that while high-level IT executives continue to make the buying decisions for ILM, "the influencers have changed dramatically. The chief compliance officer, general counsel and chief security officer are much more involved than in the past. And we are also starting to see more heads of records management."
Symons advises CIOs to view the first phase of ILM as a three-to-four-year project. For many companies, e-mail is a good starting point, says Symons, because it creates problems both for IT and for the business. "E-mail data is increasing at an incredibly high rate. If IT doesn't manage it, then users will." And the risk is high: "E-mail is discoverable. Companies need protocols to retain e-mail and manage it," says PwC's Conway. While true, Duplessie cautions companies not to focus too much on e-mail at the expense of other types of information. "Less than 2 percent of all companies have an e-mail regulatory requirement, and e-mail represents less than 2 percent of all the data in the organization. What about the letter or the file or the transaction or the VoIP message?"