Vendors selling archival solutions tend to focus on regulation requirements (SOX, HIPAA, etc) as a stick to get customers to purchase and end-users to meet compliance. One of the problems with this method is that the burden of tagging or creating meta-data gets thrown on the end-users without getting their buy-in or acceptance. Vendors need to do more than just sell the solution, they need to help customers adopt the technology in a way that is not onerous and where possible, to help add value to the company through revenue opportunities.
Museums have some of the most visible success stories in creating value from archives – see the recent JFK Digital Archive or Cooperstown. Engagements should include working with customers to fully understand the requirements and investigate value opportunities for long-term retention. This then needs to be broadly communicated to internal stakeholders, not simply handed down as a mandate. Cultural norms are difficult to change, but to be able to intelligently manage the environment and not simply extend all backup into the archive will require the buy-in of those that are closest to the data. Vendors have the opportunity to partner with customers to improve business processes.
Action Item: Archiving is part of the Big Data trend. Vendors should help business move beyond seeing the growth of the retention as a challenge and facilitate utilizing information to extract value.